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Silly Season

David Frum describes the experience of witnessing Mitt Romney answer some tough foreign policy questions:

Mitt Romney has an amazingly orderly mind and an impressive grasp of detail. He also has a serious Garbage In/Garbage Out problem - that is, while his mind processes information in a lucid and logical way, his intake valves lack filters for screening out nonsense. The overwhelming impression that I took away from his presentation was that it was ... silly.

I don't actually understand this metaphor. If Romney's mind is so sharp, so lucid and logical, then how come he can't catch the nonsense? Meanwhile, Frum also tells us that Rudy Giuliani "skips lightly over crucial details" and has ideas that "are much less worked through than Romney's" but on the plus side "the spirit behind them is exactly right." At this point, Frum (with Giuliani in tow) departs planet reality. "As he said: the mullahs released the hostages in 1981 because they looked into Ronald Reagan's eyes and saw something they did not see in Jimmy Carter's. I saw that same something in Guiliani's." Okay, sure. Lessons learned: Romney is silly, whereas Giuliani will force terrorists to back down with his steely gaze and David Frum has no understanding of how international relations work or the history of US-Iranian relations.

Photo by Flickr user Editor B used under a Creative Commons license

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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