Eh, I’ve never liked Mitt as a superhawk. He’s more appealing in statesman/technocrat mode, softer spoken and focused on policy solutions, the way he was after the GM takeover. I know he’s obliged to do a certain amount of this to make the base happy, but how happy is this particular attack likely to make them? New data from WaPo:

talks

Even among the GOP, the split in favor of talks is +57. Ah well. Here he is today addressing AIPAC:

“The Iranian leadership is the greatest immediate threat to the world since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany,” Romney said in a speech Monday to the pro-Israel group AIPAC at their national summit in San Diego, according to excerpts provided to CNN.

“The Iranian regime is unalloyed evil, run by people who are at once ruthless and fanatical,” Romney said. “Stop thinking that a charm offensive will talk the Iranians out of their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It will not. And agreements, unenforceable and unverifiable, will have no greater impact here than they did in North Korea. Once an outstretched hand is met with a clenched fist, it becomes a symbol of weakness and impotence.”

Romney – who has used a series of high-profile speeches to bolster his foreign policy profile in advance of a possible 2012 presidential bid – called on the United States to enact “comprehensive, withering sanctions” coupled with support for “the forces of freedom within Iran.” He demanded that a “credible” military threat must remain on the table if Iranian leadership insists on threatening Israel with annihilation.

He’s right about the futility of talks, but (a) if he has any ideas for a credible military threat, the world is all ears (see also WaPo’s poll data on that) and (b) calling Iran the biggest threat since the Soviet Union is bound to invite some questions about why we went after Baghdad instead of Tehran then. In any event, if he’s eager for The One to shut down talks, he might only have to wait another 24 hours: Now that Iran’s hinted that it’s not prepared to ship its uranium stockpile to Russia for enrichment after all — which was the big supposed “breakthrough” from those talks a few weeks ago — the whole house of cards could come tumbling down as early as tomorrow.

The threats, broadcast on Iranian television and in statements from the country’s atomic energy organization, may have simply been negotiating tactics ahead of negotiations that started in Vienna, the city that saw so many Cold War nuclear talks between the United States and the Soviet Union…

“By the end of these next two days,” one senior administration official in Washington said, “we’ll know if the Iranians are serious and whether we have time” to pursue further diplomacy with Iran without fearing that it could race ahead to produce a weapon.

Exit question via Hitchens: If a confrontation with Iran is inevitable, what do we gain by waiting?