Whatever one thinks of the recent release of 250,000 State Department cables by Wikileaks, they offer an incredible inside snapshot of goings on around the world. I recently typed “Mitt Romney” into one of the excellent searchable databases available for the cables and came across something that was interesting, disturbing, and classic Romney.
In late 2006, then Governor Romeny took a trip to South Korea and on that trip had a conversation with South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Jung-pyo. The official State Department cable has an account of their conversation, it reads in part:
“Cho registered concern over the inclusion of “So Far from the Bamboo Grove,” a children’s book about a Japanese girl in Korea after World War II, in the curriculum of several Massachusetts school districts. According to Cho, the book contributes to a negative perception of Koreans. Gov. Romney thanked Cho for bringing the issue to his attention. While each of the 351 school districts in Massachusetts has the authority to determine its curriculum, Gov. Romney said that he could advise the districts not to use certain material or to present a more balanced approach.”
Ugh…Now, one would expect the Executive of Massachusetts would have the modicum of guts required to at least politely, but firmly, stand up for the principle that people in Massachusetts have more of a right to decide what their kids should read in school than the South Korean government does. Sadly, everyone knows guts are something Mr. Romney simply does not possess and cannot buy. If, for whatever reason (being a wimp or general indifference to the self determination of the citizens he is supposedly leading?), Mitt wanted to take the easy way out he could have just said he’d look into it. But Mitt, being Mitt, of course had to go full-pander and actually thank the Korean official for his attempt at censoring American schools and explain that while he didn’t actually have the authority do what was asked, the Governor could “advise” those who did to remove offensive material.
On the plus side, it’s good for voters know what kind of foreign operator President Romney will be if manages to dupe people again into electing him: “Yes, Mr/Mrs Foreign Leader…are there any other books you would prefer American school-children didn’t read? Of course, I’ll do what I can.”
Side note- the visit took place mid December 2006, the very end of Romney’s term. At this point it was totally obvious that Romney was running for President, and would at least be a contender (mostly due to his personal wealth, “presidential” handsomeness, and squeaky clean personal life- in that order). Is it not incredibly strange, and somewhat creepy, that the subject of a book some students in Massachusetts were reading in school was one of the 3-4 things the South Korean government chose to bring up in a 40 min conversation with a possible future President?
Moving on…one of the most disappointing aspects of Romney’s Governorship was the total betrayal of Mitt’s campaign promise to use his business acumen and be a top-rate salesman for attracting businesses to Massachusetts. Even if you didn’t want Romney to be elected, it was not impossible to believe that this was something the smart & successful businessman could and would do. Unfortunately, good old Mitt instead decided to spend the second half of his one term traveling around the country bashing the state foolish enough to elect him- in order to build up some badly needed street cred with skeptical repub primary voters in the rest of the country who (as Romney well knew) just love to hate those Massachusetts weirdoes. Real nice, Mitt, and btw- not a particularly effective sales pitch.
At least it was easy to understand Mitt’s motivation for this particular backstab (his usual desperate pandering). It’s seems less obvious why Romney would, behind closed doors, seek to tamp down Korean interest in biotech and pharmaceutical investment in the Commonwealth- all while supposedly on a trip “seeking commercial exchanges.” But, that is pretty much what he did. According to the State Department cable:
“Cho expressed admiration for Boston’s bio-technology and pharmaceutical sector and said that he wanted to build a close relationship with Massachusetts in furtherance of the ROK’s goal of developing its own bio-tech sector. Gov. Romney welcomed Cho’s overture and said that many overseas representatives had offices in Boston to track the most recent developments. However, Gov. Romney shared that bio-tech, which employs only 30,000 people in Massachusetts, was not a job-creating industry.”
Caveat emptor presidential voters- Mitt Romney is a two-faced weasel with little or no conviction beyond what he thinks is most expedient to his own best interest on a given day, his whole public record confirms that. And so do the parts he never thought the public would see: