The Blog

Foreign Policy Matters

11:41 AM, Oct 12, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Watching last night's debate, I'm more struck than ever that Obama may be able to fight the economic policy issues to a draw. Romney-Ryan still haven't answered the blame-Bush narrative, and that combined with scaring people about Romney-Ryan on taxes and entitlements have probably pulled Obama-Biden up to a parity on the economy. And it's hard to see what's going to change that in the final three weeks.

obama and romney

Which means, as I suggested a couple of weeks ago, that foreign policy could well be the election tie-breaker. And there's fresh information for voters in this area, because there's breaking news, and it's not news that's good for the administration. I'm referring to Libya, of course, which led last night's debate and where Biden's less-than-candid answer provided a huge opening for the Romney campaign to follow up.

TWS friend Keith Barnett writes from Boston with an interesting point—noting another recent election where domestic policy was supposed to be the dominant issue, but where foreign policy may have made a difference near the end:

"One other thought I’ve had is with the administration’s horrible mishandling of the Libya tragedy. I am reminded a little bit of December 2009, when Democrats were all jumping to the defense of reading the underwear bomber his rights and initially describing him as a lone wolf with no signs of terrorism. There was only one election going on at that time – but it was one that I was in the middle of.  And I can tell you that Scott Brown consistently got more applause on the stump for saying we needed to fight terrorists not provide them lawyers than for just about anything else (even attacking Obamacare). The fact is, I doubt Scott would have won but for that event which was right when his campaign started taking off. And that is why I think it is critical for Team Romney to stay on the offensive on Libya and foreign policy."

Very good advice.

Recent Blog Posts