The Compass

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Letting Go

In the course of a profile of Dan Senor, a senior foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney, Marc Tracy writes:

With a Democratic opponent who is, unusually, strong on national security issues, Republicans have no choice but to spin smaller criticisms into a broader temperamental case about Obama’s supposed lack of toughness. This, in turn, propels the campaign to place extra chips on the Middle East, which in U.S. politics most easily lends itself to Manichean framing. Against that backdrop, Senor’s ideological certitude is more valuable than nuanced analysis. Not that the campaign’s PR apparatus would cop to that. Team Romney apparently believes policy expertise can be earned by working as a partisan foot soldier.

I suspect the Republicans could cobble together some coherent criticisms of the Obama administration's foreign policy if they could just let go of a few cherished orthodoxies. The drone war's potentially radicalizing impact and the president's sweeping claims of executive power in executing that campaign seem ripe for a challenge. And just as the GOP routinely claims that "Obamacare" represents government over-reach, trying to micro-manage the Middle East could quite easily be portrayed as the federal government sticking its nose where it has no business.