Mitt Romney, in an election year where foreign affairs is dwarfed as an issue by the economy, is heading abroad "to listen and learn," according to his campaign spokesperson. Actually, he is going to raise money, attend the summer Olympics and visit the domestically important state of Israel.
This trip seems curious to me; not only are foreign affairs on the political back-burner, Obama enjoys a 20-point margin among voters on this issue. Doesn't Mr. Romney have more urgent campaign matters? Certainly, foreign policy, no matter what the political mood, occupies — often preoccupies — a president, but Romney's mission today, with less than four months to the election, is to reassure voters that he is the worthy alternative on the domestic front. And, according to his campaign, other than some remarks today — previews of which read like they were written by the same neo-cons who brought us the war in Iraq — Romney isn't planning to make any policy announcements during his trip abroad next week. Huh?
I have written before that compared to most presidential candidates, Romney doesn't seem to do much, or at least not much that's memorable. Since the primary: fundraising, short bus tour, vacation, NAACP speech, trip abroad.
But I believe this is Romney's strategy: Let the election come to him. In this sense, the presidency may be like some of those distressed properties from his private equity days: Eventually, it will have no choice but to be his.