Ever since I’ve been old enough to vote, my hope has always been to decide between two worthy presidential tickets of equal merit. I look forward to deliberating their platforms and qualifications intelligently before making a decision … and every cycle, I’m disappointed.
Consequently, I’ve never voted for the Democrats at the top of the ticket as much as I have against the Republicans. There has always been one instance or another that has solidified my vote by revelation of ignorance on the part of the GOP ticket, starting with my first year of eligibility, 2000, continuing right up until yesterday afternoon when I cast my ballot.
Back then, the irksome moment was every time President Bush said “nuke-you-ler.” It’s nuclear, pronounced “new-klee-uhr.” Call me crazy, but nobody’s fingers should be allowed near the big red button of doom if the mouth and mind attached can’t correctly pronounce the kind of weapon that button triggers. Subsequent research on him revealed an unsurprising trend of failure in business, and that trend continued into his two terms.
In 2000, I was hoping for John McCain to win the nomination; and in 2004, we don’t know how John Kerry would have run things, but an unknown over a certain failure is a lamentably easy choice.
Cue 2008. Finally, McCain gets the nomination, and the Democratic side is looking quite competent as well. Then, McCain picks Sarah Palin as his running mate, and during her interview with Katie Couric, Sarah gives Tina Fey the easiest boost of that comedienne’s career. Palin wrote Fey’s “Saturday Night Live” skit for her, almost word-for-word. The Alaska governor’s rambling, inchoate responses were nothing short of a national embarrassment. Moreover, with McCain’s health in decline, the thought of a President Palin was absolutely terrifying. So, once again, I voted against the Republican ticket.
All of which brings us back to this year. Obama is, well, Obama, for better and worse. Romney is looking a little shifty, indecisive, and out of touch, but at least he hadn’t said anything displaying anywhere near the kind of ignorance we’d seen from Dubya and Palin … at least not until the third debate Monday night. That’s when he let slip that Syria is “Iran’s closest ally, their route to the sea.”
Half a second’s glance at a map of the Middle East to shows that cannot be the case. If not debunked by geography, all it takes is a recollection of Iran’s bluster and brouhaha from earlier this year, when they threatened to cut off the Strait of Hormuz. The point is, Iran has a coastline, and a navy, and thus, their own access to the sea. Clearly Mitt didn’t recall that crucial fact.
If the debate blunder wasn’t a case of Romney being completely clueless, then at the very least he was phoning his answers in. I’ve also heard that he’s used that line at stump speeches on the campaign trail, and if that is truly the case, it’s even worse. At some point, someone on his team should have corrected him … with a simple display of a map.
I don’t think that I, a private citizen, ask too much to expect my President to have a better command of geography and issues than I. That moment, however it came to be, displays a critical lack of understanding that is unbecoming of the Oval Office. This is especially true in light of the fact that foreign policy is the one area where a president has the most sway. On domestic issues, he’s checked by the courts and the Congress, but when it comes to issues outside the country, it’s just him, his State Department, and if need be, the Armed Forces.
And so, Romney’s miscue is filed away in my mind, like so many other Republican blunders that had me voting not for this issue or that, but rather, against mind-boggling incompetence. Add in all the boneheaded comments from Tea-Party backed candidates regarding rape, and the GOP is getting dimmer and dimmer in more ways than one.
Angelou del Angel