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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 11:01 AM ET, 07/06/2012

A foreign policy tour for Romney? Really?

Politico reports that Mitt Romney is mulling an overseas trip:

"Mitt Romney’s campaign is considering a major foreign policy offensive at the end of the month that would take him to five countries over three continents and mark his first move away from a campaign message devoted almost singularly to criticizing President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, sources tell POLITICO.

The tentative plan being discussed internally would have Romney begin his roll-out with a news-making address at the VFW convention later this month in Reno, Nev. The presumptive GOP nominee then is slated to travel to London for the start of the Olympics and to give a speech in Great Britain on U.S. foreign policy."

Given the extent to which Romney has had a monomaniacal focus on the economy, it’s easy to forget that he initially positioned himself as a defender of the exercise of maximum American power abroad. Romney has an acute lack of foreign policy experience, but this hasn’t stopped him from consistent attacks on President Obama’s foreign policy record. His book, “No Apologies,” promises a more muscular approach to national security, and throughout his campaign, Romney has hit Obama for “apologizing” for America, despite the fact that this never happened.

Indeed, as Daniel Larison points out for the American Conservative, Romney has spent an “inordinate amount of time trying to make foreign policy a major issue in this election.” Romney has consistently attacked the administration for its handling of most international issues, from its relationship with Russia, to its handling of events in Syria and Egypt. As Larison notes, Romney “has been reliably bashing Obama on Iran, Syria, Russia, China, NATO, missile defense, and Israel for months if not years.”

The problem for Romney is that after eight years of a disastrous, Republican-led foreign policy, voters may be more confident in the Democratic Party’s ability to manage the country’s international affairs. When asked about Obama’s handling of foreign policy, majorities of Americans approve of the president’s performance. In a May poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 51 percent of Americans said they approved of Obama on foreign policy. Likewise, in a poll from the Associated Press, 64 percent and 53 percent said they approved of Obama’s handling of terrorism and Afghanistan, respectively.

It doesn’t help that Romney has adopted a bellicose and dangerous approach to foreign affairs; he has characterized Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe,” claimed the ability to unilaterally wage war on Iran, and stated his willingness to spark a trade war with China.

There simply isn’t much room for Romney to attack Obama on foreign policy. Obama isn’t Jimmy Carter, and Romney doesn’t have the credibility he needs to stand as a credible voice on national security. Foreign policy is a distraction for Romney’s campaign; rather than make a tour of the globe, Romney would be better off continuing to hammer Obama on the economy, which is where the president is actually weak.

Jamelle Bouie is a Writing Fellow at The American Prospect. You can find his blog here.

 

By  |  11:01 AM ET, 07/06/2012

 
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