Tonight is the last of the three official Presidential debates pitting Republican nominee Mitt Romney, against the sitting Democratic President, Barack Obama. This debate will be on the subject of foreign policy, and should/could provide undecided voters more information on where either of these two candidates’ stands on this important issue.
I say that it “should/could,” because I don’t really think we are going to be treated with any new or substantive insights as to America’s role in the global community. I believe that we are instead going to be treated to rhetoric, vagaries, sprinkled with some double speak, maybe a little stretching of the truth, or even a complete redefinition of what the truth is, was, and will be, and of course a whole heck of a lot of one candidate telling the other that they are wrong, lying, and/or will lead to one form of Armageddon or another.
In this debate I will take the presumptive position that President Obama should come out the victor, simply because he has been in the foreign policy hot-seat (the Oval Office) for the past four years. This isn’t to say that I agree with the President’s handling of our country’s foreign policy, because quite frankly I don’t think this administration has really provided a concise and consistent message as to what our foreign policy is and should be. What leads me to believe that President Obama should win this debate is the fact that he has the benefit of being President and all of the meetings with other world leaders, and the experience that comes with that. Then there is the way that he (the President) handled Mitt Romney in the previous debate when asked about the attack on our embassy in Benghazi Libya, which left four Americans dead. I thought the President took Mitt to task fairly well in their exchange, and actually succeeded in shaming him (Mitt).
In my opinion Mitt Romney faces a difficult hill to climb in this debate, not just because of his lack of experience on the world stage, but because over the summer when he embarked on a world tour of sorts, he didn’t exactly acquit himself very well through his well-documented gaffes at several stops. Another reason that I think Mitt Romney may not win this debate is simply because I do not particularly agree with his rather hawkish rhetoric, when it comes to America’s role and willingness to intercede, and intervene militarily all over the globe. While that is just my personal bias, I believe that there is a not so insignificant percentage of the American population that is also getting a little tired of wars, and rumors of war with other nations. Aside from my distaste for a continued want to hurl our military into conflict after conflict, there is the simple fact that we, as a nation, simply cannot financially afford to do this either. We are spending more on defense, as a percentage of GDP, than we spent at any point during the Cold War, and that is (1) nonsensical, and (2) not fiscally prudent, when one steps back and looks at the financial morass our country faces – if it isn’t actually facing it already.
Ultimately following this debate I would not, and do not expect any sort of knock-out blow on either of these candidates. Round 1 decidedly went to Mitt Romney, Round 1.5 (the Vice Presidential Debate) was by and large a draw, Round 2 I called a draw, and stated if pressed I would give a reluctant nod towards Mitt, though many other people gave President Obama a slight victory. In Round 3, while I expect President Obama to win, I do not think that he is going to just pummel Mitt Romney – though it is possible. I think tonight’s debate might end in a technical knockout, but we will have to watch and see how the “drama” unfolds. Given the virtual dead-heat that both Mitt Romney and President Obama are in, I think it is a safe assumption to make that this contest will be a judges’ decision (using the boxing metaphor – I hope it isn’t actually decided by the legal system), those judges will be the American voters.
Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate. (Hubert H. Humphrey)