Posted By RichC on October 24, 2012
The final presidential debate was held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida on Monday night (a college visit there in 2007) and the sit down face-to-face capped off the campaign season – I don’t think most Americans could take any more. I personally found it interesting, but assume most were bored with the foreign policy content by the reactions on Twitter. I have found it entertaining to follow the social networks instant response as well as chiming in. Some of the comments seemed a bit nit-picky regarding verbiage and intent. To be fair when thinking about Middle East policies, President Obama faced the same challenges all previous presidents have faced regarding seeking peace between these countries. Failure on his part was probably a foregone conclusion … and frankly I don’t expect that another 4 years will make much difference OR will consume all that much time in a Romney administration … but we can always hope. On the other hand, Obama’s policies definitely haven’t improved the situation or America’s influence or standing; in fact, his policies may have weakened our image. Certainly there are a few more Arab countries thumbing their noses at us. I’m of the position that we are better off addressing Arab political parties with firmness and operate in a “peace through strength” philosophy – be the authority who has clean rules of behavior with consequences rather than trying to be liked.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney initially challenged President Barack Obama’s foreign policy saying the president has failed to come up with a coherent policy to grapple with the “rising tide of chaos” in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring. President Obama was just as critical of Romney’s proposed policies, telling his rival “every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong,” to which the response was, “Attacking me is not an agenda” for dealing with a dangerous world.
Far right supporters were critical of their guy for not hammering Obama on his handling of Libya, or mishandling as the case may be. Romney addressed it gingerly and didn’t hammer home that it was a “terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead,” not a reaction to a YouTube tape … a position kept alive by the Obama administration. Far left supporters of the President are still clinging to the offensive video as reasoning for the attack, long after even the President himself acknowledged the killings as planned and organized terrorism.
Mr. Obama did his part to continue the narrative that Romney would go back to previous administrations (a reoccurring “Bush’s fault” theme), and pointed to Governor Romney stating that Russia is the United States’ number 1 geopolitical foe.
“Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy you seem to want the policies of the 1980s, just like you want to import the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies in the 1920s.”
Some suggested the more laid back Romney seemed to be a strategy of someone who was in the lead … that or he may have been courting votes from single women? There were several occasions where Romney politely agreed with Obama. He approved of sanctions against Iran and suggested that they are an appropriate action, but said he would implement even tougher sanctions. He praise the leadership in sending the SEALS in to kill Bin Laden, but pointed out how as president, Mr. Obama did not even visit our strongest middle east ally, Israel.
”You skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region …”
“If I’m president of the United States — when I’m president of the United States — we will stand by Israel. And if Israel is attacked, we have their back.”
The final debate topic was on China. Romney said he would label the country a “currency manipulator” on day one of his term as president. Obama using different language insisted that the country “play by the same set of rules.” Once again, there were no detailed plans or reasons why this wasn’t address during the last 4 years. Obama continued his attack and accused Romney of investing in Chinese companies and closed the night suggesting that a Romney administration would bring the same policies that sent the U.S. head-first into two prolonged wars, record deficits and an economic crisis.
Romney for his part went positive saying:
“I’m excited about our prospects as a nation … we have an opportunity to have real leadership. The president’s path means 20 million people out of work, a struggling economy and a soon-to-be $20 trillion national debt.”
Now that the 2012 debates are over, it is left to the voters … well at least the ones in the battleground states. The polls show Romney with a slight national popular vote lead, but those reading the “too close to call states” … Ohio one of the biggest, suggest that we are nearly dead even. I’m holding my breath.