Wimps: Why the foreign policy presidential debate last night revealed what the majority of GOP candidates are
There apparently is some much watering down and MSM spin being attempted to dilute the performance of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich last night. Make no mistake about it, these were two men among boys and a girl last night. The key point in this debate and all the talk and focus is about Rick Perry’s zero-based foreign aid of all nations America contributes to, including our allies. This is the reason why along with Perry’s simple answer of shutting down Iran’s central bank as a means of severe sanction was why I thought Perry won the debate last night. As I mentioned in my last diary entry, all the candidates were following Perry from that point on. Perry was a foreign policy modern day pioneer last night. Though this new position might have startled the MSM, it makes common sense to ordinary Americans like myself. More on this in a bit.
It was interesting to watch reactions on Twitter from Politico, The Washington Post, and others regarding Perry’s new ground. The spin began almost immediately with The National Journal selecting a question from a viewer whom asked if Israel would also have to start from zero. This is a common tactic of Democrats, and establishment Republicans. They take a sound policy, position, or idea and then try to nitpick, dilute, or engage in cut-and-paste politics to try to soak down the great idea before it takes root in the American public’s mind. There was much talk that I saw about how Perry’s idea was bad and much hand-wringing among the MSM, and incredibly a couple of candidates on the debate stage of what might happen because of this strong policy stance. Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum conveyed weakness in their responses by openly worrying about how cutting off aid to Pakistan might cause a nuclear state to fail and cause nuclear weapons to fall into the wrong hands. While their concern might be founded, it negotiates from a position of weakness. It also tells me that you’re not a leader of strength and you give into fear too easy. This might be harsh, but our enemies and allies only are agreeable when we aren’t afraid to wield America’s very big stick.
You always negotiate from a position of strength. Our strength is in our economy which provides those foreign aid dollars, our military might, and our resolve. Ronald Reagan encapsulated this “peace through strength” approach. Our foreign aid, a strong card of negotiation, should be used so that what we give to a nation must come with contingencies. This is smart diplomacy. Who cares if it might upset some foreign nations? Can you imagine the mullahs’ shock of cold water they must have felt when they heard Rick Perry talk about shutting down their central bank and economy? Can you imagine how all those nations who have been getting aid without yielding much of anything on their part sat straight up in their chairs? Nations respect strength and action that shows you will use that strength whenever necessary.
Ron Paul? Not worth talking about. His foreign policy always has been a disaster. Huntsman? He does have some foreign policy chops but he’s just flat out bland. Herman Cain was a huge disappointment here in the fact that he didn’t reveal much of anything. He just deferred and never gave a clear idea of where he might stand except the fact that he would have to talk it over with his cabinet and military brass. Talk about being indecisive and unprepared.
Mitt Romney had a big stumble today, or I should say the Romney campaign. Now Mitt I thought had a very solid performance last night and he conveyed strength in his positions of what he would do when the moderators posed questions to him. However, a very curious thing happened. When the MSM tried to twist the brilliance of Perry’s ideas that were affirmed by Gingrich by throwing a question like “Does this mean Israel too (wink wink)” and then talking all about it on Twitter afterward, guess what happened. Via Erin McPike of Real Clear Politics:
Rick Perry forcefully reasserted himself in the GOP presidential contest Saturday night during a foreign policy debate here, an event that came on the heels of a string of sloppy — and even embarrassing — debate performances by the onetime front-runner….
They also discussed at length how foreign aid should be dispatched going forward, with several of the leading candidates backing a new idea that Perry put forth.
Two of the Texas governor’s chief rivals for the nomination, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, agreed with him on what appeared to be an off-the-cuff, but conservative, approach to foreign aid: Start all countries at zero and then make each explain why it deserves more. A follow-up question, however, forced Perry to backpedal somewhat on U.S. aid to Israel. (I wouldn’t call that a backpedal. Of course Israel is a reliable ally. Perry’s position forces examination of our foreign aid to “allies” who may be suspect.)
“Obviously, Israel is a special ally, and my bet is that we would be funding them at some substantial level. But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case,” Perry said. His campaign followed that comment by issuing a seven-paragraph statement detailing the candidate’s commitment to Israel, something he has been consistent about throughout his political career.
Still, Gingrich backed up Perry’s principle. He pointed to Egypt and questioned why it should receive $3 billion before it even starts thinking about how the money will be used. Each country should be told, “Explain to me why we need to give you a penny,” he said.
Later in the program, Romney also agreed with the proposal. But after the debate, his advisers backtracked and insisted he only meant he agreed with respect to Pakistan, in part because it is a divided nuclear power that necessitates a careful approach.
That was not the only exchange that required some clarification from Romney’s team. He’s also struggled to explain his stance on the war in Afghanistan. In the past, he has said he wanted troops to come home as soon as possible, and he later said he disagreed with President Obama’s call to begin pulling them back in the fall of 2012, blasting it as a political decision. And he’s also decried the use of timetables for announcing any drawdown of U.S. troops abroad. During Saturday’s debate, though, he said he agreed with a 2014-based timetable.
Romney foreign policy adviser Rich Williamson, a former Reagan administration official, clarified that the former Massachusetts governor opposed any kind of initial timeline that would notify the Taliban as to when American troops would leave their country and simply suggested that he would defer to military leaders regarding an exit timeline.
I would argue that the boldfaced snippet shows that Romney’s foreign policy would be based on what political impact it could have on his Presidency. The most recent president we had like that was Bill Clinton who let Osama Bin Laden get away because of the political ramifications it could have had on his presidency. Still, this is consistent with Romney the man. He’s a politician first. If something threatens his job as a politician, he’ll likely kick the can down the road to the next president that is elected just to keep his job at that present time. “I’ll take action so long as I can be guaranteed that my approval ratings won’t go below 50%.” That’s some serious backbone there (sarcasm of course). Being president means you make hard decisions, even if some might be unpopular or could be.
There are only two strong leaders in this presidential contest as the foreign policy debate showed last night. If they are strong abroad, they most certainly will be regarding domestic policy. That would be Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.