COMMENTARY | Welcome to the twilight zone, a place where Democrats accuse Republicans of being weak on foreign policy.
Now that we've arrived on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, the Obama administration has not been shy to tout its crowning foreign policy achievement. The right has accused the White House of politicizing bin Laden's death. What Republicans don't realize is that President Obama has done the equivalent of stealing the opposing team's playbook. In 2012, it will be the Republican candidate who is weak on foreign policy and a flip-flopper.
For at least three decades, Republicans have won the foreign policy debate in America. President Jimmy Carter fortified the idea in Americans' minds that Democrats were "soft" on foreign policy. The party whose leaders had stared down the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis and presided over most of the Vietnam War had lost its edge.
The results have been devastating. Any time foreign policy was an issue Democrats lost. George W. Bush was even able to make Vietnam veteran John Kerry look like a borderline traitor, despite W's lackluster war record.
Yet, for the first time since perhaps the start of Lyndon Johnson's administration, a Democratic president has the upper hand when it comes to foreign policy.
An April Washington Post - ABC News poll shows Americans trust President Obama over Romney on international affairs 53 percent to 36 percent, and why should they not?
President Obama has produced a logical, well-thought-out foreign policy that is the antithesis of what Americans saw under George W. Bush.
* He refocused the military on hunting down terrorists and, in the process, has killed more terrorists in three years than the entire eight years of the Bush administration, according the New York Times.
* He presided over the Arab Spring without putting one American boot on the ground.
* He kept his promise to end the war in Iraq and rededicate America to the war in Afghanistan.
* And if you hadn't heard, he made the gutsy decision to violate Pakistan's sovereignty to kill the 21st century's first tyrant. Imagine what President Obama could do with a second term.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has done nothing to quell the electorate's concerns over his various policy stances. According to ABC News, after six years of frustration over the hunt for bin Laden, then-2008 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney stated, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
Romney Version 2012 now argues that "of course" he would have given the order for Navy SEALs to kill bin Laden -- even though Romney criticized candidate Obama as "naïve" for suggesting he would take action in Pakistan.
Whether Mitt Romney was suggesting the war on terror is bigger than one man is beside the point. Unfortunately for Romney, perception is all that matters. President Obama has done a rare thing: He made voters doubt the foreign policy credentials of a Republican candidate.
The twilight zone indeed!
- Politics & Government
- President Obama
- Osama bin Laden
- Mitt Romney