“And I am right,
And you are right
And all is right as right can be!”
–lyric from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, and Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy.
Speaking of international affairs, the foreign policy speech the other night was surreal. I say “speech” because it was in no way a “debate”. Romney just echoed Obama. Sort of pointless, really. They might have at least had the decency to say beforehand “hey, we have no major disagreements on this, so let’s debate something else”.
Barry Goldwater famously derided “me-too” Republicans, meaning Republicans who went along with the Democrats with only slight deviations. Mitt Romney has taken “me-too” Republicanism to an absurd extreme–at least in his words, if not in his deeds. Either he is lying to the country in general about what his plans are, or else he is lying to the Republicans about being one of them. I think there was a famous quote from some old politician about “fooling all of the people all of the time“. Romney should check that out.
One problem with foreign policy debates is that foreign policy more than other matters requires secrecy. You can’t go blabbing your plans all over the place, or rival nations and other entities will find out what you’re up to and react accordingly. So, all they can really do is spout platitudes. “Peace is good”, “America must be strong” and so on. Still, spouting platitudes is what politicians excel at.
Obama’s line about horses and bayonets was a good one, but I sometimes think he’s over-thinking things. While I agree that some of the military spending Romney is proposing is wasteful, it might be the easiest way of providing the economy with the Keynesian stimulus it needs, since few Republicans will vote against it. It would be better to spend it on schools and such, but if the political landscape makes that impossible, there’s not much to be done.
I still think Obama is going to win this election, but there’s no question it’s been much closer than I ever expected.