Sunday, February 15, 2015

Republicans Don't Have a Foreign Policy

Doyle McManus is right to suggest that Republicans haven't quite worked out a foreign policy beyond "not Obama." But it's hard to distinguish that deficit from the fact that they also haven't quite worked out a health care reform policy or an immigration reform policy or even a federal budget policy other than "not Obama."

That's because, as Steve Benen noted a couple of years ago, the strategy of total obstruction led them to be "post-policy." Thanks to the work of Michael Grunwald, we all know that strategy was adopted about the time that Barack Obama was inaugurated as President.

So let's take a quick trip down memory lane and think about what was happening at the time. The policies of tax cuts and de-regulation that were embraced by President George Bush had contributed to our economy careening towards another great depression. Osama bin Laden was still alive while our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seemed both futile and endless. And so, it should come to no surprise to anyone that the country elected a president who promised to take things in a different direction. Republican policies had turned out to be a disaster - both domestically and abroad.

It was at that point that the GOP had some tough choices to make. They could re-examine their policies and priorities based on these results to reframe the conservative alternative politically. Or they could avoid all of that by playing a power game of trying to destruct the liberal alternatives. Of course well all know that they chose the latter.

In order to make that work, they had to fan the flames of anger/fear/racism in their base against President Obama. Hence, the Tea Party was born on lies about death panels, birth certificates and Kenyan socialists.

Now Republicans have a whole slate of presidential candidates who seem eager to run on the threat posed by "Islamic terrorists." But they have no idea about how to do that that doesn't harken back to the disasters created by the Bush administration. So all they've got is to suggest that President Obama's foreign policy is a retreat from our domination on the world stage. How much worse can it get than Sen. Cruz suggesting that it's all about what we call ISIS?
Last week, when Obama requested authorization for the air war in Iraq and Syria, Cruz sidestepped the question of limits and said the main defect of Obama's request was that it failed to identify the adversary as "Islamic terrorists."
This is nonsense! And until Republicans can do better than that, no one should take them seriously on foreign policy.


  1. It is times we hear what republicans will do, not what they will not allow to be done. They need to either step up or get out of the way!

  2. We don't have a policy for dealing with their post-policy policy. We keep adeptly identifying it over and over and over again, but we have yet to come up with a way to make it stop working for them. It *is* working for them. Their voting base doesn't want solutions; they don't care what works or doesn't work; they want their fears pandered to on an hourly basis. Our voting base wants some charismatic savior to come along and fix it all for us. Until someone can find a strategy to counter those fundamental frameworks, we're just spinning our wheels.

    1. The President has shown us the way...the DEM party does not want to turn over its power to the OBAMA Coalition...they choose to return to the Pre-Obama days....

      What i find fascinating is all the Obama people...who have been recruited to the Hillary Clinton camp...they want some of that magic dust on them...but they have forgotten the most important piece....Barack Hussein Obama

    2. That these former Obama staffers are now working for Hillary is so fundamentally wrong, I can't even grasp it. I don't care how much lipstick they apply, it won't change who she is and what she believes and how lacking she is in leadership skills. I'm prepared to wager that there will be at least two, maybe three who will learn that the hard way and jump ship at some point.

    3. 'We keep adeptly identifying it over and over and over again, but we have yet to come up with a way to make it stop working for them. It *is* working for them.

      THIS is what frustrates me, to the point I've lost confidence in Dem talk! The fact GOP strategy, or money, *is* working for them was forcibly brought home to me last November, and it was a body blow. If citizens actually voted for GOPs given all they had, and hadn't, done to harm the country/citizens in the previous years, and given their evident ignorance *how* do you fight that?

  3. What Tien Le said. But you have to admit if nothing else Republicans are consistent. They don't have a domestic policy either.

  4. Tien, I hope you are right that some of the O staffers joining HRC will come to their senses. I too don't see how you could have worked with PBO's forward thinking campaign/team, then be willing to roll things backwards into the previous rut. Female president or no, HRC is not IMO the right fit going forward! As you say, she lacks leadership skills - she's a follower who knows how to be obstreperous (once she's been given her talking points). A good example of this to me is how she always waits to see which way the wind is blowing before coming out on an issue.

  5. I want Joe Biden to run for President. At the very least we can have a discussion of Progressive values.