It is safe to say that America's outreach to the world under President Obama has been a complete failure. Does America enjoy more or less respect than it did four years ago? If you think more, please let me know where.
Last weekend was the end of Obama's foreign policy. Diplomats are being called in and troops are being sent out — at least to where our enemies will allow them. The likes of Sudan know they can refuse Obama's wish for more troops to protect our embassies. Obama will probably tell us the Sudanese promise to provide adequate protection for Americans was a hard-fought concession.
Anyway, for the first time since the 2012 campaign began, Obama might want to talk about the economy. The images of the fires burning and the angry crowds on the Arab streets all underscore the complete failure of Obama's foreign policy, reminding us of his naivete and the price we pay for his on-the-job-training. Remember, this is a man who thought he was worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize just for being who he was.
The planet would heal because of his desire for it to do so. His very presence meant tension in the Middle East would subside. And why not? He had some new ideas: Remember his instructions to his NASA administrator that there was no higher priority than to make Arabs feel better about themselves?
With the world mostly either disrespecting America or just sadly shaking its head and wondering where America has gone, perhaps the Obama campaign could use a few days of blaming George W. Bush for the Obama administration's economic failures.
Foreign policy can't win elections, but it can lose them. Obama is pushing his luck as it becomes more and more clear that he can't influence events that endanger America and American interests. Meanwhile, he has outsourced America's economic management to the Federal Reserve, an abdication of responsibility that will be the subject of books to come. By announcing another quantitative easing program, the Federal Reserve was irrefutably saying that Obama's policies are not working, that the economy is so weak it has to step in to do something to try and generate the jobs that Obama's policies haven't — and won't — deliver.
So as the campaign heads for the debates, voters must be asking themselves what a vote for Obama is really about. It's not about peace and prosperity. It's not about respect abroad and certainty at home. There is nothing about Obama's tenure in office that voters should want more of. So why is he winning? I'm not sure, but based on his record at home and the sorry state of affairs his foreign policy has produced, the fact that he isn't cratering suggests a 21st-century coat of Teflon that makes Reagan's legendary resilience look small-time.
P.S.: There are "handler stories" circulating in Washington and in the news about tensions inside the Romney campaign. Handler stories don't matter to voters. The political class in Washington, which overestimates the importance of these stories, studies them in great detail. Ignore them. Save your interest in inside-the-campaign-score-settling for after the campaign. I don't mean to spoil the outcome, but post-campaign books and essays will declare the winning team geniuses and the losers as misguided, ham-handed dimwits who just wouldn't listen to the author or the author's sources.