President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are presumably listening to their respective advisors for guidance as to what kind of persona to project in tonight’s debate (Obama hopefully has some new help or is not listening — I mean it did not work last time).
But what if the rather dull Obama of last time out is the real deal and what if the secretly-taped Romney who writes off the 47 percent of voters who somehow live off the government and have no self-initiative and who would never vote for him is the real deal? Or is moderate Mitt of the last debate the real deal?
Why is it that we as voters constantly are told of all the strategies those who seek our votes use and then take anything they say or do on the campaign trail seriously?
I mean I am just told that a guy is preparing to put on an act and then I am supposed to suspend reality and take what he says and does as reality?
Kind of like the story I just read that Mitt’s VP candidate Paul Ryan donned and apron and made like he was doing dishes at a soup kitchen, when the dishes were already clean and when he was not invited to do so and it was all just for a phony photo op. All candidates do this kind of thing. Okay, maybe it’s just symbolic and I should not take it seriously.
I have a feeling that tonight’s questions from audience members in a town hall setting will dwell mostly on the economy but I would hope some would address the war situation.
I just read a NY Times editorial that suggested that much of our war policy has been based on the premises that when the U.S. acts boldly its adversaries back down, the Cuban Missile Crisis, as an example. I have pretty much subscribed to that theory, but this piece says uncovered evidence reveals that in the missile crisis President John F. Kennedy was more cautious than had been thought and was willing (secretly) to give more concessions than he did. The fact that he gave up some of our missiles in Turkey, we already knew for a long time now, was kept secret for years, I believe (the missiles were said to be outdated anyway, I seem to recall).
But the idea is that he was more worried about starting WW III than some of his aides revealed. Thankfully, so was then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. But they both lost control for a time because their respective militaries were sent into actions with their orders. A misjudgment by any of these commanders could have sparked a nuclear confrontation.
The reason I wrote all this is because the article mentioned that Kennedy in his caution was guided by his reading of the Guns of August, by Barbara W. Tuchman, a book about the beginnings of Word War I, a tragic and needless war. Too bad George W. Bush did not read it (I doubt he did, anyway).
Romney does not show much evidence that he understands foreign policy beyond America has to be bold (I tend to agree with that, but maybe cautiously bold and maybe not say too much — actions speak louder than words anyway).
Obama probably knew little about foreign policy before getting into office but he certainly has been exposed to it now.
I have to admit I do not understand the current Libya flap the GOP is trying to score points with. They seem to suggest that the Obama administration is trying to cover up something. It is apparent that there was not adequate security at our Embassy there, the result being that our ambassador and several others there were killed. The GOP charges that the Obama administration was trying to spread the notion that the deaths were the result of mob action in reaction to a privately-produced in America anti-Islam hate video when in fact even the administration now has to concede that it was a planned Al Qaeda (or Al Qaeda-affiliated) attack coinciding with the anniversary of 9/11. Don’t know, but what would the administration have to gain from this? Interestingly, though, it seems that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is falling on her sword for this one, announcing within the last 24 hours that she takes full responsibility. But if she is sincere, I almost think you have to respect her. Not many in power these days takes responsibility for anything.
Don’t know if I will catch the debate live since I am working, but I hope to at least hear it on radio.
Here is a link to that Times editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/opinion/the-eyeball-to-eyeball-myth-and-the-cuban-missile-crisiss-legacy.html?hp&_r=0