With everything going on in the world today– Libya and otherwise– I expected a fierce back and forth tonight- and instead I saw what equated to a dinner table discussion on foreign policy. . .sometimes not even on that. Or so I thought.
I was thoroughly confused for nearly the whole thing. Each chance to really attack the President’s horrendous record on foreign policy seem to go unnoticed and unacknowledged by the Governor. It even seemed at times that the President TRIED to goad Romney into a fight, but so few times he took the bait.
I must have yelled at the screen 15 different times- WHAT on EARTH are you WAITING FOR??
And then it dawned on me.
The New York Times reports that “in recent polls of three battleground states, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin, fewer than 10 percent of voters in each state said national security was the most important issue to them, ranking below the economy, deficit and health care.”
Am I saying that Romney tossed this debate because foreign policy is of such little interest to people in battleground states, and as such he didn’t want to waste points by getting mired in foreign policy, because it’s already clear where he and the president stand?
Yes- yes I am.
Of course I’m saying a few other things as well- but stay tuned.
Romney had a chance to engage Obama (and successfully did so) in the past debate on the President’s terribly handling of Libya, and this time around when Libya came up (first, incidentally), it was addressed, and he quickly moved on- though the president even appeared to try and (oddly enough!) bring it back to that point. Here’s the deal- why give the president yet another forum to push the utter falsehood that “they didn’t have the intelligence to call it a terrorist attack” when it’s already been made crystal clear that the CIA knew and reported as such that the attack was not a rag-tag mob angry about a video, but rather a bona-fide terrorist attack.
Instead, Romney went for the throat on issues he knew the president didn’t have any bull to peddle in response.
Issues like Obama’s promise to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to “be more flexible” on nuclear weapons after his elections.
Issues like Obama having “cancelled the deal the U.S. had with Poland and the Czech Republic to build an interceptor site and radar that would provide protection of the U.S. homeland and allies from rogue ballistic missiles.”
Issues like the President’s apology tour where he traveled to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, (yet avoided Israel)- and apologized for the existence of this nation. The President denied this vehemently in the debate. I hate to break it to you, POTUS, but you’re on TAPE. Whoops.
Issues like the President’s failure to embrace the Green Revolution in Iran which could have potentially ended that dictatorship and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and instead opted to support the rebels in Libya, where we now have 4 dead Americans, and Egypt, whose new president was just caught on tape agreeing with a Muslim preacher who called for the destruction of Israel.
While to his credit Romney brought up these vital issues whilst Obama tried to make the claim that America and her alliances are stronger than when he took office (though I’ll bet Prime Minister Netanyahu and his surrounded nation would say otherwise, as would our ambassador if he were still with us), Romney also spent quite a bit of time “agreeing” with the president on various issues ranging from sanctions on Iran and agreeing that Syria’s Bashar al Assad. This got under my skin throughout the whole debate, until I realized that while Romney and Obama might be saying the same thing on those issues, one man has puttered around, floating to and from campaign events on bumper stickers and platitudes, while Mitt Romney is promising to come at these approaches with a firm resolve. In other words- the President might SAY he supports these things, but has he truly supported them? Has he truly supported a Middle East conducive to peace in the world? Hardly. Still, Romney spent far too much time trying to agree with the President for the sake of avoiding the appearance of agression, and as a result may have succeeded in looking too passive. It was his call, however- let’s hope it was the wise choice, and not a concilatory one. I tend to believe the former, but only time will tell.
Where an inexperienced spectator like myself would have taken the bait the President kept putting out by even attacking Romney’s resolve against Al-Qaeda, (citing falsely that Romney considered Russia a greater threat to the U.S. then Al-Qaeda or a nuclear Iran) Romney did find a way to steer the debate towards economics; specifically our strength as an economic power and how that relates to strength abroad. This, as we all know, is a fantastic strong point for Romney, who used that time to slam the lid on the asinine argument that he doesn’t care about American jobs because he invested in companies that outsourced certain jobs, by bringing up Tesla, Fisker, and other foreign companies that received taxpayer aid under the Obama administration.
The President somehow found a way to steer the debate towards teachers. And women. And the need to start “rebuilding America.” Rebuilding, Mr. President? Haven’t you occupied the White House for the last four years? I suppose when you’re so busy adding a trillion here and a trillion there like it’s chump change, things get a little muddy. By the way- if you’re going to tout a record of “reforming education in this country,” Mr. President, you may want to have a staffer fill you in on the fact that we’re still ranking 25th in the world in Math, and 17th in the world in Science. Oops.
-Romney’s wrong on Pakistan. YES- they are a resource when it comes to strategic positioning as it relates to Afghanistan. YES- they are a nuclear power that must be dealt with carefully. (Then again, so is Iran, and we’re not subsidizing them!) At the same, there’s a Pakistani (or, to emulate the President, a “POCK-eest-AHNI) doctor in jail for the next 33 years on charges of treason for helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden. So the country to which we send aid considers it treasonous for one of its citizens to help us find Public Enemy Number 1? Ah yes- sounds like the crowd we aught to be supporting.
-Supporting the revolution in Egypt brought us the Muslim Brotherhood in yet another nation in the Middle East. To be sure, former president Hosni Mubarak isn’t going to be nominated for sainthood anytime soon, but he had no major qualms with Israel, and in him we had an ally in the Middle East. And now we’ve got a radicalized theocratic Muslim Brotherhood government in place.
-Romney could have gone after Libya MUCH more without getting into the weeds, which is what I believe he was trying to avoid. Libya is the biggest scandal since Watergate, and it merited more of an attack from Romney.
-Romney missed an opportunity to bring up how the President skipped meeting with Netanyahu in favor of going on the view. And, as long as we’re talking about things he should have said, I would have been inclined to bring up the recent endorsements of the President issued from several of the world’s most horrendous dictators- and how that speaks volumes about who this administration’s foreign policy is pleasing.
One of the best lines of the night?
Romney just finished up a bit about how we shouldn’t de-fund the military by a trillion dollars as sequestration would do in the near future, because “our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285. We’re headed down to the — to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me. I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy.”
The President responded with this smart-alecky statement:
“But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
No no- that’s not the best line. This one is:
Hehehe. Leave it to a Marine to blow the President’s asinine, childish response out of the water. Sempre Fi!
The long and short of it? No one truly “won” this debate. Romney was calm, cool and assertive (again), and Obama was antsy (again). No great one-liners from this one, but at the end of the day, was that better? No real zinger comments for the left-wing media to take wildly out of context and then pass along to the Obama campaign to use in ads with just under two weeks left.
We know where Romney stands on the Middle East; we know where he stands with Israel. If the last four years are any indication, we know this of the president as well. This debate didn’t score anybody any points per se, and with the president continuing to trail Romney by even larger margins with each day, maybe that’s a good thing.