Monday, October 22, 2012

Round III - The Battle in Boca

Round three, finally.  As much as I anticipate the debates, I'm glad they'll be over after tonight's face-off in Boca Raton, Florida.  Even if Bob Schieffer manages to keep the candidates focused on the planned foreign policy topic, it ought to be an interesting show.

President Obama's track record in foreign affairs is about as successful as Sarah Palin's enforcement of sexual abstinence in her home. The President himself might label it "less than optimal".  I'm looking forward to seeing how the President spins the debacle that is the Benghazi terrorist attacks.  Attacks is plural here because our embassy was attacked and a forty foot hole blown through the embassy wall prior to the 9/11/2012 event.  Perhaps the "protesters" saw a preview of "Innocence of Muslims" back then.  Regardless, no effort was expended on beefing up security after this first attack even after other western countries' embassies were being attacked and they were sending their staff home to safety.  The idea that the US simply decided to draw down a security presence in Libya in an effort to normalize relations with a government that in all actuality doesn't exist is naive at best.  I'll go as far as to to give the President the benefit of doubt and nod my head to the draw down policy.  However, I'm still scratching my head as to why the President opted to bomb Libya while Congress was on recess without any apparent consideration for the consequences and clearly no plan whatsoever for a cohesive policy after the dust from these bombings settled.   Apparently, America failed to learn anything from our support of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980's.  The President was busy getting loaded in college with his Choom Gang (his words, not mine). But I digress.

These two Libyan actions send a clear signal that the President's three years in office give him absolutely no edge over Mitt Romney when it comes to foreign affairs.  The experience card has been unsuccessfully waved about by David Axelrod and other Obama surrogates in recent weeks.  One need only remember that Senator Obama had ZERO foreign policy experience when he took the Oath.  Axelrod should fold.

In 1925, Calvin Coolidge said "the chief business of the American people is business."  Given the fact that America exists in a truly global economy, I believe Coolidge's statement is more profound today than ever before.  After all, if the world doesn't respect our might and recognize our resolve, then they will not respect our rules, nor recognize our role in the global economy.  Romney's job tonight is to make sure America gets that message.  President Obama's job tonight is to do his best to keep Romney from making that point by labeling him a war monger and a greater threat to global peace than Iran.  If Bob Shieffer behaves like Candy Crowley, Obama might succeed.  Obama can (and likely will, again) claim he took out Osama Bin Laden.  He owns credit for that decision, hands down.  But be that as it may, an objective thinker will consider how many times we were successfully attacked abroad by Al Qaeda since the original 9/11 under George W. Bush and compare that to how many times since we took out Bin Laden.

When I consider the poll numbers before the first debate and compare them to what they are now, I'm convinced that Americans are brighter than I might have given them credit for; or at least they're paying more attention.  For months before the debates, the President's campaign was successful at labeling Romney as a greedy, out of touch elitist whose interests were without consideration of the average American.  To his credit, Mitt Romney has largely succeeded in changing that perception through the debate process.  If Romney can remember this time (he seemed to forget in round II) to drive the Libyan debacle point home and connect it to a pattern of foreign policy mishaps, apologies, and bows, he can pretty much drive the final nail in the President's foreign policy experience position.  How that plays out in the actual vote is yet to be seen.  While I just gave the average American credit for paying attention lately, I'm still not convinced the moocher class can see past their outstretched, upward facing palms to connect the dots that are America's foreign policy and America's ability to continue to fill those palms with taxpayer cash.  I hope I'm wrong.