During last night’s final presidential debate, it soon became apparent that, in the arena of foreign policy, Willard Mitt Romney is playing fantasy football while President Obama is grinding out the real thing.
Obama is studying the opposition, meeting with his coaches, drawing up and revising game plans as circumstances require. He chooses the starters, putting his faith in his players whether they are in the State Department, the CIA, or the military, then sends them out to the field. He trusts in their professionalism and experience to move the ball forward, to stop the opposition, and ultimately, win the game.
Meanwhile, Romney is just making shit up as he goes along, shifting positions faster than a fantasy football fan/atic trades his virtual players. He even threw most of his foreign policy advisers under the bus, some 70% of whom are Bushie neocons, including chicken hawks like Dan Senor and Robert Kagan who’ve never seen a war they wouldn’t start or send somebody else’s kids to fight. Heck, Romney tacked so far to the left that he sounded like he was channeling John Lennon:
“…[O]ur purpose is to make sure the world is more — is peaceful. We want a peaceful planet.”
Even with plenty of advanced warning to his advisers that he was going to shake his mighty, all-forgiving etch a sketch once again, John Bolton’s head must have exploded, if even out of just one side.
On record for criticizing Obama’s decision to set a 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan? No problemo. Just inhale a heady dose of Romnesia , and voila– Romney is suddenly on the same page as Obama, despite his earlier characterization that setting a withdrawal deadline was a grievous strategic flaw that only empowered the enemy.
But it wasn’t just Obama’s Afghanistan policy that Romney suddenly found himself embracing. (A growing majority of Americans are sick to death of the longest war in US history, so that has to be counted as a no-brainer.) Add Willard’s support for the Administration’s role in the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Mohamar Qadaffi; the killing of Usama bin Laden, despite the violation of Pakistani sovereignty that previously had Willard’s magic underwear in such an excruciating twist; the cautious approach to the civil war in Syria; the imposition of increasingly ruinous sanctions against Iran; the handling of the Benghazi incident; and other gimmees like unconditional support for Israel and the increasing use of killer drones around the world—Obama and Romney might just as well have been kissing cousins.
The political calculation of Romney’s debate strategy is painfully obvious. While maybe a million people at any one time are exposed to a given campaign speech or a targeted media buy, alight as they are with inflammatory, hyperbolic rhetoric, the number of people tuning into any one of the four televised debates is [at least] an order of magnitude greater. A perfect venue to re-invent a candidate from a “severe conservative” into a controlled, reasonable moderate that would appeal to undecided voters, including a large swathe of the coveted female voter demographic, with whom Obama continues to enjoy a substantial lead.
Gag me with a bayonet.
[image found here.]