Why Is Romney Running Against Obama?

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Last week, McCain and Obama traded barbs over the Iraq war. McCain first derided Obama for voting against the war supplemental, then Obama called out McCain for his farcical pronouncement that Baghdad is secure, and McCain finally ended the exchange by smugly correcting the Obama team’s spelling of “fla[c]k jacket.”
Mitt Romney’s campaign just sent out an e-mail comparing his agenda with Barack Obama’s. The obvious question is, why? Does Obama really engender greater anger or fear with the Republican base than Hillary Clinton?
This would seem to be a big boost for Obama, who, as far as I can tell, has done nothing in the past two weeks to so suddenly become the Democratic foil of choice.
The easy answer is that Both Romney and Obama published articles in Foreign Affairs this month, but Romney could just have easily compared his article with the policy speeches of others had he wanted to.
And interestingly, most of the excerpts of Obama’s article that the Romney campaign highlights in its e-mail aren’t particularly controversial, except with a very small part of the Republican base. In fact, what Romney points out in Obama’s piece seems moderate, sensible, and, to put it bluntly, not particularly far-reaching.
Needless to say, in the middle of the Democratic primary, the attention from Republicans bodes well for the Obama campaign.
I’ve copied the e-mail below. I do plan to read the articles and reflect on anything I see as notable in either one.
— Scott Paul


To: Scott T. Paul
Fr: Romney for President
Subj: True Strength for America
The Romney Vision Vs. The Obama Vision
“We are a unique nation, and there is no substitute for our leadership… Our future and that of generations to come depend on our resolve to move beyond the divisiveness in Washington today and unite America and our allies to confront a new generation of global challenges.” – Gov. Mitt Romney (Gov. Mitt Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
In The July/August Issue Of Foreign Affairs, Gov. Romney And Sen. Obama Lay Out Their Visions For How America Should Solve A New Generation Of Global Challenges.
The Romney Vision:
Confront Radical Islam Globally, Truly Transform Our Foreign Policy


Gov. Romney Stresses The Importance Of Winning In Iraq And Defeating Radical Islam Globally.
“The congressional debate in Washington has largely, and myopically, focused on whether troops should be redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan, as if these were isolated issues. Yet the jihad is much broader than any one nation, or even several nations… The jihadist threat is the defining challenge of our generation and is symptomatic of a range of new global realities.” (Gov. Mitt Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)

Gov. Romney Will Truly Transform Washington’s Foreign Policy Practices And Capabilities.
“We need to fundamentally change the cultures of our civilian agencies and create dynamic, flexible, and task-based approaches that focus on results rather than bureaucracy… For every region, one civilian leader should have authority over and responsibility for all the relevant agencies and departments, similar to the single military commander who heads U.S. Central Command.” (Gov. Mitt Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
Gov. Romney Will Increase The Military By 100,000 Troops And Commits Specific Funding To Do So. “[W]e need to increase our investment in national defense. This means adding at least 100,000 troops and making a long-overdue investment in equipment, armament, weapons systems, and strategic defense… [W]e are going to need at least an additional $30-$40 billion annually over the next several years to modernize our military, fill gaps in troop levels, ease the strain on our National Guard and Reserves, and support our wounded soldiers… The next president should commit to spending a minimum of four percent of GDP on national defense.” (Gov. Mitt Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
Gov. Romney Believes We Must Become Truly Energy Independent For Our National Security. “We need to initiate a bold, far-reaching research initiative – an energy revolution – that will be our generation’s equivalent of the Manhattan Project or the mission to the moon. It will be a mission to create new, economical sources of clean energy and clean ways to use the sources we have now… It will be good for our national defense, it will be good for our foreign policy, and it will be good for our economy.” (Gov. Mitt Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
Gov. Romney Believes We Must Revitalize and Strengthen Our Alliances. “The inaction, if not the breakdown, of many Cold War institutions has made many Americans skeptical of multilateralism… But such failures should not obscure the fact that the United States’ strength is amplified when it is combined with the strength of other nations… [W]here institutions are fundamentally incapable of meeting a new generation of challenges, the United States does not have to go it alone. Instead, we must examine where existing alliances can be strengthened and reinvigorated and where new alliances need to be forged.” (Gov. Mitt Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
Gov. Romney Believes In A Bright Future For The World And Opportunities For American Leadership. “We are a unique nation, and there is no substitute for our leadership. The difficulties we face in Iraq should neither cause us to lose faith in the United States’ strength and role in the world nor blind us to the new challenges we face. Our future and that of generations to come depend on our resolve to move beyond the divisiveness in Washington today and unite America and our allies to confront a new generation of global challenges.” (Gov. Mitt Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
The Obama Vision:
Disengage From Iraq And The War On Terror, Re-Engage Via Diplomacy

Sen. Obama Calls For A Retreat From Iraq By March 31, 2008, Ignoring Terrorists’ Own Statements That Iraq Is The Central Front In The War On Terror.
“Iraq was a diversion from the fight against the terrorists who struck us on 9/11, and incompetent prosecution of the war by America’s civilian leaders compounded the strategic blunder of choosing to wage it in the first place… The best chance we have to leave Iraq a better place is to… begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces, with the goal of removing all combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008…” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Renewing American Leadership,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
Sen. Obama Advocates Economic Engagement, Security Assurances And Diplomatic Relations With Iran. “Our policy of issuing threats and relying on intermediaries to curb Iran’s nuclear program, sponsorship of terrorism, and regional aggression is failing… [W]e must show Iran – and especially the Iranian people – what could be gained from fundamental change: economic engagement, security assurances, and diplomatic relations.” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Renewing American Leadership,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
Sen. Obama Blames America For Carbon Emissions, And Calls For Enacting A Cap-And-Trade System. “As the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, America has the responsibility to lead. While many of our industrial partners are working hard to reduce their emissions, we are increasing ours at a steady clip – by more than ten percent per decade. As president, I intend to enact a cap-and-trade system that will dramatically reduce our carbon emissions.” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Renewing American Leadership,” Foreign Affairs , July/August 2007)
Sen. Obama Paints A Dreary Picture Of The Pursuit Of Liberty Across The Globe. “People around the world have heard a great deal of late about freedom on the march. Tragically, many have come to associate this with war, torture, and forcibly imposed regime change.” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Renewing American Leadership,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)
Sen. Obama Sees A World Of Floods, Famine, And Fighting. “Without dramatic changes, rising sea levels will flood coastal regions around the world, including much of the eastern seaboard. Warmer temperatures and declining rainfall will reduce crop yields, increasing conflict, famine, disease, and poverty. By 2050, famine could displace more than 250 million people worldwide. That means increased instability in some of the most volatile parts of the world.” (Sen. Barack Obama, “Renewing American Leadership,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)

Comments

8 comments on “Why Is Romney Running Against Obama?

  1. Larry Bakst says:

    Chris Cilizza in his WaPo blog, The Fix claimed that McCain and Romney strategist think they are competing head to head for the Republican conservative faithful, so it should be no surprise that Romney imitated McCains gambit. The real question is why Obama instead of Clinton. Not helping the front runner must be a consideration, as much as saving their anti Clinton ammunition for later. Trying to create a new liberal demon may well be a factor, and one has to wonder whether they would prefer to face Obama. In any event the pairing off process is a fascinating one and must have a basis in polling data as well.

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  2. Carroll says:

    I am sure the repubs are highlighting Obama for a slezzy reason. They might want his to be the face of the dems. Beides they don’t have much to go after Hillary on with foreign policy since she is so close to their own.

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  3. Sarah says:

    I think the Republicans have recognized for a long time that Obama would be a very tough opponent, which is why McCain did an early preemptive strike on him with their ethics squabble. No one else in the Democratic field is a serious threat.
    Hillary is quite beatable in a general election. Edwards might have been tough a few months ago, but he’s moved too far to the left in order to win the primary and has had too many gaffes stick. Even if he does win the primary, he’ll be easy pickings in the general. Obama is really their only threat when you think about it.

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  4. Zathras says:

    It is a mistake to think that anything Republican Presidential candidates are likely to say about their Democratic counterparts will have any impact on the race for the Democratic nomination. Democratic Party Presidential politics don’t work that way.
    Democrats nominate candidates perceived to be utterly loyal to the party’s dominant interest groups, and to be “electable.” They are much more ready to compromise on the second criterion than on the first. Whether one particular Democratic candidate’s campaign operatives are engaged in testy exchanges with operatives for a Republican candidate won’t even enter the picture.

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  5. Pissed Off American says:

    Gosh Scott, what a pretty little package you’re wrapping him in. You gonna sell us an extended warranty too? Or when this media created wonder boy just turns out to be another lying posturing bought and paid for Washington whore, will you just change your product line?

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  6. yabli says:

    They’re ripping a page off Giuliani’s book is what I think. He did mark some points with the right wing media when he uttered his threat to voters that they’ll get another 9/11 if they elect a democrat.

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  7. jvarisco says:

    Perhaps they just assume (rightly in my opinion) that there is no way Hillary can win, and so not much reason to go after her. If Obama takes the nomination, it pays off, and if not, they don’t really need to worry much regardless.

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  8. bAkho says:

    Republicans always play their race cards. Obama is an easy target. No one likely to support Obama will vote in a GOP primary.
    I used to think I was too cynical about Republicans. Since Bush, I realized I haven’t been cynial enough.

    Reply

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