The War Against a War President

In their attempts to characterize Obama as "weak" on defense, Republicans face an uphill battle

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Jim Young / Retuers

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks at campaign rally at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2012.

Some things, at least, never change.

More than half a century ago, John F. Kennedy was so worried about appearing soft on national security issues in his campaign against Vice President Richard Nixon that he railed against a purported—and inaccurate—”missile gap” between the United States and the Soviet Union. Kennedy’s success in portraying the Republicans as weak was to be the exception that proved the rule of ensuing presidential elections: the GOP would never again allow the Democrats an advantage on national-security issues.

(PHOTOS: The Obama Brand in Pictures)

Last week, in the wake of the anniversary of September 11, the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three of his colleagues, and the rising tide of anti-American violence in the Arab world, leaders of the Republican Party past and present have stepped forward in an attempt to reassert the familiar narrative that Democrats cannot be trusted with the security of the nation. In a statement on the evening of the initial violence in Benghazi and in Cairo, Mitt Romney went straight for the “disgraceful” card. Here is an Associated Press fact-check by Kasie Hunt of Romney’s overnight remarks:

The gunfire at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had barely ceased when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seriously mischaracterized what had happened in a statement accusing President Barack Obama of “disgraceful” handling of violence there and at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

“The Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” Romney said in a statement first emailed to reporters at 10:09 p.m. Eastern time, under the condition it not be published until midnight. In fact, neither a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier in the day nor a later statement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered sympathy for attackers. The statement from the Cairo Embassy had condemned anti-Muslim religious incitement before the embassy walls were breached. In her statement, issued minutes before Romney’s, Clinton had offered the administration’s first response to the violence in Libya, explicitly condemning the attack there and confirming the death of a State Department official.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today,” Clinton said in a written statement received by the Associated Press at 10:08 p.m. “As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss.”

As Romney learned the hard way with this failed assault on the president’s leadership, facts, as John Adams noted long ago, are stubborn things.

(MORE: Meacham: The Real Difference Between Obama and Romney)

Another GOP attempt at reasserting partisan ownership over foreign-policy hawkishness came when former Vice President Dick Cheney minimized President Obama’s role in ordering the successful 2011 operation that killed Osama bin Laden. “Those who deserve the credit are the men and women in our military and intelligence communities who worked for many years to track him down,” said Cheney. “They are the ones who deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.”

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Sept. 7-14)

That is of course true. It is also true, however, that the president made the decision to strike and deserves credit in the same measure as he would have suffered censure had the mission failed. As Dick Cheney knows better than anyone alive, executive leadership in the presidential office is an essential (some, like Cheney, would argue the essential) element in the governance and security of the nation. One need only think of the ferocity of the Republican attacks on President Obama had the bin Laden raid gone awry to appreciate the enduring truth of the adage Kennedy cited in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs: while victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan.

Republican efforts to portray Barack Obama as weak on national security are predictable and probably doomed to fail. This isn’t 2004, when John Kerry’s presidential campaign was gravely wounded by attacks on his (heroic) military record. We’re still probably in for six weeks or so of stale assaults on a president who’s been an effective warrior against terror—assaults that may grow all the more shrill because Obama’s opponents know the truth, even if they won’t admit it.

MORE: Obama Plays Hard Ball

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Yeshuratnam
Yeshuratnam

The problem with Obama is not merely weak  in defense as events in the Middle East prove, he is a total failure in handling foreign policy. Putin has the audacity to send Russian ships into the Gulf. Immediately after becoming president Obama went to Cairo to establish friendly ties with Muslim countries. He organized the Muslim Summit to unite all Muslim countries. He volunteered to have a video conference with Ahmedinijad. Street protests and the  riots that are sweeping across Muslim countries today show the failure of Obama’s foreign policy. The anti-Islamic video film was not the cause of the upheaval only a pretext.  The outbreaks have been orchestrated by a number of radical Islamic organizations ranging from the ultraconservative Salafis to Al Qaeda terrorists. They have taken advantage of swelling anti-US sentiment in many Arab and Muslim countries to weaken local governments which maintain ties with the United States. Power-sharing with radicals has already begun in some Arab countries, spelling the reversal of Obama’s policies and the goals of the “Arab Spring.”  Street protests against American embassies and other US symbols of influence are growing more violent and more organized, threatening not only American lives but tearing up Obama’s entire outreach policy toward Arabs and Muslims.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Dream on. With Romney in office Putin would send Russian ships down the Potomac and the terrorists would rebuild their bases in Pakistan. On the other hand we will be to busy fighting a war with Iran to notice.

rory2012
rory2012

USA politician and administration becomes more impotent and amateur.They have no idea how people behave.They run out of idea how to guide the world to peace.Every foreign policy made is to react and not lead.For instance,at the moment the conflict between China and Japan can be prevented by Clinton last month during APEC but miss the chance .Unless US real intention is to let the tension to escalate then I would say US does a good job and the war is on course.

Mike P
Mike P

hey its the Chinese troll again.  how does the Chinese govt compensate you for trolling Time magazine,

trying to push your stupid propaganda? oh i forgot..you live in a communist rathole,devoid of basic freedoms

rory2012
rory2012

I am here try to fish out the Ugly K##T like you.

Sertorious
Sertorious

Obama as foreign policy and national defense guru???? This the delusion of Obama supporters buttressed by most of the media- Dupes for the Presidential Dunce- and underscored by the fantasy of soft power. Obama has compiled a laundry list of foreign policy failures, 

while gutting national defense to pre-World War II levels- just a partial list: Russian reset, the apology tour of the Middle East, applauding the Arab spring, Iran- yakaty yak, we don't have to attack, Afghanistan- Obama's "necessary war," selling out Israel, insulting Britain, Poland, Czech Republic, etc., spinning credit for himself over Iraq- Obama's stated "Unnecessary War," blaming Islamic lunacy on a film-maker and Koran burner, while purging terrorism from the Administration's lexicon, attempting a show trail in New York city, acting like he was leading the mission to kill Bin Laden, forgetting to close Gitmo, ignoring intelligence briefs, ignoring the military, who mostly despise the man. It's hard to imagine a military that will be happier to see their commander-in-chief hit the road; at least not since Carter. Which brings us to this non-issue article aimed at covering Obama's most recent foreign policy failure- dismissing intelligence warnings and covering up the President's incompetence in responding to and handling the burgeoning fiasco in Libya, Egypt and across the Muslim world. First the sycophant media chorus attacked Romney for pointing out the obvious stupidity of the Embassy's reaction to the attack, (something the administration followed by withdrawing the statement), now it's ignoring the administration's bungling and the Libyan government's claim that these attacks were orchestrated and tied to 9/11. Only Fox has given this any attention. Just protect the President. Most American journalist, including the Obama bimbo that wrote this piece have betrayed both the truth and their craft. The media have become morally incompetent incapable of objectivity and unwitting shills for America's enemies. Muslim fanatics and hypocrites blame the filmmaker, Obama blames the film maker, the media blame the film maker- America's enemies don't need a propaganda ministry, the American media passes out terrorists press kits like the administration passes our foreign aid.  Obama and the    media sing the banalities of the Muslim terror chorus and act like Romney is the enemy. However, the left's biggest act of hypocrisy is the continued silence over the droning President; no I'm not talking about is lackluster, warmed over monologues. Obama has become the King of the Drone attacks. Yet, there are no demonstrations, no calls for war crimes trials, no chattering about innocent victims, just the silence of Obama lambs. The Obama Administration has produced a triangulation of the deaf- his followers, the blind- media dupes, and the dumb- starting with the Presidential Dunce. I'm still hoping there are enough thinking American to deny the President four more years, otherwise, we will have to record a change in the American symbol from the Eagle to the Dunce Cap.

smdonromney
smdonromney

Yes, almost half the populace does not pay taxes, but of those, more than one-third are retired people living on Social Security and/or pensions. Another one-third are students or other separate filers not currently working.

The remaining one-third are those who are economically distressed. But, all of them who do work, they pay 7.65% in social security taxes and, in Illinois, for example, 5% in state taxes, which total almost 13%.

Romney pays 13.9% of income taxes and probably no social security taxes because he does not have earned income, only dividends and capital gains.

Second, George W. Bush instituted two wars and started SubPart D in Medicare AND then reduced taxes, converting the Clinton surplus to a deficit and proving once and for all that trickle down economics does not always work, especially when there are extraordinary expenses like an unneeded war in Iraq.

Third, Ryan's fiscal plan is almost an exact mirror of the Republican policies that contributed greatly to the depression, i.e., dramatically cutting government spending and reducing monetary velocity.

Too bad people don't start learning how things work before complaining!

Allen Z. Hertz
Allen Z. Hertz

Does Time Magazine now regularly churn out government propaganda like the old "Pravda"? Mitt Romney's early critique of the Obama administration's reaction to the attack against the USA Embassy in Cairo was fully justified, not only in the light of early apologetic statements from the USA Embassy in Cairo, but also in the apologies in subsequent statements from Hillary Clinton and then Susan Rice. There is no sense in which it is appropriate for the USA to apologize or express regret for a video posted to youtube by a private citizen. There is plenty of offensive material on the Internet which is pretty much a "free for all." Moreover, it is likely that the deadly attack on the USA Consulate in Benghazi was a premeditated terrorist operation and not in any meaningful sense a response to a youtube video.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

"Romney's Comments on Middle East Are Viewed Negatively.

A new Pew Research survey finds that just 26% of those who have followed news on the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East approve of Mitt Romney's comments on the situation, while 48% disapprove. In contrast, 45% approve of President Obama's handling of the recent turmoil, while 36% disapprove."

Allen Z. Hertz
Allen Z. Hertz

Rasmussen Reports

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Voters overwhelmingly rate protecting freedom of speech as more important than not offending other nations and cultures despite claims that the latest outbreak of anti-American violence in the Middle East is due to an amateur YouTube video that mocks Islam.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 72% of Likely U.S. Voters believe it is more important for the United States to guarantee freedom of speech. Only 15% consider it more important for the United States to make sure that nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. "

turdface
turdface

Record number of Americans on food stamps

Record number of Americans on SS disability

Record deficits

Record debt

Record gas and food prices

Record length of 8+% unemployment

Americans under attack across the world

American debt downgraded first time in history

Level of racial/class/religious division

Dollar becoming worthless

smdonromney
smdonromney

CNBC.com compared

the Samp;P 500 performance under the last 6 Presidents (3 Dems amp; 3 Repubs)

during their first 43 months in office. The results show the Samp;P performed

best under President Obama and back-up Bill Clinton’s arithmetic:

68% - Barack Obama

17% - GW Bush

51% - Bill Clinton

45% - GHW Bush

23% - Ronald Reagan

20% - Jimmy Carter

Recall in his mostly adlib speech before DNC2012, Bill Clinton used

arithmetic to show that since 1961, Dems had the White House 24 yrs vs. Repubs

for 28 yrs. Over that time, 66 million American private sector jobs were

created:

4 million jobs by Repubs

42 million jobs by Dems

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

And why was the debt downgraded?  Because the Tea Party crazies threatened not to pay our past bills in their dangerous game of immature brinksmanship.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 And yet you still vote for the Republican financial agenda that got us here. Classic definition of insanity.

Armand Winter
Armand Winter

Obama proposed a $4 Trillion debt reduction plan that would have kept Samp;P from downgrading us, eliminated the need of the Super Committe, which was ultimately sabotaged by the Republicans resulting in automatic cuts to defense spending...

including cuts to EMBASSY SECURITY !!!

back in April of 2011.

Instead Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, Norquist and the GOP decided to protect Mitt Romney's 13% tax rate.

1) Why can't Romney pay his fair share in taxes?

2) Why do you want Norquist and his Palestinian wife who gives money to terrorists, running this country? - Look it up on wikipedia

3) How does this help job creation?

Armand Winter
Armand Winter

Romney has a whole mercenary army of Mexicans to fight the war  in IRAN.

BTW, Romney has vowed to fire Bernanke and replace him with a Mormon... how do you think his Jewish friends would like that?

annevincent
annevincent

Dumb strategy. America is war-weary. The last thing we need is to be confronted with the possibility of another Bush/Cheney administration, trolling for another full-scale war.  Romney should focus on domestic issues, where he is more likely to find disenfranchised voters who are looking to find a candidate who will address their struggles.

JeanClellandMorin
JeanClellandMorin

Dealing with military matters is easy for the blog-jocks who don't have to make the decisions. In any case, President Obama is a communicator and this is the only thing that can successfully get us out of being GloboCop. // Jean Clelland-Morin

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

"Here was ­America under attack, with four dead on foreign soil. And here was Romney, defiantly refusing to adopt a tone of sobriety, solemnity, or seriousness, instead attempting to score cheap political points, doubling down on his criticism.” John Heilemann in New York Magazine.  

 

NitWitMitt Romney = Economic MELTDOWN/DEPRESSION + WORLD WAR III = NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON 

 

REGISTER and VOTE for President OBAMA who PROTECTS America's MIDDLE CLASS. VOTE the DEMOCRATIC TICKET to STOP the GRIDLOCK in D.C.

engmjr
engmjr

Draft dodger Romney, draft dodger Cheney and draft dodger Karl Rove are ever so willing to send other people's children into the bloody fields created by the Bush administration.  None of Romney's five big strapping boys deigned to do any service to their country.

   Jon Huntsman Jr.  has two sons in the Naval Academy.  

   Englands' Royal family has grandsons that have served in the current wars.  

   The Gop has nothing to say about anybody else being weak.  

    One of my Republican friends said Obama didn't serve in Vietnam.  As I remember, there was no draft for nine year old boys at the time.  

kms123
kms123

Before Obama, we had 8 years of misrule by Bush. Neocons, most of whom have had no military experience, pushed him to strike at Iraq in search of non-existant WMDs and regime change. That needless war led to a trillion dollar bill for the nation to pay apart from thousands of US and Iraqi casualties. Another fallout of the war was that Al Queda entered into Iraq in a big way when Saddam's regime collapsed. Saddam, for all his faults, was a secular leader who kept Al Queda, Iran and the Saudis (who use their petro dollars to finance the propogation of the hardline Salafi ideology that Isalmic radicals have embraced worldwide) in check. So much for being hawkish.  By the way, in addition to the trillion dollar war bill, Bush also gifted the nation a recession, the worst since the Great Depression, from which we are still struggling to get out and for the GOP want to shift the blame on Obama.

Maricia12
Maricia12

After Romney made a laughing stock of himself on foreign policy, the GOP will stoop at anything to discredit the President.  Thankfully, most Americans can see thru their lies and realize they are afraid they will lose the election so they need to make up some more propaganda in the hope that more people will believe the lies. Well, they cannot fool ALL the people ALL the time.  Romney is a hot head who would put this country into several more wars,  possibly WW III and we need to avoid him like the plague.  His knowledge on foreign policy is zero and I am not so sure his knowledge in business is much better.  Yes, he has made a lot of money but he could have a good financial manager who does that. Other than health insurance for MA, he was not a popular Governor and left the State in heavy debt.  He did not want to raise taxes so he raised every fee in the state and not just a couple of dollars. One example is a driver's license, from $25 to $75.  This will probably be one of his ways of raising money for the country.The poor and middle class will  be hurt the most and the wealthy will not be affected.  I would much rather have a President who stops to consider all the circumstances, than plunge the country into another conflict which we cannot afford. The world is watching and they are not too happy with the way the Bush Administration bullied Iraq with so little information before they invaded the country.  They are not looking forward to another Republican in the White House.  Some may think that is not important but it will be when we need allies in a world war.  At this point we should be more afraid of the GOP than any other country.