By Teresa Welsh |
The numbers speak for themselves. A New York Times and CBS News poll conducted late in August indicated that Americans approve of the president's handling of foreign policy by a 10-point margin. Americans have good reasons to support the commander in chief in national security matters.
Tuesday marks the 11th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The guy who masterminded the attack, Osama bin Laden, is as dead as a doornail, and the terrorist group he led has lost its entire leadership. Just a few days ago, a CIA drone strike in Yemen killed Saeed al-Shihri, second in command of al Qaeda. By making the hunt for bin Laden a military priority, Barack Obama was able to do something in two years that George W. Bush couldn't do in eight. Before bin Laden's death, Mitt Romney said "we shouldn't move heaven and earth" to kill or capture him.
Besides eliminating bin Laden and the entire al Qaeda leadership, Commander in Chief Obama got us out of Iraq and we're on the way out in Afghanistan. Last year, U.S. oil wells produced more petroleum than they did in any year of the second President Bush's tenure. Because of the increased drilling and the development of alternate fuel sources, the United States is less dependent on energy purchases from deadly dictators than it has been in 30 years.
Before becoming president, Barack Obama served four years on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. Senate. Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience begins and ends with his bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and in Switzerland and his success sending jobs overseas when he ran Bain Capital.
Mitt Romney's inexperience in the national security arena has come back to haunt him in the last three months. He didn't even mention Afghanistan in his speech at the Republican National Convention. I'm sure that omission didn't make our soldiers in Afghanistan feel appreciated. When Mitt Romney went overseas last month to the Olympic Games in London, he insulted our closest ally, the British.
The biggest mistake Romney made, though, was his assessment of international threats to our national security. He stated that Russia was our biggest geopolitical threat. The mullahs in Tehran and the party boys in Beijing must have had a great laugh when they heard that.
Americans are clearly focused more on the economy than they are on foreign policy. But voters pay enough attention to national security issues to take the measure of the men who want to be president and commander in chief. Americans have taken the measure of Mitt Romney and they don't think he measures up.
About Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research
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