June 26, 2008

Certain policy issues become associated with an ideology or political party by virtue of emphasis. The left talks about healthcare, the right thinks the status quo is acceptable, so healthcare becomes a “liberal” issue. The right wants to change immigration laws, so it’s perceived as a “conservative” issue.

Now, both sides sometimes want to call an issue their own, but face resistance. It’s rare when a leading Republican, for example, simply gives up two of the biggest issues on the international landscape, and labels them, prima facie, “liberal” issues.

But that’s precisely what Mitt Romney did on national television yesterday, announcing that counter-proliferation and fuel efficiency are necessarily “liberal” issues.

Now, I know — from personal experience — that it’s easy to slip up on television and say something stupid. Your mouth gets ahead of your mind, and you end up in a bad place.

But that’s what made this especially amusing. CNN’s John Roberts offers Romney a way out: “Wait a minute. Aren’t Republicans pushing for nonproliferation too?”

I expected Romney to realize his error, and clarify what he meant, maybe with something like, “Of course Republicans care about nonproliferation.” But not this guy; he just went with it.

DDay added: "It is now considered liberal to want to reduce the potential of nuclear destruction. For context, four years ago George Bush and John Kerry agreed that nuclear proliferation was the greatest current threat to global security. Romney either doesn’t know what non-proliferation means, or thinks that anything with the word 'non' involves taking away the sweet sweet cash funnel to military contractors. Henry Frickin’ Kissinger believes in nonproliferation, fercryinoutloud."

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