Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by "helping me get elected."
I'm not saying his kids should have served. I'm saying that to equate serving in the military with helping out in a political campaign is the sort of thing only a guy dumb enough to strap his dog to the roof of his station wagon for a 12 hour trip would say. It's incredibly demeaning to those who serve to compare the heroism of those who serve in Iraq (whatever one makes of the cause) to stuffing envelopes in Ames or whatever Mitt's kids are doing.
Since this again raises questions about Mitt's judgment, let's go back and take a look at what two of my favorite political commentators had to say about the dog incident.
Update: About the same time I posted this, Eric posted that:
Romney's campaign has released full audio and a transcript of his remarks today about his sons' support for their country. So did he actually liken campaigning for him to the sacrifices shown by our men and women in uniform? Well, yes and no. ... I don't think Mitt Romney is so insensitive that he would intentionally compare the service of our troops to people working for his campaign. But I do think he did a great job of putting his foot in his mouth this time.
For those of you who didn't study it in school, Battlefield Earth takes place in the year 3000, when the human race is nearly extinct and the planet stripped of its natural resources. Mankind has been enslaved by evil aliens with very bad breath that explodes when it comes into contact with radioactive material. A young slave wielding lasers and draped in a tennis cardigan leads a rebellion and retakes Earth, only to be attacked again by a series of foes including a race of interstellar bankers trying to collect on bad debts. (There may be kung-fu fights and a championship football game, too; I confess that I haven't read it all.)
Everything about the book is bad. Just a few sentences into the first page, you're confronted by this sentence: "Terl could not have produced a more profound effect had he thrown a meat-girl naked into the middle of the room." (A clothed meat-girl apparently gets a big yawn.) Hubbard's soundtrack for the book, when played, either attracts mice or repels dogs, or both. The movie, which starred John Travolta, is what therapists show to the producers of Ishtar and Glitter to help them feel good.
The whole tumbling horror of the Battlefield Earth experience is so profound it nearly comes out the other side and achieves a kind of perfection of awfulness.
To be sure, as the Economist observes, Romney "has several appealing qualities." Or, more precisely, good resume lines. Bain Capital. The Olympics. A stable marriage (have you noticed that the GOP's other leading candidates all have one or more divorces while all the leading Democrats have only been married once?).
The problem is, as the Economist also observes:
[Romney's] positions are too good to be true. Or rather, they have but recently come to fit almost perfectly with what a plurality of Republican primary voters believe. For example, when trying to unseat Ted Kennedy from the Senate in 1994, he said he would “provide more effective leadership” than Mr Kennedy in promoting “full equality” for gays. He said he personally opposed gay marriage, but thought the matter best left to the states. Now he says he wants a federal constitutional amendment banning it. The campaign has barely begun, and his rivals are already gleefully hammering his flip-flops. Sam Brownback's people pushed a flier calling his pro-life conversion “false” under your correspondent's door in Kansas City, and a man in a dolphin suit stood outside the hotel claiming to be “Flip Romney”.
This is an issue I've been pointing out since 7/2005:
I am deeply suspicious of politicians whose views on abortion, stem cells, and the rest of the culture of life issues "evolve" just in time for them to run for higher office.