JIM CREES: Mitt heads off on tour in search of a map

I can understand why folks may not be too happy with President Obama.

I really can.

Still, to think a good number of voters might be willing to replace Obama with Governor Mitt Romney is one of the Great Mysteries.

Over the past few weeks Gov. Romney simply hasn’t made too good a showing.

First, he stumbles and fumbles his way around Great Britain offering up some of the silliest comments and generally offending everyone from the Prime Minister on down to football hooligans watching the Olympics in a pub in Yorkshire.

Then, off Gov. Romney goes - to Israel.

Now ... everyone knows there’s little chance anyone can say anything to upset or offend anybody in the Eastern Mediterranean part of the world.

Yeah, right!

Heck. You can hardly say “Amen” without offending someone in the Middle East. Romney managed, however, not to offend someone, but rather to offend almost everyone.

First, he managed to virtually ignore the existence of the Palestinian people - much to the glee of the ruling party, and the chagrin of everyone else.

Truth be known, Romney did meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas, but while dealing with the Israeli public he barely recognized there were Palestinian issues that needed to be addressed.

Romney totally offended the Palestinian people, (and they do, by the way, exist), saying the reason Israel’s economy was so much better than the economic situation of the Palestinians was because Israel had a more rooted history with “...the power of at least culture, and a few other things.”

Holy Moly!

Israeli Jews have ‘culture.’ The other guys?? Not so much, says Romney.

Might it be argued that at least part of the reason the Palestinian economy was and is in such a shambles has nothing to do with “culture” but perhaps might have to do with the fact that Palestinians have been an occupied people since 1967?

Hmmmmmmm ...

Romney also suggested the reason Israel was better off than Palestine was “... the hand of providence.”

Mitt. Mitt. Mitt.

You might want to believe such claims, but for the love of Pete please don’t say it out loud.

Romney  molly-coddled the ruling Likud Party (Israel’s GOP) by criticizing Pres. Obama’s stand on West Bank settlement by Jewish zealots. Frankly, the West Bank settlements are at the root of most of Israel’s problems today.

He then met with his political soulmate, Likud party leader and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Later that same day, Romney had been scheduled to meet with Labor Party leaders Shelly Yachimovitch and Shaul Mofaz, but astonishingly enough, following his session with Netanyahu, Romney canceled the meeting with the opposition party leaders.

Wow!!

Apparently Romney’s minders didn’t inform him that Israel was a democracy with an elected leadership. Nobody seems to have told him that just as in the United States, ruling parties in Israel change pretty regularly.

The leader of the opposition today, is the leader of the country tomorrow.

But the potential president of the United States canceled his meeting with the potential prime minister of Israel - apparently at the request of the potential former primer minister.

How odd.

After months of planning, immediately following his session with Netanyahu, and only three hours before his meeting with the Labor team, Romney canceled.

His handlers reported the Israeli Foreign Ministry had notified the Americans that meeting with the opposition would be a “breach of protocol.”

Two things here:

1) Meeting the ‘opposition’ in a democratic country is never a “breach of protocol.”

2) The Israeli Foreign Ministry has furiously denied any suggestion that any of their officials had any discussion whatsoever with the Romney team regarding the protocol of meeting Labor Party leaders. NB: The U.S. Embassy also has said it had nothing to do with suggesting a cancellation of the meeting.

It should be noted, however, that according to the Israeli newspaper “HaEretz” the cancellation phoned in to the Labor Party headquarters came from a phone in Netanyahu’s office!

The brass tacks is that Netanyahu muscled Romney into canceling his meeting with Yachimovitch.

Geez. How shallow can you be?

The meeting between Romney and Yachimovitch was set up months in advance.

It isn’t strange or rare for political candidates from the U.S. to meet with opposition leaders.

In 2008, Barack Obama met with Netanyahu, who was then in the opposition.

Canceling the meeting was bad enough, but then Romney informed the world - a number of times - that as president he would endorse and back a unilateral attack by Israel against supposed nuclear facilities in Iran.

Thanks a lot Mitt!

Like the crazy people in the Middle East need any more encouragement before setting off a full scale war.

Geez Louise!.

Somebody really oughta give Mitt a geography lesson.

Look, Iran isn’t Afghanistan. Iran isn’t even Iraq.

You better think loooooooong and hard before lighting that fuse.

It could blow off a few fingers ... and then some.