Faced with the hope of cutting into President Obama’s massive majorities in both houses of Congress in 2010 and the prospect of selling a rival candidate in the 2012 elections, the Republican Party is already looking to differentiate itself from Obama on foreign policy.
This would seem to be easier said than done as the broad strokes of the president’s foreign policy have been the same as President Bush’s, he has abandoned his promise to withdraw from Iraq, escalated dramatically in Afghanistan, and made little concrete progress on his pledge to close Gitmo.
But GOP strategists are hoping that they can portray President Obama as not sufficiently hawkish, failing to continue damaging relations with Russia and not instantly approving Gen. McChrystal’s call to add another 45,000 troops to Afghanistan.
Congressmen have been attacking the president’s policy hard in recent days, even though it seems very difficult to pin down any ways in which he hasn’t been quite hawkish. Sen. McCain has condemned his slowness to approve a second escalation as a “sign of weakness,” while Mitt Romney and Governor Pawlenty, two would be 2012 contenders, are both condemning Obama as “dangerously” non-hawkish.
Incredibly enough, strategists are quoted as being primarily concerned that Obama’s foreign policy will be perceived as a success. Though polls have shown the wars are dramatically unpopular, and even Obama concedes that the public is growing sick of the endless conflicts, it seems no serious consideration was given to running from a less hawkish platform than the president.
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