Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Issues For November Part II (Foreign Policy)

McCain and Clinton agree on just one thing. They both disagree with Obama's stated intention to meet face to face with leaders from countries that are currently enemies like Iran. They have been badgering Obama about it. Granted, Clinton backed off somewhat on that issue after the California debates which just shows that she's smarter than McCain. Why?

Here is a Gallup poll that shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with Obama's general approach. The highlights: 70%-80% of Democrats and Independents think meeting with enemies is a good idea. 48% of Republicans do too! These majorities largely hold even when Iran is specifically mentioned.

These numbers suggest that Obama might be ill advised to adopt Hillary Clinton's foreign policy stance. First, it would appear like he was flip flopping. Second, given these numbers there is real reason to be concerned that it might lose more votes than it would gain.

This is very bad news for McCain who needs a hawkish atmosphere to the campaign to win. He's a war hero candidate running in a campaign about the economy and, secondarily, ending a war and certainly not starting any new ones. But as I pointed out in the previous post, McCain's best issue is Iraq. Even though he only really has marginal advantage or a tie on that overall issue, it's a better issue for him than the economy, health care, or reformist sentiments.

McCain wants the debates to be about who would be the best Commander in Chief and who has the most foreign policy experience. Obama said right from the start that this is a debate none of the Democratic candidates would win. Obama's position on diplomacy is in line with the main stream American sentiment on an issue that - quite frankly - most don't think is the highest priority right now.

In short, he's not likely to be that vulnerable here. He can do exactly what he did this week. When McCain attacked Obama's "naive" approach, Obama simply restated his position, and said McCain was distorting it to distract people from the Economy. There's one for the Clinton fans out there..."It's the Economy Stupid!"


The Law Talking Guy said...

I wish CNN would publicize this. It's important for people who see nothing wrong with diplomacy rather than war to realize that the vast majority of their countrymen agree with them.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I believe Obama's position on diplomacy is the right one. (Hillary and McCain are wrong on that one.) I am relieved to see that most Americans agree.

But Obama's Achilles' heel is the perception of weakness. He comes across as gentle and idealistic, not tough and pragmatic. If Obama can alter that perception, even just a little, that could win him the few percentage points among independent voters he requires to win the big three swing states (OH, PA, and FL) and thereby the Presidency.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Being "hawkish" on foreign policy is one way to appear tough and pragmatic, but certainly not the only way. I look forward to seeing how Obama does it.

Raised By Republicans said...

I disagree about the "strong leader" thing being Obama's Achilles heal.

As I pointed in a previous post, McCain is rated at 46% and Obama 42% by respondents to that question. If he's in a near statistical tie with John McCain on "strong leader" he's kicking ass. And this while his status as a winner/leader has been agressively undermined by significant elements of his own party.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The perception of weakness, sadly, is precisely why he cannot appear to have been forced into choosing Clinton as a running mate. A stronger candidate could do that; he can't. He needs to pick somebody else. Edwards is the closest he can come to picking a former rival without seeming too weak.

The only way Clinton's nomination as VP not to be appear to be an act of weakness for Obama is for is for Clinton to behave in a way inimical to her personality. She - and Bill - must withdraw, concede, praise Obama, and recede from public view for a few weeks. They must genuinely appear to be beaten and also converted to supporting Obama. Sing his praises, praise also his wide support and great campaigning, and be proud tos upport Obama. If they can eat a little humble pie, Obama can pick her Clinton a running mate. Otherwise, she will continue to behave as if the nomination is half hers, and the effect on the public will be to make Obama appear to be not quite his own man.

Raised By Republicans said...

As the Daily Show put it, "Driving Miss Hillary."