It’s Tough to Argue with Results

For the past 20 years, one of the most effective attacks Republicans have used against Democrats is the ‘Soft on Defense’ barb. In actuality, one could make the case that Democrats have far more experience (and success) with military conflict but since when has reality had anything to do with politics? It’s been a pretty devastating tactic and one which Democrats have always had a problem defending against, even when it should have been easy.

That era, however, might be coming to an end.

Three distinguished former military members, former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, and retired Major General Paul Eaton, tore into the GOP field and strongly defended President Obama’s foreign policy after Tuesday’s debate. The attacks are pretty brutal, though entirely factual:

“While President Obama has kept his promises across the globe, the leading Republicans have been all over the map, offering sound-bite critiques and shifting positions with every change in the headlines as they seek partisan advantage,” Clark said.

“If you took any six of those candidates, you might find sixteen positions on any issue,” said Danzig. “If you added Governor Romney you’d probably find forty six positions.”


Of course, it has the added benefit of being true. Even leaving aside the end of the Iraq war, the steady dismantling of Al Qaeda, the overthrow of Qaddafi and the unwinding of the war in Afghanistan, Obama still has an ace in the hole that the right will have a hard time attacking: Osama Bin Laden. After ten years, it was this administration that killed him. That alone should be enough to neutralize the ‘Soft on Defense’ sop.

If the Republicans want to attack Obama’s foreign policy credentials, I’m sure it’s a debate the administration would heartily welcome.



6 Responses to “It’s Tough to Argue with Results”

  1. One problem – If the Dems use the tactic you suggest, they lose their own base who staunchly hate any US military involvement anywhere that might benefit America and aren’t sure about involvements that don’t benefit us.

    • I agree the left wing isn’t happy about military interventionism (as they see it). But that’s irrelevant to attacks made by the GOP. My only point is that Republicans aren’t going to be able to use that line very effectively, given Obama’s record.

      • Sure they are because Obama can’t defend himself from it, nor can any other Dem.

        Or, and better for the GOP, they try to defend themselves using Obama’s continuation of Bush’s doctrine, start tol ose their base, and quickly backpedal on the issue.

        I’m not saying that it’s right, but it a doable strategy for the GOP due to the nature of Obama’s constituency.

      • So you believe the Republican nominee is going to move to the left of Obama on defense? And you don’t think this will, in turn, alienate the GOP base? I don’t buy it.

        Again, I agree the left wing of the Democratic party despises Obama’s approach to foreign policy. However, it’s clear he has still has his base. If that base hasn’t left him at this point, someone like Romney or Gingrich isn’t going to sway them. I just don’t see how any moderate sides with the argument that killing bin Laden and the big three leadership of Al Qaeda is somehow soft on defense. Hell, even Perry gave Obama grudging support in the killing of Al-Awlaki. Additionally, he can point to the fact that he has returned to a non-torture policy, something that John McCain even agrees with, to shore up some of the left.

        Glenn Greenwald may think Obama is Bush 2.0, but I don’t think the moderate middle is buying it.

      • No, I think the GOP nominee will attack Obama’s foreign policy position / non-position and that Obama will not be able to defend himself w/o admitting to having followed and expanded upon the “Bush Doctrine.”

        Rereading it, I don’t think I was very clear in that 2nd paragraph of my previous comment.

      • Meh. I don’t think Obama has’followed and expanded upon the “Bush Doctrine.”’ at all. There are no unilateral actions, no pre-emptive wars being started, and the only regime change that’s happened under Obama’s watch hasn’t been instigated by us. It’s a non-argument, sorry.

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