Bear-Baiting

Making this kind of slip once or even twice might be understandable, but you’ve really got to wonder if the repeated references to Russia as “the Soviet Union” by Mitt Romney and his advisors reflects either a dog whistle or a psychological problem. TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro offers an account if not an explanation:

A foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign warned against policies that would aid “the Soviet Union” Wednesday, making him at least the third person from Team Romney — including Romney himself — to refer to a country that hasn’t existed since 1991 in the course of attacking President Obama’s foreign policy.

The Obama campaign has already accused Romney of having a “Cold War mindset” on foreign policy, so it naturally seized on a clip of longtime Republican diplomat Rich Williamson, a Romney adviser, speaking at the Brookings Institution Wednesday. Williamson was condemning the Obama approach to Syria.

I dunno: I’m in Georgia (not “Soviet Georgia,” as Williamson might call it, but the one just north of Florida) right now, and in 2010 at least one GOP congressional candidate here put up billboards reading “Had enough of Obama’s Change,” with the “c” in “change” turned into a hammer-and-sickle. Perhaps all that time Team Romney has spent internalizing the views of “the conservative base” has had a deeper effect than we realized. Or maybe they’re just living in the past.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.