(not the economy)
OMIGOD OMIGOD OBAMA APOLOGIZED FOR AMERICA!!!!!1!1!!!!!!!
Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy on Tuesday, tore down the American flag and burned it during a protest over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that insulted Prophet Mohammad....Our finest journalistic minds have never heard of such a thing:
The U.S. embassy had put out a statement earlier on Tuesday condemning "misguided individuals" who hurt the religious feelings of Muslims or followers of other religions.
"We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others," the U.S. embassy said in its statement....
I'm late to this, but embassy statement objecting to hurting people's feelings is quite something egypt.usembassy.gov/pr091112.html— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) September 11, 2012
Let me take you back to 2008:
President Bush has apologized to Iraq's prime minister for an American sniper's shooting of a Quran, and the Iraqi government called on U.S. military commanders to educate their soldiers to respect local religious beliefs.The film in question is, being promoted by Terry Jones, the attention-whore Florida preacher who was once talked out of a Koran burning by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The film is certainly intended to be as provocative as a Koran-burning, as The Atlantic notes:
Bush's spokeswoman said Tuesday that the president apologized during a videoconference Monday with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who told the president that the shooting of Islam's holy book had disappointed and angered both the Iraqi people and their leaders.
"He apologized for that in the sense that he said that we take it very seriously," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. "We are concerned about the reaction. We wanted them to know that the president knew that this was wrong."
What exactly does the film say? It's still not clear, but it appears to compare Mohammed to a goat and Muslims, according to one translation, to "child-lovers." ... The man in [one] scene says of his donkey, "This is the first Muslim animal." He asks the goat if it likes girls; when it doesn't answer, he bursts into laughter and says, "He doesn't like girls," according to [Liam] Stack of The New York Times]. Other scenes ... seem to portray Muslim Egyptian characters, who for some reason all have strong New York accents, as immoral and violent, particularly toward the Christians whom they pursue with near-genocidal fervor. A number of Islam's founding figures, including the prophet, are accused of homosexuality and child molestation.(Watch clips at the Atlantic link.)
This incident would be seem to be tailor-made for Romney, who apparently wanted to run a campaign against Obama largely(or entirely) about Obama's alleged tendency to "apologize for America" -- the Romney book was called of course, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.
But if Romney does this, I don't think it's going to work. In general, I don't agree that Romney is struggling to beat Obama because the public has long memories of George W. Bush (I think the public is just reacting badly to GOP boilerplate), but this kind of macho saber-rattling really would bring back unpleasant memories of years of Bush swagger. So Romney will have to drop it the way he drops all his rage-junkie efforts, after it fails to move the polls.
I understand why right-wingers find it intensely pleasurable to imagine a president telling these rioters to "go to hell." But unless you have enough force to prevent or quell all incidents of this kind anywhere in the world where they might happen, you have no freaking choice except to shut the hell up and try to lower the temperature, otherwise lots of innocent people are at risk of being hurt or killed. Grown-ups understand this, even if Republicans don't.
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY: The administration has walked back the State Department's apology (while adopting some of the apology's language):
"The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," an administration official told POLITICO....Is this going to mollify Romney? Doubt it. But let him rattle sabers. Nobody but his base wants to hear that Bush-wah.
"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a Tuesday statement.
The Romney campaign accused the Obama administration of sympathizing with the protests in a statement released after the administration statement.
... and it's being reported that a rocket attack has killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three staffers, after they were rushed from the embassy during protests of this film. Yeah, just keep whacking that hornet's nest, Pastor Jones. Jesus loves you for it.
AND: Talking Points Memo reminds us that the initial statement by the U.S. embassy in Egypt was issued before the protests began.