Foreign Policy Reveals Different Strengths

Whether or not you think the GOP has a strong field, one thing is for sure.  Any of these candidates would be better than Obama when it comes to foreign policy.  That came across clearly from more moderate voices like Jon Huntsman in addition to the two front runners.  Overall it was a great performance by all the candidates.  The contrast between the GOP field, including Ron Paul, and Barack Obama was clear.  So, here are the winners and losers:

Mitt Romney won the debate because of his smooth ability to introduce ambiguity on some issues to give all Conservatives a cushion of comfort.  See Newt’s performance below.  Mitt also took on Ron Paul and I think Mitt won that debate.  It seems pretty clear that Al Qaida terrorists and Timothy McVeigh do not represent the same sort of threat.  In fact, I would argue that lumping McVeigh, a disgruntled anti-American government citizen attacking the system, in with the 9/11 hijackers, foreign terrorists attacking and targeting United States civilians, is a very dangerous way of looking at foreign and domestic terrorism.  I sure hope we would treat a foreign terrorist crossing our border illegally differently than a citizen radical trying to build a bomb in their basement because the IRS just sent them another tax notice.

Jon Huntsman demonstrated his firm control of foreign policy issues.  I think he overcame some fears when he affirmed our strong relationship with Israel.  Huntsman also expressed sentiments on Afghanistan that have been felt by many Conservatives who were mislabeled as “neo-cons” over the last decade.  Many Conservatives supported both wars, but do not support something for nothing nation building in nations that don’t respect us and don’t appreciate the sacrifices we have made.  Huntsman turned again and again to the economy and the failures of Obama and Congress to solve the problem.  Huntsman’s point on how we leave North Korea alone because they have a nuke, but invaded Libya after they gave up their nuclear ambitions is a great diagnosis of the inconsistency in America’s position towards nuclear ambitious countries.

Newt had a great, issue free performance.  Here is the problem.  Newt comes across hawkish, and he is far too honest.  In the end, Mitt agreed with him on long-time illegal immigrants, but Mitt said it in such a way that will be taken better by anti-illegal alien Conservatives.  Newt also hurt himself by endorsing and calling for an expansion of the Patriot act.  This could help guarantee that Ron Paulites stay home and let Obama get re-elected in 2012.  What Newt should have said was that he supported the Patriot Act, but recommends examining it for things that could be eliminated or added.  I think Newt is too straight forward on a subject that honestly Americans would prefer some ambiguity on.  Same with covert operations.  His answer regarding opening our oil resources is not new, but continues to be a very strong point for him.

Ron Paul continued to solidify his base and add some fringe Conservatives who are weary enough of the wars to want to radically change America’s relationship with the world.  For these people, Paul’s angry old man persona, scoffing and reacting to opponents’ answers, and idea that if we leave terrorists alone, they will realize the error of their ways and leave us alone, will not affect his support.  Still, Paul would make a better foreign policy President than Obama.  At least his disengagement would be total, not mixed with war hawkishness like Obama’s.

Rick Perry’s substance earned him a higher spot after this debate.  I still think his idea of zero based budgeting for foreign aid resonates with Americans.  His refusal to dabble in hypotheticals about illegals who have been here more than a quarter century is going to help him as people weed out Romney and Gingrich’s immigration comments and discover the softness there.

Herman Cain did well not to hurt himself in this debate.  He has come across as unknowledgeable on foreign policy.  In this debate he showed he has a recognizable set of foreign policy principles, although he kept things pretty vague.  He didn’t hurt himself and that is a victory for him on foreign policy.

Rick Santorum comes across as a neo-con.   This debate didn’t really change that, and only a change in that perception would cause his status to change as a result of this debate.  No mistakes, but also no movement for him after this debate.  He continues to maintain that we should be paying Pakistan for friendship.

Michele Bachmann is either a career politician or has issues with comprehension.  On multiple occasions she seemed to not be able to grasp her opponent’s position.  A glaring example was when she interpreted Newt’s soft approach to long-time established illegals as some sort of call for general amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens.  She played the same role in Rick Perry’s demise, but now it seems more like a desperate cry for relevance.  Rising and falling as the Social Conservative choice at this point will require superiority on the issues, not loud misunderstanding of opponents, even though that usually produces success with the general electorate.

No matter who the nominee is, what is clear from last night is that we cannot afford four more years of Obama’s foreign policy.

A Super failure of a committee, political system and above all, leadership.

As expected by most people and following a Sunday show round robin, where finger pointing was to the fore front. Members of the “super committee” charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion in budget cuts last night announced their failure to reach a deal.

The formal announcement came late last night, with President Obama making a short address to the nation and as predictable as the sun rising in the morning, blamed Republican and sounded off his now regular rhetoric of fair share and republican’s being unwilling to deal with negotiate.

What makes this failure a mockery is that while the politicians will say it was about budget cuts, the reality is quite different, the $1.2 Trillion in cuts was in fact, cuts from future projected spending levels not real actual cuts.

There was no willingness in truth by the Democratic side to reach an agreement and this has been evident with President Obama’s campaigning in recent months. The failure to reach an agreement is another example under the current administration and Democratic dominated Senate to run down the clock to next year’s election in the hope of blaming the Republicans. The Republican’s for their part had offered revenue increases in the negotiations but this offer was as quickly dismissed.

Washington is truly broken and it is shameful that the American people have been let down by their president, representatives and senators and left out in the cold while the nation’s debt spirals out of control.

Members of the 12-member bipartisan debt committee said Sunday a wide range of differences remained. A late Monday deadline loomed for some kind of plan to move forward, with a vote required by Wednesday however, it was clear no agreement after three months of talks could be reached.

To stave off automatic spending cuts known as a sequester, the super committee must propose ways to reduce deficits by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. At least seven of its 12 members must approve a plan in order to send it to the House and Senate in the form of legislation.

Then, both chambers must vote on the bill, without amendment, by December 23. For the plan to pass, a simple majority in each chamber must vote in favour.

The failure to pass any agreement now results in $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts across much of the federal budget starting in 2013, evenly divided between defence and non-defence spending. Since Congress made the law governing the sequester, it can also amend or repeal it, as some lawmakers are pushing for. President Obama said he will veto any such attempt last night.

Asian stocks and U.S. stock futures fell by over 240 points on the Dow Jones as news of the collapse weighed on markets. Market expectations for a deal already were low, and investors have viewed the United States as a relative safe haven from the debt crisis in the euro zone,

But failure could remind investors of the risks posed by gridlock in Washington.

The House is only scheduled to be in session for eight more days this year after the Thanksgiving holiday, and it remains to be seen whether there is the political will or even the ability to reach an agreement on these measures before they expire on January 1st.

This is not the first failure of gargantuan proportions by politicians in Washington when it comes to dealing with the financial health of the nation. One only has to look at the Senate’s record over the last three years, and their failure to pass a budget during a time in which, over $4 trillion has been added to the American National debt which, to be fair, has become an ever increasing problem since the 1970’s with all presidents except for President Clinton punting the issue down the road.

President Obama will no doubt come out attacking the Republicans this week but people should get a firm grip on the harsh reality coming America’s way. The nation is staring bankruptcy in the face and there is a desperate vacuum of real leadership to tackle the seriousness of the ever accelerating problem.

President Obama and his policies have been an economic failure for the country, he has blamed everything from the weather, Tsunami in Japan through to the financial crisis in Europe, while some or all will have a degree of impact, these are the unexpected challenges every president before him faced and indeed in some cases, much more.

President Obama simply has not provided the leadership to address this most serious of issues and if America goes broke, where will the government and nation be in five years when it is unable to borrow money to pay for welfare programs, education and other vital services, this is the clear truth that politicians won’t address.

America is going to get the real change it asked for alright, social and economic breakdown, and a once great nation, powerless to avert its position in the world being over taken by once so-called developing nations.

The “Super Committee” has indeed being a super failure however, the biggest super failure of them all is leadership, for which the absence of, there can be no substitute.

Surely 2012 represents an opportunity for American voters to change the current dysfunctional leadership, a failure to make the change through the ballot box will leave a once unique nation, facing four more years of failed policies and further economic and political damage. A more sorry state of affairs one could not have considered or even predicted entering the start of this new century just over a decade ago, American exceptionalism itself is under threat from the current administration.

Republicans Opposed to Tax Increases Need Not Apply

Bookmark and Share    The debt ceiling debate did little to solve our problems.

In fact, as demonstrated by the S&P’s downgrading of our credit rating, if the debt ceiling arrangement did anything, it exacerbated our dire economic situation. Only two possibly promising things came out of it. One was the successful attempt to get Democrats on record as opposing a balanced budget amendment that will come up for a vote by years end. The other was the promise to deal with the budget issues that they once again refused to deal with today. In some ways this is a step in the right direction. Having a vote on the balanced budget amendment is a good first step. But as it currently stands, this is only a possible political success for Republicans, not a policy victory for Americans. Under the current make up of Congress, the bill will not pass the Senate and even if it did, there is not a veto proof Republican majority that can override President Obama’s refusal to sign such a bill. However; being able to get Democrats to vote on the issue, gives Republicans a strong image to run on in future elections. They will have the ability to claim that Democrats don’t want to balance the budget. Such a sound bite is enough to influence the votes of many swing and Independent voters and over time it could help to elect enough Republicans to actually pass a balanced budget amendment. But that is years away. In the near future, we are still left with a debt crisis.

The recent debt ceiling hike deal intends to solve our problem with the creation of a bipartisan Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that will be charged with finding a way to significantly reduce the deficit in the near future not the distant future. But the committee will be made up of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans. 3 each will be chosen from the respective leaders of the Republican and Democrat House and Senate leadership. For Republicans that means Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will choose which Republicans are on the committee. But now we are told that both Boehner and McConnell will only consider those who voted for the recent debt ceiling agreement for the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

That means that those who rejected stifling economic tax increases will not be at the table. Instead of having any voices that will focus on making significant spending reductions along with major reforms of the entitlements which will account for the bulk of our debt, we are assured only the input of Republicans who are willing to meet Democrats demands. And what do Democrats demand? Tax increases. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already stated that taxes will be raised by the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

It is bad enough that the so-called super committee charged with deficit reduction is composed solely of the members of the same legislative bodies that got us into the mess were in. But to limit the membership of that committee to Senators and Congresspersons who are willing to consider tax increases is a victory for Democrats. It not only weakens our hand in negotiations from the get go, it essentially concedes ground on the spending addiction we have that we have, to the left.

The Select Committee on Deficit Reduction should be balanced. Of the six Republicans on the committee, 3 should be from the group of G.O.P. members who opposed the debt ceiling hike and 3 should be from among those Republicans who voted for it. Boehner should select two of the many in his conference that voted against it, and McConnell should select one of his Senators that voted against is.

That would be balance. That would assure proper representation of the majority of people in America who believe that we need to cut more than tax and that we need to significantly reform Social Security and Medicare.

This is an issue which our Republican presidential candidates should be chiming in on. They should be criticizing our Congressional leaders who are tying conservative hands in the deficit reduction debate. They should be leading the charge and building the type of popular opinion that can persuade Boehner and McConnell to appoint members who opposed the debt ceiling debate to the deficit super committee.

This committee should really be filled by competent people who have no concern for reelection. People who have balanced budget, created solid pension plans for their employees, instituted successful private sector health insurance policies and plans, and who have created jobs. People like G.E.’s former CEO, Jack Welch. But such is not the case. Instead we are left to rely on the same forces that got us into this problem, to get us out of this problem. Given that sad reality, conservatives should be assured of representation on the super committee that is fiscally conservative, not just politically compromising.

Boehner and McConnell’s refusal to appoint anyone to the deficit reduction committee who voted against the debt ceiling hike forces fiscal conservatives to only hope that the committee is deadlocked and unable to agree upon a plan. Based upon the legislation recently passed, if the committee comes up with nothing, automatic cuts will kick in. That might just be the best thing that could happen.

That said, what do you think?  Vote in this weeks White House 2012 poll and join in the debate on White House 2012’s Facebook discussion page.  

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