According to custom ... [Mitt Romney's overseas 'grand tour' is] not a time to air political laundry abroad. So, the partisan back-and-forth ... is likely to subside somewhat while Romney jaunts to London, Israel and Poland on his seven-day trip.
Let us scurry past the observation's opening redundancy and go straight to its expired justification.
For contemporary conservatives, "custom" isn't what it used to be. Custom was once something to be followed and honored; custom was a fundamental element of what makes us socially stable; custom was the glue with which we could hold today's occasional chaos together for the next generation's more orderly benefit. Custom was traditionalism, and traditionalism was conservatism, and by these one could know Republicanism.
That's gone, it's all gone--shattered by Republican pols' Nietzschean will to power, which has had to accept a few modifications to customary Republicanism, such as the nixing of political decency and the wholesale discarding of truth and truth-telling.
Paul Krugman has never pretended to understand our politics better than his economics, but over the weekend he made a political observation that was so profoundly true, it bears repeating:
I really don’t think there’s been anything like this in American political history: a presidential campaign, with a pretty good chance of winning, that is based entirely on cynical lies about what the sitting president has said.
Last month I wrote much the same--and I do know our politics better than Krugman's economics:
[T]here is something qualitatively different here. No one has ever "done it" like the Romney campaign; even throughout the heretofore most vicious presidential campaigns of, say, 1800 or 1828 or 1860, there were at least some elements of truthful reality in the wildest charges of monarchism or militarism and adulterous bigamy or violently unwanted government encroachment.
But this is new. What the Romney campaign's doing is staggeringly, venomously fresh. No one has ever done it before--not in America, anyway.
"Custom" be damned.
Does that point to an uneventful, noncontroversial overseas trip by Romney?