By Teresa Welsh |
The 2012 presidential election will likely be decided on economic and fiscal issues. Polling consistently shows voters choose jobs and the economy as their No. 1 concern. But the American people aren't just electing the next domestic affairs president, they are also electing the next commander in chief. We live in an unstable world, as our country is still engaged in Afghanistan, where 84,000 troops are still serving and more than 2,000 have been killed, and there is a continuing threat of a terrorist attack on American interests around the world. One of the most important responsibilities of a president is to protect this country, which requires a deft and experienced hand in formulating U.S. foreign policy. This is no time to learn on the job.
But yet at the GOP Convention in Tampa, Fla., Mitt Romney became the first Republican since 1952 to accept the party nomination without making reference to an ongoing war, failed to express gratitude toward our troops currently serving, or lay out an agenda on foreign policy. In fact, the only person who made a reference to the war in Afghanistan on the final night was Clint Eastwood, while talking to an empty chair. When asked about the omission, Romney offered no regret and simply stated, "You talk about the things that you think are important."
According to a recent Ipsos/Reuters poll, voters believe President Barack Obama is stronger on foreign policy than Mitt Romney by 51-35 percent. The president also enjoys a 47-38 percent advantage on national security and has a 50-35 percent advantage on the war on terror.
As commander in chief, it was President Obama who gave the orders to take out Osama bin Laden, to responsibly conclude the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to sign the new START agreement with Russia, to mount a successful campaign in Libya without the loss of American blood and treasure, to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran and to provide Israel with the necessary funding to extend the Iron Dome system across southern Israel.
When given the opportunity to demonstrate his diplomatic skills overseas in July, Mitt Romney insulted our strongest ally, Great Britain, and blundered in the Middle East by saying that cultural issues were behind Palestinian's economic woes.
So when asked if we are better off than four years ago, I think the American people will take Joe Biden's bumper sticker, "Osama is dead and GM is alive," over Mitt Romney's silence and inexperience.
About Penny Lee President of Venn Strategies, LLC
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
Jason Edwards Associate Professor at Bridgewater State University
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College