23 Oct



My friend arrived home from overseas where he is involved in a major development project. He will be returning soon to continue his work. During the three hours we spent together we caught up on the presidential election. We had worked closely together for Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. He was very concerned by the tenor of the current political climate because of its impact on foreign affairs and America’s image abroad. Repeatedly, he has been asked “what is wrong with the American people? Don’t they realize what they are doing?”


Those he speaks with believe America is a strong country with a great leader who is being attacked for no reason, weakening America from within, and weakening the image of America as a wise and intelligent leader they could depend upon. Every attack by Romney-Ryan, and the Republican obstructionism, is hurting not only Obama, but the presidency; not only the presidency but the country; not only the country, but the entire world. The world counts on American stability, unified vision, and adherence to law to set the tone for their country and the rest of the world. They see Romney’s campaign strategy as a threat.


My friend said that there is amazement at the distortions and outright lies many Americans are willing to embrace regarding President Obama. The scurrilous attacks, rise of a Tea-party Republicans, and complete obstruction of Obama policy are inexplicable to them. The lies are perhaps more easily noted from a distance, and not seen through a cloud of racism as they are in this country. It disturbs them because they fear they can no longer trust the American people. They wonder why any people would undermine the strength of their leader, deliberately weaken their own country, and destabilize world leadership for partisan gain. This is not what they expect, nor hope for, from America.


As I watched the third presidential debate tonight, I thought of this discussion. Readers of this blog represent thirty-nine nations. Americans are sometimes so parochial they do not realize the world is watching us. They care about our election because we are not only electing a president; we are electing the leader of the free world. Decisions made here affect the entire world. The nations of the world are connected; our interests are intertwined. President Obama had to repeatedly remind Mr. Romney of this when he explained that unilateral action must be replaced by the painstaking effort to unite the entire world to address issues which threaten us all. Calling leaders of other countries names, labeling their agendas as wrong when they are simply not the same as ones we would choose, and failure to understand the complexities and unintended consequences of any action we take were pointed out by the president. Mr. Romney never addressed these underlying concepts; his lack of experience and depth of knowledge was obvious.


Most importantly, President Obama told Mr.Romney that we must have a clear foreign policy. Romney’s unwillingness to stick to a position, his shifting policies, and his unbelievable concession to the President’s every position tonight clouds what Romney really would do as president. This not only confuses the American electorate, but the entire world. Even worse, Romney’s cynical salesmanship destroys Romney’s  credibility. Credibility is crucial in a world leader.


Mr. Romney was exposed tonight as a shallow thinker, lacking any historical world perspective, who could only parrot trite phrases he had obviously memorized. We won’t soon forget President Obama’s comment in response to an allegation from Romney that “our navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917.”


“Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed.” He continued, “We had these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. So the question is not a game of battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s ‘What are our capabilities?'”


Romney showed us, once again, that his best skill is marketing the idea of president. He did it tonight copying President Obama. His performance, for that is what it was, was skillful. During the first debate he was more himself, a bully. During the second debate he was removed from reality by the talking points bubble he created. During the third debate he was simply not present at all. He could not be, because Mr. Romney had nothing to offer that the nation would buy. And, by not being there he deprived President Obama of the opportunity to point out their differences. It was not just a “if the glove doesn’t fit, you can’t convict” defense. It was “if there is no glove, there is nothing to debate” !


I am trying to imagine what those following our election from here and abroad learned about Mr. Romney tonight.  Do they see a man of substance? How could they? Romnesia eliminated not only his memory of his former positions, but of his self. Interesting tactic; but did it work? If one asks, “would you trust this man”, the answer would have to be “if you trust Obama you can trust me, too.”..but a bigger and stronger model. Wow, has anyone been watching the political ads? Notice any inconsistencies between the two Romneys? Does Mr. Romney stand for ANYTHING?


When President Obama said Mr. Romney was “all over the map” he wasn’t just speaking of geography. I am reminded of the statement, “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” I don’t want that man as my president. Mr. Romney stands for nothing. He would fall for anything. I would not trust him to keep America safe. I doubt the rest of the world would either.





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