Obama “leads” Romney from behind

Yesterday, I wrote:

Unexpected events sometimes can change the dynamics of a presidential election. Do yesterday’s (not altogether unexpected) events in Libya and Egypt have that potential? Probably not, in today’s America.

I meant that the Obama administration’s bungling in Libya and Egypt — ignoring clear evidence pointing to the likelihood of attacks on our embassies; issuing a craven statement that Obama couldn’t stand behind — probably won’t hurt Obama because American nationalism is becoming passe.

I failed, though, to account for the possibility that, as a result of spin by the pro-Obama MSM, events in Libya and Egypt might actually benefit President Obama. That is, I failed to account for the possibiilty that Romney’s nationalistic criticism of the Obama administration’s craven initial statement would be turned against him.

Yet this is what Obama and the MSM are attempting to accomplish. In story after story, Romney’s statement — that “it’s a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values” and that “an apology for American values is never the right course” — has been portrayed as gaffe. But even Obama has effectively conceded that Romney was right; he has repudiated the offending statement.

Obama nonetheless attacks Romney for his fully justified criticism. The President pompously proclaims:

Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president one of the things I have learned is that you can’t do that. You have to make sure that statements you make are backed up by facts and that you have to think through the ramification before you make them.

But in criticizing the Obama administration’s initial “apology,” Romney had all of the relevant facts — they were contained in the apology itself. If, as Romney says, apologizing for American values is never the right course, then no facts could justify the offending statement. If apologizing for American values is sometimes the right course, then Obama should say so and tell under what circumstances this is the case.

What Obama has really learned as president is how to lead from behind when it comes to foreign affairs. In this case, Romney was out front and Obama once again was behind, repudiating the statement that issued from his administration only after Romney had attacked it.

Is American nationalism so passe that Obama will come out the winner on these facts? Probably not. But give us another four years of the anti-nationalistic Obama (the man who proudly declined to wear an American flag pin) and all bets are off.

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