Cleveland: Keeping Christmas at Home
Ramona: The War on Happy Holidays
I don't think there are many who think Romney won't take another bite at the Benghazi apple on Monday night. After all, the host of the original 47% soliloquy is giving another fundraiser there in Boca Raton so why shouldn't Romney double down on his Libya attacks, even though he put his foot in his mouth the first time around on both accounts,
But after reading David Frum's Daily Beast column this morning, I wonder if the stage isn't set for a broader critique of Obama's foreign policy in the Mideast. The broader argument of course is whether the entire strategy on the Arab Spring has been correct.
Romney faces some risks trying to revisit his Lybia attacks---for example, what Susan Rice did or didn't say on the talk shows five days after the consulate was overrun.. I judge the favorable outcome of another Romney attack on Obama's Libya situation as not much better that 50-50, especially in light of the recent document dump by Congressman Issa.
When Darrell Issa released 160 pages of cables and other documents a day ago he complicated Romney's narrative and painted the Republican Party as a group of dangerous foreign policy gun slingers. The characterization of Romney as "Shoot First and Aim Later" goes double for Issa. In the obvious attempt to undermine Obama's credibility on "security", as evidenced by the tragedy in Benghazi, Issa not only proved that Susan Rice was properly quoting contemporaneous talking points by the CIA, but Issa also managed to expose the actual names of Libyans who have been working with the U.S.---putting their lives in danger.
It seems that "Shoot First and Aim Later" may be a common Republican failing with respect to dealing with sensitive matters of foreign policy. Whether the document dump might also compromise part of the investigation is unknown, but how does the exposure of U.S. secrets help?
Obviously, Obama needs to reiterate that the buck stops with him, that security needs to be strengthened and what we need to do going forward. All of the ancillary charges by Romney about how much security was ordered, whether it was for Tripoli or Benghazi, how many Al Qaeda were there, whether it was planned or not and how far in advance of the uprising in Egypt it might have been---to all of these attacks there are plenty of counter punches. For example (as others have pointed out) if the attack was planned, why weren't the front gates blown with a car bomb, why were ordinary looters hanging about and why weren't the perpetrators prepared to blow the main file safe?
Obama should answer the questions of the American people, looking into the camera. (I wonder if he called the Ambassador's mother and apologized for his use of the word "optimal"? )
Even though there are risks associated with a stepped up attack on Libya by Romney, my guess is that he will still attempt it---both by virtue of his personality and for the simple reason that if he doesn't attack on the disaster scenario that the right wing media has scripted for him, they may skewer him.
I think Obama has a big opportunity to correct something he is currently being pummeled for---not being more specific about his vision for the future. To me the narrative for the future is obvious 1) follow our democratic values, including women's rights, in both our domestic and foreign policies 2) ensure an economy which will never again be bankrupted by wars paid for on credit cards 3) envision an effective military which keeps us safe but doesn't starve our domestic priorities. 4) have the 1% take a recess while the great middle class, the great engine of prosperity for all, catches its breath and catches up by virtue of an increased share of income as well as fair pay.