Here's Jamelle Bouie talking about Mitt Romney's failed rhetorical assault on the subject of Libya in last night's debate:
It was the mos t brutal moment of the debate. More to the point, though, it was a direct product of Romney's foreign policy convictions, and his substance-less view that the best way to project American strength is to label things as "terror" at every opportunity.But obviously that's not just Romney's approach to this issue -- it's the right's approach to virtually every issue having to do with terrorism. The right always insists that the important thing is to say the right words. If you say "Rumpelstiltskin," or one of its foreign policy equivalents, terrorists lose! Freedom wins!
Rudy Giuliani, July 2007:
"At no time during their three debates have they used the words 'Islamic terrorists,'" Giuliani said of the Democratic contenders who, as he spoke, were debating at The Citadel military college in South Carolina.Giuliani again, April 2009:
"It's already been two and a half months since President Obama was inaugurated," he said speaking at Liberty University in West Virginia. "Not once has he mentioned Islamic extremism and not once has he uttered the words 'Islamic terrorism.'"Dick Cheney, December 2009:
"[President Obama] seems to think if he gets rid of the words, 'war on terror,' we won’t be at war."The Weekly Standard, May 2010:
Attorney General Eric Holder won't say "radical Islam" is a reason Faisal Shahzad tried to blow a hole in Times Square....Honorary Republican Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, February 2011:
What message should we take away from the Fort Hood massacre, where 13 people were allegedly murdered by radicalized Muslim army psychiatrist Nadal Hasan? According to Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the takeaway is that the U.S. should to stop beating around the bush and call America's enemies what they supposedly are: "Islamic extremists." ...It's always about the words.
"The administration is refusing to acknowledge that violent Islamic extremism is the ideology that fuels attacks," said Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). "The refusal to distinguish violent Islamic extremism from the peaceful, protected exercise of the Muslim religion sends the wrong message," she said, "as it implies they can’t be distinguished."
Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) criticized "some people in the executive branch of government," for refusing to use the term 'Islamic extremists," saying "I think some people in the administration feel it will compromise our relations with the broader Muslim world."
And why wouldn't it be? Republicans don't care about proper governance -- domestically or in foreign policy. All they care about (besides shoveling money to the rich) is achieving victory in the war against liberals and Democrats. Words (on Fox, on talk radio, in super PAC ads) have always been effective weapons in that war. So they think they're the best weapons of all.