For decades, the GOP has gone on the offensive in foreign affair politics. Democratic candidates for President have traditionally been cast as the “lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist.” Carter oversaw the botched Iranian embassy rescue mission, Clinton had the Black Hawk Down fiasco and subsequent retreat from Somalia, and Kerry was painted as “Hanoi Jane’s” best friend and co-conspirator against freedom.
So for decades, the GOP has held the political high-ground on matters of foreign policy – Democratic candidates have won despite the public perception of being somehow weak when it comes to matters of State and Defense.
This clip below suggests that strategy will be a much tougher sell in 2012:
The recent recovery of a spy drone by the Iranians may open up Obama a little bit to accusations of weakness – there are definitely some GOP contenders that will say they would’ve used military force to get it back, but I don’t think that alone will make the case. The Bin Laden raid gives ample evidence that Obama isn’t afraid to invade some airspace now and then, so he can just claim that this piece of technology wasn’t worth the risk of going to war with Iran over, and I think most people will believe him.
The GOP has so far attacked the Democrats for being “weak”, essentially out of relfex – they will need to refocus their attacks in 2012 in order to beat Obama on those issues.