Ed's post on Tuesday’s GOP foreign policy debate makes a great point. More often than not, foreign policy is not a driver of electoral outcomes. Even in 2004, at the height of the Iraq war, the issue was terrorism — which, in the context of 9/11, was a domestic one. This political axiom is unfortunate, both for the reason Ed cited — presidents have to confront so much outside our borders — and because, if it were a voting issue, it would favor President Obama.
One irony of the president's first-term is that he's had more successes overseas than at home. A president who was elected to change Washington and save the economy has left more of an imprint internationally. He successfully managed the raid on Osama bin Laden; his military drone strategy has further decimated al-Qaeda; the troops have been withdrawn from Iraq; Afghanistan is on a similar path; Gaddafi is gone from Libya; and much of the Arab world, while still very precarious, has at least some green shoots of freedom. Even the Iranian regime, as National Security Adviser Tom Donilon pointed out in a speech yesterday, is more isolated internationally and domestically.
The president and his excellent foreign policy team deserve a lot of credit for all of it. Maybe he should put them to work on the economy next.
One final thought before Thanksgiving. Will Rick Perry pardon the turkeys if he makes it to the White House?