Nothing new under the sun
When computer companies want to command headlines and freak out their competition into making bad decisions, they announce “vaporware”. Here’s the description from Wikipedia:
Vaporware is a term in the computer industry that describes a product, typically computer hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially cancelled. Vaporware is also a term sometimes used to describe events that are announced or predicted, never officially cancelled, but never intended to happen. The term also generally applies to a product that is announced months or years before its release, and for which public development details are lacking… At times, vendors are criticized for intentionally producing vaporware in order to keep customers from switching to competitive products that offer more features.
This is the perfect description of Mitt Romney and the Republicans.
The Republican jobs plan that has no details and won’t create jobs. Mitt Romney’s budget that raises spending, cuts revenues, and has no details on what he will do to make the math work. And, yesterday, a foreign policy speech he described as “a major foreign policy speech” that wasn’t.
When Romney revealed his bold new path forward in foreign policy, he actually revealed vaporware. There’s nothing new in it (except perhaps a desire to escalate our war footing in the Middle East) that isn’t already being done. Here are some reviews:
Mitt Romney’s foreign policy speech Monday was filled with tough talk and slams of President Barack Obama’s leadership — but little of the clarity Romney has vowed to bring to the Oval Office.
What the Republican nominee’s campaign billed as a major foreign policy address didn’t have much new in it and left some analysts unimpressed. The speech, they said, was much like Romney’s previous swings at laying out a foreign policy: couched in broad ideology and big ambitions and lacking the specifics for how he’d bring any of them about.
“There’s absolutely nothing in this speech. This is a repackaging of language that has been a staple of Romney’s campaign since he threw his hat in the ring,” said James Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations. “If Romney has a foreign policy strategy, he still has not told us what it is. The governor is very fond of saying hope is not a strategy, but that cuts both ways. He didn’t answer two key questions: what he would do differently and why we should expect what he would do to work.”
The Wall Street Journal:
On trade, Mr. Romney said Mr. Obama had “not signed one new free trade agreement” during his term. [Former Secretary of State Madeleine] Albright noted that he signed three agreements…and that he has worked to build an ambitious multination free trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership.
The Obama campaign also complained that Mr. Romney made it sound like he was setting new conditions for aid to Egypt when he was simply restating U.S. policy.
Mitt Romney delivered a “major” speech on foreign policy on Monday, although that designation of import comes from Romney’s own campaign, and hardly seems warranted. Romney added little to his previous positions–most of them fairly similar to President Obama’s, and spelled out as recently as late July (that one was also a “major” address)–on trouble spots like Afghanistan, Israel, Syria and Iran.
Ultimately, then, this is a political speech. Just as Romney’s last light-on-specifics national security address came off primarily as an effort to make headlines about national security leaks, this one mostly seems like a renewed effort to hang the recent anti-American unrest and violence in the Arab world around the president’s neck. It may well be an effective political attack, but there’s nothing very “major” about it.
Michael Scherer, Time White House correspondent:
Romney: "Obama has not signed one new free trade agreement" Here is the photo of Obama signing 3: http://t.co/zzQy6fNT Not new enough?
— michaelscherer (@michaelscherer) October 8, 2012
The New York Times:
Mr. Romney’s stated policies in Monday’s speech, just as they have been in the past, are either pretty much like Mr. Obama’s or, when there are hints of differences, would pull the United States in wrong and even dangerous directions. His analysis of the roots of various international crises is either naïve or deliberately misleading.
One new element is Mr. Romney’s assertion that the threats have “grown worse.” He desperately wants to undercut the edge that voters have given Mr. Obama on foreign policy, even before he ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden. But he offers no real evidence to back up that particular claim, and if it were true that the threats have been so much worse for so long, it’s odd that Mr. Romney hasn’t really talked about them before.
The Washington Post:
The address mostly repackaged things Romney has said before, sometimes with greater precision. The Republican offered few specific ways he would change the Obama administration’s current approach.
Although he made broad critiques of Obama’s “passivity,” Romney did not call for any new armed intervention in any Mideast conflict.
[A]ccording to the excerpts of the speech, almost every policy Romney will call for — tough sanctions on Iran, withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014, a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians, free trade, vigorously going after the terrorists in Libya — has been pursued by the Obama administration. (The one exception we can see is Romney’s call to arm the Syrian rebels, but the CIA already appears to be doing this covertly.)
Vaporware. He announces a “major policy speech” that is not major and has nothing new in it to distinguish himself from the president. But he couches it in language designed to make the President look weak on the national stage.
It’s one thing to lie during a presidential campaign, and God knows that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are legendary in their incessant lying, but it’s an entirely different thing to broadcast American weakness to the world and, more frighteningly, our enemies. Just like cheering for a failing American economy, Republicans are harming our country for political gain.
It’s a snazzy sportscar without an engine. It’s a groundbreaking piece of computer software or hardware that never materializes. It’s all hat and no cattle.
Mitt Romney: The Vaporware Candidate.
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