• Scoring Mitt Romney's Foreign Tour

    In some ways a presidential campaign is a lot like Olympic gymnastics: There's lots of flip-flopping and someone always cries at the end. How does Mitt Romney's foreign trip stack up on the International Gymnastics Federation's scoring system?

    Event: Special Relationship Still Rings

    Degree of Difficulty: Medium

    The Routine:  In a standard still ring routine, gymnasts are required to perform various skills while keeping the rings in an unchanging position. In the special relationship variant, candidates are required to adopt positions that have some relevance to the modern international order, while convincing our British allies that they are now and forever our very best and most important friends, even though this has no semblance to reality whatsoever.

    The Execution: Romney went back in time to insult the British about their houses being the wrong height and size.

    Score:  12.5, with high deductions for general instability.


    Event:  Parallel Pandering to Israel

    Degree of Difficulty: Very low. Short of kissing appropriately multicultural babies, there is no more basic skill in American politics.

    The Routine: On the Parallel Pander Bars, the candidate is required to execute swings from a support, hang and upper arm position, moving between positions that are defensible from the point of view of a future president (e.g. no open-ended commitments of U.S. troops to Israeli military adventures) to positions that are to the liking of the most hard-line pro-Israel voters. In parallel, the candidate should do something to annoy the Palestinians.

    The Execution:  Flawless. "It is a racist statement and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation," said Saeb Ereka, a Palestinian official, in response to Romney's comments at a fundraiser, attributing Israel's economic success to "culture."

    Score:  16.0, thanks to small deductions for saying nice things about Israeli socialism.

    The Event:  The Polish Vault

    Degree of Difficulty: Medium

    The Routine:  The height, distance of travel, overall acceleration are key to the vault, which Romney performed by skipping all of Europe's important countries in favor of an Eastern European state that just happens to be the darling of American conservatives for its anti-Russian politics.

    The Execution: Romney won the endorsement of Lech Walesa, didn't ask if the Kielbasa came from the local 7-11 and made no comments about the hydrodynamics of submarine screen doors. Success.

    Score: 17.0

    Photos by Toby Melville — IOPP Pool/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images;Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images News/Getty Images;Janek Skarzynksi/AFP/Getty Images 

    Tags: Israel, Mitt Romney, Olympics, Poland, United Kingdom


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