Americans care about foreign policy?

David Henderson at EconLog offers his reason “Why Obama Will Be Re-Elected:”

Americans tend to vote for the peace candidate. Barack Obama as the peace candidate? That’s ridiculous. Yes, it is. He tripled the number of troops in Afghanistan and has stepped up the drone attacks on people in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. So why do I call him the peace candidate? It’s relative. To Romney. Romney seems to want to stir things up with the Russian government and seems to want a bigger U.S. military presence in the Middle East. Many of his foreign policy advisers are George W. Bush neo-con retreads. So, yes, by contrast with Romney, ridiculous as it sounds, Obama is the more peace-oriented candidate…

If Romney were to advocate getting out of Afghanistan–and Iraq, and Germany, and Japan, and Korea, and, and, and–tomorrow, and if people believed him, he would win by a landslide. But he won’t and he won’t.

Example #34,532 why politics is occasionally ridiculous. Of course, anyone with any memory will recall how then-candidate Obama gained traction against then-candidate McCain as being too hawkish like the then-prez GWB. Could Romney win the irony award by accusing BHO of the same thing? I’m no military man but I presume the morale of those who are depends quite a bit on who is the Commander-in-Chief, especially if he is of the same political party/persuasion as most of them. For a military that was already stretched in the 2008 election, it must have been mildly difficult to support McCain, who advocated continuing military engagements in far-flung places, over BHO who advocated some withdrawals.

But now we have BHO claiming to be the peace candidate while empirical evidence clearly suggests otherwise; our military folk (arguably mostly Republican) likely are annoyed at the overreach that Henderson notes. If Romney suggests a withdrawal of troops, it would seem to win lots of voters (still) suffering from war fatigue.

It would cheese off the manifest destiny neocons with their penchant for big government “compassionate conservatism” and our already ridiculously bloated and incredibly immoral federal spending, but not enough to swing them to vote for BHO.

So, if Romney is listening, two policy suggestions that you can take or leave. Given that you aren’t showing clear leads in any national polls, what could it hurt?

1) Suggest a sensible defensive military policy. There seems little need to have US troops in Germany or Australia. There may be some military reason, but it isn’t clear to the average voter what that reason is. Bring them home.

2) Henderson offers the second suggestion: “Romney’s one chance was to stick to economics. Though, even on economics, he hasn’t sounded convincing, he’s running against a guy with a huge deficit, a growing debt, the unemployment rate above 8 percent, huge government spending, a weak recovery, and a regulatory bureaucracy that’s out of control. It should be easy to win. Even if your own economic proposals aren’t very good, it should be easy to win.

BHO is so clearly wrong on the life issues, religious liberty, economics, and the military. Romney just needs to demonstrate this.



  • Consistency

    Awesome article. Spot on.

  • Michael

    WMR has surrounded himself with the likes of John Bolton, Dan Senor and Elliott Abrams. I can’t seem to see a lot of foreign policy outcomes that are different than that of GWB, with a cadre of advisors like that. Especially if one’s advisors are a foreshadowing to one’s Dept of Defense and State appointees.

  • Rob

    Exactly why is BHO wrong on the military? You make quite the unsupported claim at the end of your article. Your only supporting points are that Obama tripled troops in Afghanistan and increased drone strikes, and your unsubstantiated claim that “military folks” are “annoyed” at this “overreach.” I’m not saying these actions are right and wrong…that would be an incredibly complicated discussion.

    But since YOU made the claim, why don’t you back it up?

    Also, WMR has called for all troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.

    • Tim Shaughnessy

      See the Henderson post

      • Rob

        The Henderson post talks about how the idea of Obama as a peace candidate is wrong. I agree. But how does that relate to being wrong or right on the military? So are you saying that any candidate that is not a peace candidate is wrong on the military?

  • AmericaPapist

    The flyover states think foreign policy is when the President visits California.



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