Monday, October 22, 2012

A Failure to Debate Foreign Policy

There were 2 Democrats on the stage this evening discussing foreign policy. Forget what Mitt Romney may have stated over and over during the primary season. This version of the most malleable man in America no longer advocated bombing Iran, but rather working on effective sanctions. He no longer objected to a timetable to leave Afghanistan but applauded one. The President's decision to go after Bin Laden without the consent of Pakistan, and to move heaven and earth to take out one man, was now found entirely justified. It was just 90 minutes of "yeah, what he just said."

Both men tried repeatedly to leave this forum and to head back to the economy where the votes are waiting. Both veered radically off topic to accentuate their differences on domestic policy. It was an accumulation of the best hits from the 2 earlier debates surfacing time and again.

So much was left untouched. Latin America, the European Union, global warming warranted not a mention. The focus was myopic, and while the Middle East turmoil certainly merited much attention, it is far from the only area of concern abroad.

What we witnessed in these debates was a Mr. Romney certain that his base will follow him no matter what he had to articulate to garner the undecideds. And hoping those who are undecided can find in one of his iterations someone they can believe in.

The President fought to recover from a dismal initial showing that left what once seemed a certain victory anything but that. He acquitted himself well in the last 2 skirmishes, giving those who support him reason to take solace. But he should have emphasized with even more force how he saved our economy from doom, and how much the Republican strategy thwarted his attempts to bring us even further forward.

What did I learn from all of this? How hard it is to pin down a moving target in 2 minutes. How little Mr. Romney finds himself accountable for all his misstatements and manipulation of the facts. How President Obama is not as invulnerable as I perceived, despite having the facts strongly on his side. And how glad I am that the debates are now over.


Anonymous said...

From a letter by Bruce C. Onsager, Naperville, IL:

"We have seen the real Barack Obama. We just wish we hadn't, because we would still like to believe that his lofty ideals and soaring rhetoric can solve our problems."

Anonymous said...

Last night, and throughout the campaign, both candidates made misstatements and manipulated the facts. But for anybody serious about truth and objectivity I suggest going to Fact Check.Org where you can find a summary of last night's falsehoods by Romney and Obama. The worst by far were Obama's contentions regarding Romney's statements about how he would have handled the auto industry. A rereading of the op-ed which appeared in the NY Times in 2008 clearly shows Obama's deception and manipulation of the facts. It was a big mistake, exposing him to claims of acting small, petty, and petulant. The president also appeared impatient, defensive, and annoyed. Romney's demeanor was more controlled, more presidential, and very appealing to women voters. Perceptions have consequences.

Robert said...

What we have seen is anything but a real Mitt Romney. We have witnessed an ever shifting platform on domestic and foreign policy by a man clearly willing to sell his soul for the next vote.

President Obama's "lofty ideals" have not only met the realities of a very difficult world, but a party focused on his undoing no matter the collateral damage to this country. It is not their failure, not his, that much of the problem rests.

Robert said...

I couldn't disagree more with your contentions regarding misstatements and manipulation of facts. Romney's oped to the NY Times was far from his only pronouncement on the auto industry bailout. His position regarding private sector monies to rescue these companies rivaled the Gingrich perception of private funds to promote a colony in space.

The reality was that the President's plan worked, the auto industry was rescued and revived, and our exports to China from this country have reached 5 times the level of earlier times.

Romney opposed a successful action by the President that created work for many in Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere throughout the country. To admit this would almost certainly insure his defeat in possibly the most critical swing state in the country. Of course he is full of denials.

Anonymous said...

Two points:
Candidates should be required to fill in an online position chart at the beginning of their campaign. Having things in writing would prevent candidates from saying "I never said that". The power of the written word should carry more weight than the debates. This was the case in the time of Windston Churchill, who published not only his speeches but his position papers.

Although it was annoying seeing Romney change his position, I want to make it very clear that the President DID NOT SAVE the Auto industry. He gave it away. He saved the auto unions, and their workers. He allowed a Kangaroo court led by a self-appointed task force (without a car dealer on the panel) to unconstitutionally terminate some of the privately owned dealers while keeping others, mostly factory owned stores. Romney's position was that a normal bankrupty would have kept the entire dealerbody intact as an asset, to be purchased by another entity. An intact dealerbody is a car company's best chance of strong distribution. This is the right and moral and legal way to do it. Thousands of dealers are now sueing the United States Government in the Federal Court of Claims. The case represents an unlawful "taking" of property. No criteria was used to qualify those dealers who were kept, and those that went. Allowing these haphazard terminations cost over 200,000 jobs including the vendors servicing the dealerships. (not to mention a few suicides) Hardly a victory for the President. One big fat payoff to organized labor, and the company in the hands of an overseas entity.--RobE

Robert said...

Clearly you have lived through this experience and are best able to see the complexities of the situation.

From my vantage point, it clearly appears that but for the actions of the administration, the industry as a whole would be much worse off today.

Anonymous said...

It couldn't possibly be Obama "willing to sell his soul (to the unions) for the next vote" could it?

And why should it matter that this is a case of "unlawful taking of property" when, after all, those one per center dealers "didn't build" those dealerships in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Because Obama is the most corrupt moron president in the history of the U.S.

Robert said...

I am not certain where the last commenter stands. Are you one of the undecided voters?

Anonymous said...

You know we have a big problem when you watch Barbara Walters on The View extolling the virtues of Mitt Romney.

Anonymous said...

We now know beyond a shadow of doubt that Obama, Biden and Clinton knew in real time that the attack in Benghazi was an act of terrorism when it occurred, and yet 10 days after Obama stood in front of the UN and the world and instead of condemning Al Qaeda blamed some U Tube video and a bogus protest that never happened. Let's see how he lies and distorts his way with this 14 days before the election.