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Can Romney regain credibility after his Cairo/Libya Embassy blunder?

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russ_watters
#19
Sep14-12, 09:07 AM
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Quote Quote by Jimmy Snyder View Post
This is a false dichotomy. The issue isn't whether 'one were never allowed to criticize the president' but rather whether there are occasions when it would be better not to. Moreover, it draws a false conclusion. Evo's post shows two examples where the opposing candidate supported the president under comparable situations. Reagan defeated an incumbent.
I think it was one example, but in any case, in a free society, I am loath to err on the side of undue deference. Also, there is much hypocrisy here: Bush did not receive the same deference and in one case it was even more blatant: it is an unwritten rule that former presidents should not criticize current Presidents. Carter broke that.
russ_watters
#20
Sep14-12, 09:09 AM
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Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post
To answer the OP's question, you have to have something before you can regain it.

The problem with the statement

Is that it can easily be parsed as "Our values are self evidently right, and if the values of the 95% of the human race who are not US citizens are different, they are self evidently wrong."

Which would be funny, except that there seem to be people who really believe it.
That is nowhere close to accurate, but even if it were, it wouldn't fit your conclusion! Yikes!

edit, explanation:

1. The value in question here is freedom of speech and most people agree with us about it. Freedom of speech is included in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2. Even if others disagreed about the importance of freedom of speech, people should not be expected to make statements against their own beliefs and should be expected to say their beliefs are right. It is self-evidently true that if you believe something and someone else believes the opposite, you think you are right and they are wrong.
Evo
#21
Sep14-12, 12:42 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Romney was right about the content of the embassy statement. Focusing on the timing in order to get him in an otherwise meaningless "gotcha" lie is a pathetic attempt to distract from this. But the media sold it well and people are buying it; hook, line and sinker.
It's Romney's own words, not "what the media said" Romney was wrong.

Romney said
It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.
Please show us where in the original embassy message below that they "sympathize with those who waged the attacks". Not to mention no attacks had even been made yet.

Quote Quote by embassy
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
mheslep
#22
Sep14-12, 01:24 PM
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How is the US embassy in Cairo statement *not* in sympathy with the expressed religious sentiments of those that eventually broke into the Cairo embassy?

efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. ... to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
russ_watters
#23
Sep14-12, 01:31 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
It's Romney's own words, not "what the media said" Romney was wrong.

Romney said

Please show us where in the original embassy message below that they "sympathize with those who waged the attacks". Not to mention no attacks had even been made yet.
Addressed in the other thread, with the caveat that you're trying to set an unreasonable bar. Neither an apology nor sympathy require use of the words "apology" or "sympathy", only statements that fit the definition. Full treatment here: http://www.physicsforums.com/showpos...1&postcount=19
Evo
#24
Sep14-12, 01:37 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Addressed in the other thread, with the caveat that you're trying to set an unreasonable bar. Neither an apology nor sympathy require use of the words "apology" or "sympathy", only statements that fit the definition.
This is addressed by the experts here, seems they all agree that the US Embassy statement was not in any form an apology.

Did the U.S. embassy in Cairo make an apology?

What three apology experts say

To explore whether the statement represented an apology, we sent it to the four experts we interviewed for our previous fact-check on Romney's claim about Obama's apology tour. Here are the comments of the three who responded:

•John Murphy, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies presidential rhetoric and political language, said Romney was wrong to label it an apology.

"First, the statement does not use the word ‘apology’ or ‘apologize’ and does not use any synonym for that word. There is no statement here that says, ‘We are sorry.’

"Second, the grammar of the statement condemns the actions of a third party. An apology, to be pedantic, is when the first party says to the second party, ‘I have offended you and I am sorry.’ This statement condemns a third party -- misguided individuals -- that does not officially represent the United States. The term ‘individuals’ dissociates them from the U.S. Therefore, it's impossible to say that this is an apology from the U.S. to anyone.

"Third, the statement does not apologize for the right of free speech; it affirms it. It condemns those who abuse the right of free speech, but it claims that this is a universal right, as is religious toleration. So, the statement does not like what the misguided individuals said and did, but recognizes they have a right to do it."

"It's a condemnation," Murphy said, "not an apology."

• Lauren Bloom, an attorney and business consultant who wrote The Art of the Apology, said that Romney is "once again allowing his emotional allergy to apology to interfere with his judgment."

Bloom said that "if there's anything more central to American values than respecting each individual's right to worship as he or she pleases, I'd be hard-pressed to say what it might be. The statement that ‘respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy’ not only is true, but is as clear an expression of one of our most cherished values as I can imagine."

She said the embassy statement is "not an apology -- quite the contrary, it's a confirmation that the American people recognize the right to worship freely and will not accept religious bullying in the name of free speech. To say that someone who deliberately insults others in the name of religion has acted wrongly isn't an apology -- it's simply a recognition that those insults go too far."

• Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, a professor who studies international human rights and maintains the website Political Apologies and Reparations, a database of documents on apologies, said the statement is "not an apology."

Rather, she said, "it is a condemnation of ‘abuse’ of the universal value of free speech. A condemnation is not an apology. … The Embassy statement also reaffirms two American values: the American value of respect for religious beliefs and the American value of democracy."
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-me...apology-was-i/
mheslep
#25
Sep14-12, 01:48 PM
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Apology experts? Our grasp of english and common sense is so lacking in credibility that we're to be overruled by apology experts? When PolitiFact, i.e the Tampa Bay Times, wants to get back to things like citing the date of the moon landing or the size of the debt they can get back to me.
Evo
#26
Sep14-12, 01:49 PM
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Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Apology experts? Our grasp of english and common sense is so lacking in credibility that we're to be overruled by apology experts? When PolitiFact, i.e the Tampa Bay Times, wants to get back to things like citing the date of the moon landing or the size of the debt they can get back to me.
So, if you disagree, please post the experts that found an apology to non-existant attackers.
russ_watters
#27
Sep14-12, 02:04 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
So, if you disagree, please post the experts that found an apology to non-existant attackers.
Politifact cited another expert, Evo, just not an expert they wanted to listen to: He works for Romney. But their experts do anti-conservative proselytizing there and in their other treatment of this issue: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-me...-true-apology/

They are far from objective on this. Heck, you can even see it in the title: "True apology" (RE: "The apology tour"). The article uses equivocable terms and hedges in judging Romney's statement as "false". In other words, their question and answer was:

Q: Was this a "true apology".
A: No.

But they hedged enough that you should be left wondering:

Q: Was this an implied apology?

The article is also poorly written in that it defines the word, then sets out showing how Obama met the first criteria, then gets off that train of thought. But while their experts also hedged, it looks to me like he met the criteria.
mheslep
#28
Sep14-12, 02:13 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
So, if you disagree, please post the experts that found an apology to non-existant attackers.
I didn't just disagree, I mocked the entire idea of self anointed apology experts as laid out by Politifact/TampaBayTimes, so I decline to go looking for more of the same.

BTW, I see one of the PolitiFact references also backed the "respect for religion is a cornerstone of democracy" phrase, as opposed to tolerance. I think Adrilno first drew attention to that statement as misguided, if not complete nonsense. I respect some and decline to respect several other so called religions; the Westboro Baptists come quickly to mind.
Evo
#29
Sep14-12, 02:16 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Q: Was this an implied apology?
An implied apology to whom? Please post the part of the embassy message to which you are referring when you state it's an apology, and please post the part that shows to whom the apology is addressed.
russ_watters
#30
Sep14-12, 02:31 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
An implied apology to whom? Please post the part of the embassy message to which you are referring when you state it's an apology, and please post the part that shows to whom the apology is addressed.
Here, Evo:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions...

We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
.
Those are implied apologies from the embassy for the actions of the makers of the film, to the protesters.

The "to whom" part is the most obvious part and it confuses me that that would cause any issues for you. Obviously, the statement is addressed to the protesters.

Also, the fact that Politifact used the word "true apology" in the title strongly implies that there are other kinds of apology. Otherwise, there would be no need to add the qualification.

Now please: I'm being civil and accommodating here. Please answer my questions.
Evo
#31
Sep14-12, 02:59 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Here, Evo: Those are implied apologies from the embassy for the actions of the makers of the film, to the protesters.
That's not what Romney said, is it?

Quote Quote by Romney
I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.
russ_watters
#32
Sep14-12, 04:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
That's not what Romney said, is it?
I don't follow, Evo. Please clarify. Please explain yourself.

And again, please answer my questions. I've been extremely courteous in answering yours. You owe me the same.
Angry Citizen
#33
Sep14-12, 07:00 PM
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Those are implied apologies from the embassy for the actions of the makers of the film, to the protesters.
To protestors; not to attackers. The embassy statement came before the attacks. It was an attempt to quell an imminent threat. And frankly, the embassy was right to do so. The film that stirred up the protests was so blatantly offensive and downright evil that an apology - not an implied one, but a full one - was warranted on behalf of the American people. That's not saying the embassy deserved to be attacked, but the statement wasn't made after the attack, now was it?

Something to consider: Most Muslims in the Middle East come from a culture where speech is officially approved by a totalitarian or theocratic figure; it is not free. Most Muslims in the Middle East, by virtue of their being poor as dirt, are also often uneducated and ignorant of American values with regard to free speech. Is it any wonder that they think these films and statements made to offend were approved by the government of the United States?

On another note, and to respond to this thread in general, no, I think Romney's foreign policy credentials are shot at this point. He flubbed Britain, he flubbed Israel, he flubbed Russia, and now he's flubbed the Middle East. This man is a walking foreign policy disaster, far worse than Bush the Younger. This will very likely nudge independents even further into Obama's arms, but not by much - as others said, this election is about the economy, not foreign policy. If this were 2004, Romney wouldn't have a chance. (Not that he has much of a chance regardless.)
SixNein
#34
Sep14-12, 07:29 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
That's not what Romney said, is it?
***trying to resist the urge to say I told you so***
Evo
#35
Sep14-12, 10:03 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
I don't follow, Evo. Please clarify. Please explain yourself.

And again, please answer my questions. I've been extremely courteous in answering yours. You owe me the same.
So, this has been cleared up now, you agree that there were no protesters gathered outside the Cairo embassy at the time of the statement and that Romney made a mistake?
Evo
#36
Sep16-12, 12:14 PM
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Embassy posts moved to the embassy thread.


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