Romney Looks to Make Obama’s Afghan Policy a Campaign Issue

Republicans in Congress Moving Away From McCain-Style Superhawkishness

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, former Governor and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney slammed President Obama’s current policy in the Afghan War, claiming that his use of a “specific timetable” on the war proved his “failed leadership.

Romney’s attempts to position himself as somewhat more hawkish than Obama on Afghanistan, though a common go-to tactic for campaigns, seems to be running afoul of Congressional Republicans, many of whom are shifting away from John McCain style super-hawk positions to a more vague Obama-style hawkishness, even endorsing the president’s Afghan strategy.

The shift reflects overwhelming American opposition to the war, and while politicians by and large don’t seem comfortable opposing the war, Romney’s effort to make the war a campaign issue is a major gamble.

Romney’s closest rival in the GOP race, Rick Santorum, is staking out a somewhat less hawkish position, criticizing Obama but saying that the policy should be “commit to winning or let’s get out.” Of the other remaining candidates Newt Gingrich, usually a hawk on such matters, has termed the Afghan War unwinnable and Rep. Ron Paul has opposed it from the start.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.