In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney ignored the war in Afghanistan as if it doesn’t exist, and failed to even mention veterans. He was, as the AP noted, “the first Republican since 1952 to accept his party’s nomination without mentioning war.”
On Friday, after the most favorable setup imaginable on Fox News, Romney tried once again to explain the neglect away.
For those who can’t watch clips online, Romney told Bret Baier, “When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things you think are important, and I described in my speech my commitment to a strong military, unlike the president’s decision to cut our military. I didn’t use the word ‘troops,’ I used the word ‘military.’ I think they refer to the same thing.”
This isn’t much of a defense. In a time of war, those who intend to be Commander in Chief have unique responsibilities. Understanding the difference between the military as an institution and servicemen and women as individuals matters, as does the ongoing conflict Romney is ignoring.
Indeed, I’m struck by the notion that candidates are expected to “talk about the things you think are important” at their convention. By this reasoning, does Romney believe the war in Afghanistan doesn’t qualify as “important”?
The Republican tried a slightly different line on “Meet the Press” yesterday, saying, “[W]hat I’ve found is that wherever I go, I am speaking to tens of millions of people. Everything I say is picked up by you and by others and that’s the way it ought to be. So I went to the American Legion and spoke with our veterans there and described my policy as it relates to Afghanistan.”
There are a couple of problems with this. The first is the notion that Romney doesn’t think the war is worth mentioning two days in a row. The second is that he’s lying – in his American Legion speech, Romney didn’t “describe” his policy “as it relates to Afghanistan.”
If Romney were a Democrat, there’s simply no way Republicans would let him get away with this.