As much as Mitt Romney would like to go after President Obama over U.S. policy towards Iran, there are two main problems: (1) Obama is already doing what Romney wants; and (2) Obama's policy is working.
So, how does the Republican differentiate himself? As of last night, the former governor presented a new idea: "I'd make sure that [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention. His words amount to genocide incitation. I would indict him for it."
Asked later what the candidate was referring to, aides said a Romney administration would pursue charges against Ahmadinejad in the "World Court." In context, this could only be a reference to the International Criminal Court, which is the only international body that prosecutes for genocide
Putting aside the merits of the case against Ahmadinejad, since when do Republicans find legitimacy in the ICC? As Greg Sargent explained this morning:
[T]he United States would not accept the ICC under George W. Bush — and indeed, one of Romney's own top advisers has said that Obama's embrace of it reveals his weakness and passivity on national security, and his unwillingness to exercise international leadership.
John Bolton, the former U.N. Ambassador under Bush who is said to be one of the only top foreign policy advisers Romney actually listens to, wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in March of 2011 attacking the ICC and Obama.
Bolton wrote last year that Obama's support for the International Criminal Court "reflects his overall approach to international affairs: a passive, legalistic America, deferring to international bodies." And now Bolton's preferred candidate has adopted this same "approach"?
Kevin Drum ponders what the reaction would be this week if Obama had taken the same line as Romney.
Their contempt for legal proceedings at The Hague is pretty well known, and the idea that a president of the United States would make such impotent action a centerpiece of his Iran strategy would elicit withering scorn. National Review would splash it on its cover, the Weekly Standard would write a hysterical editorial, Drudge would bring out his siren, and Rush would spend hours harping on it. "The Hague" would become yet another in a long line of conservative pet rocks, to go along with Fast & Furious and Obama's removal of the Churchill bust from the White House.
And yet, I didn't notice any conservatives taking issue with this last night.
The fact that the right seems willing to let this slide suggests conservatives en masse are prepared to simply bite their tongues, putting up with just about anything, for two more weeks.