Saturday, January 4, 2003

Romney says state government should be more like al Queda
Thank You, Seth Gitell.
The political reporter for the Boston Phoenix this week picked up on one of the most offensive statements concerning the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks yet by a Massachusetts politician. In his inaugural speech Thursday, Governor Mitt Romney called the terrorists "inventive" and "nimble" and suggested, in a sense, that state government should be more like al Queda. Here is the exact quote from Romney’s speech:
Surely, historians will look back to September 11, 2001 as a pivotal inflection point. Like us, they will be moved by the human tragedy of that day and by the redefinition of heroism. They may also see September 11th as a symbol marking the emergence of a fundamental change in human endeavors. Perhaps the most obvious of these changes is the reassessment of military strategy. Massive battle groups and warheads capable of destroying the entire planet were frustrated by a handful of murderous fanatics with box cutters. The large, slow, impregnable force gave way to the nimble, stealthy and inventive.
Say what? Did he really say what I thought he said? I almost didn’t believe it when Scot Lehigh of the Boston Globe first reported part of this quote and then followed with:
Egad! Isn't Sept. 11 better used as a metaphor for the new realities of a dangerous world and for the perils we face from fanaticism?
But it took Gitell to expose the hypocrisy of the slide Romney received by the comment:
There is a double standard between how comments that disparage, belittle, or misuse the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are treated. When the commentator is on the left – as was former ABC talk show host Bill Maher who stupidly called the 9/11 terrorists brave – he or she is scorned, ridiculed, even threatened. (Following Maher’s comment, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer warned Americans to "watch what they say, watch what they do." Maher eventually, roughly a year later, lost his show Politically Incorrect.") When the speaker is on the right, however, it is a different story.
Gitell goes on to analyze the comment calling it Romney’s first "major blunder." I would add "offensive" to that description as well.