At their convention last week, the Democrats went out of their way to treat Mitt Romney’s tough talk about Russia as evidence of his unsuitability for the White House. But at least when John Kerry was mocking the GOP candidate, he didn’t cite Vladimir Putin. But when the deputy campaign manager of the president’s re-election effort sought to take a shot at the Republican over his attitude toward China, her source was the official state news agency of the Chinese Communist Party.
Stephanie Cutter has been a prominent spokesperson for the Democrats on cable news channels this year, but she may be taking a slightly lower profile in the future as a result of a tweet in which she linked to a Reuters story that quoted at length an editorial in the Xinhua service that serves as the mouthpiece for the dictatorial Beijing regime. According to Xinhua, Romney is a hypocritical trade war-mongerer. One would think that an insult directed at an American from such a source would be considered to be a badge of honor by most voters, Democrat or Republican, but in the current atmosphere of partisan warfare, Cutter and the Obama campaign seem to think that anyone who has anything bad to say about Romney deserves a pat on the back or at least a re-tweet.
According to Politico, Cutter isn’t retreating on this point and was quoted as doubling down on Xinhua’s accusation that Romney became wealthy from dealing with China and therefore can’t be trusted to get tough with them over trade violations.
This is a weak argument since virtually anyone involved in business in these days is in some degree connected with China. If Cutter’s rules were to apply, no one, save perhaps for community activists and lawyers, would be eligible to discuss relations with China.
But there is something particularly unseemly about a representative of the president’s campaign quoting a Communist rag as an authority about Romney’s position on China. It’s pretty much the moral equivalent of Jimmy Carter’s campaign quoting Pravda as to the inadvisability of Americans voting for Ronald Reagan.
Cutter’s citing of Xinhua tells us a lot about her lack of understanding how China is governed. The wire service is not a source of independent news or opinion but slavishly reflects the views of an authoritarian state that is intolerant of opposing views either at home or abroad.
Just as Russia really is a geopolitical foe of the United States (though not the only or principle one), Romney’s straight talk about China is needed. The Obama administration has spent four years showing us how little they care about human rights. But in one tweet, Stephanie Cutter illustrated the moral blindness that is at the core of their indifference.