When it comes to unforced errors, this one kind of takes the white wedding cake: why on earth would one of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisors tell a reporter from The Telegraph (not the kind of publication that would necessarily see enough wrong with the quote to suppress it) that Romney, unlike Barack Obama, understood that the common “Anglo-Saxon heritage of the U.S. and the U.K.” is what makes the “special relationship” so very “special.” I’m sorry, I don’t buy the idea that this was a racial dog whistle; it’s too overt for one thing, and for another, I can’t imagine too many American yahoos are in the habit of reading The Telegraph or are terribly interested in transatlantic relations to begin with.

I mean, seriously, if you just had to “go there,” the advisor could have mentioned the common heritage of the “English-speaking nations” or noted that the two countries fought a couple of world wars together. In any event, the quote probably didn’t produce the kind of headlines that will go over terribly well in Tel Aviv, the most important stop on Mitt’s oveseas magical mystery tour.

The bit about restoring the Churchill bust that used to be in the Oval Office is less offensive to Americans, but still peculiar unless it’s an effort to convey the subtle message that Obama’s “Kenyan anti-colonialist” orientation made him disrespect the last of the British colonialists. It’s all very strange.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.