Bad advice from bad politicians

BAD ADVICE FROM BAD POLITICIANS…. Mitt Romney wants to be president. He’s been unemployed for two years, and has some time to kill before launching another national campaign, so Romney’s task is to find a way to stay relevant between now and the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

Today, this led Romney to deliver a speech on national security issues at a conservative think tank. It’s a subject the former one-term governor has tried to avoid, given his cringe-worthy understanding of the basics. But, despite lacking any and all credibility on the subject, Romney is giving it a shot anyway.

Mitt Romney, eyeing a run at the presidency in 2012, is taking another step in fleshing out his foreign policy portfolio with a Monday speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation on the topic of defense spending.

According to excerpts of the speech provided to CNN, Romney will call the Obama administration’s plan to trim more than $1 billion from missile defense programs a “grave miscalculation” that will put America at risk, especially given North Korea’s nuclear provocations. […]

In the speech, entitled “The Care of Freedom,” Romney will also call on the administration to increase the modernization budget by $50 billion per year and to lock in total defense budgets at no less than four percent of GDP. But the military budget has been endangered, Romney argues, by the administration’s domestic spending programs.

It’s very strange to hear any national politician raise concerns that we’re not spending enough on defense. We are, after all, spending “well over double the combined defense budgets of Russia and China.” For that matter, missile defense still isn’t effective. And while we’re at it, Romney’s fear that needed domestic spending might make it difficult to maintain exorbitant Pentagon budgets doesn’t strike me as much of a criticism.

Romney also argues in his speech, “[The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan] denied Jihadists a base from which they could finance and launch attacks, and eliminated the threat Iraq represented to the region.”

I’m pretty sure that’s backwards. As Adam Blickstein noted, citing a 2007 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate, “[B]oth wars have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself in Afghanistan/Pakistan and create a base of operation in Iraq.”

I can vaguely recall a time in which Romney was considered a credible, moderate governor with a bright future. It’s a real shame to see what Republican presidential primaries can do to a guy.