On To Israel

Mitt Romney is in Israel now, continuing his three-nation foreign tour. Here are Mitt and Ann en route:

YNet headlines: “Romney can expect warm Israeli reception.” I am sure that is true, for reasons that our readers know well. No doubt Romney was glad to get out of London, and away from the negative news stories that dogged him after he took seriously a question about London’s readiness for the Olympics. Romney’s answer was hardly negative, taken as a whole, but he said that some of the logistical problems encountered so far were “disconcerting.” Normally the exchange would have gone unnoticed, but in the overheated hours before the Olympics got underway, Romney was somehow cast as anti-Britain. Like other Europeans, many Brits favor Democrats over Republicans because their policies tend to weaken the U.S. and make us a less effective competitor; this no doubt played a role in the British press’s pouncing on Romney’s innocuous exchange. But, as Paul said, Romney should have known better than to attempt a meaningful answer to a pro forma question. When in London, praise the Londoners.

The Olympic flap will have no impact on the presidential race, but it is a useful reminder of how careful Romney needs to be. He can’t get away with–let’s just pick a few examples at random–getting the number of states wrong; or referring to the Austrian language; or mispronouncing corpse-man; or saying the private sector is “doing fine;” or promising to bring “inefficiencies” to our health care system; or saying he bowled like was in the “Special Olympics, or something”–well, you get the picture. Romney is not playing on a level field, and the silly press reaction to his London interview should remind him of the fact. He will, in all likelihood, win in November, but in the meantime, he is walking through a minefield with very little margin for error.

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