I hear again and again that the Obama campaign benefited from the financial crisis, because the public prefers the Democrats on the economy but the Republicans on defense.
Why on Earth is this still the case? The current Republican administration has presided over the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history (arguably not Bush’s fault) and a very unpopular war (clearly Bush’s fault) – a war which McCain supported and Obama opposed from the outset. And yet the Republicans are seen as the party that will keep us safer from international terrorists and hostile regimes?
I get that McCain has served in the military and Obama hasn’t. But being a Navy captain and being Commander-in-Chief are two drastically different things. I would hope that on determining how to win a war, either man would largely follow the recommendations of his generals and other senior military advisors, who know a hell of a lot more about waging war than they do.
The most important role of the Commander-in-Chief (in modern times anyway, Constitution be damned) is deciding when we go to war. So far as I know, every major conflict in recent American history has been initiated by the Executive Branch. I presume that the public would strongly prefer not to have the U.S. embroiled in another war over the next four years. Can anyone possibly believe that we are less likely to enter a war under McCain’s leadership than Obama’s? McCain, who is notoriously hot headed, who supported the Iraq War from the start, who jokingly sings about bombing Iran, who insults the Prime Minister of Russia on national T.V., who talked about staying in Iraq for 100 years?
Putin may be an oppressive thug, and the “Bomb Iran” song was actually pretty funny, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise for the potential next President of the United States to be saying these things. Wouldn’t we be safer with a President who actually knows how to be diplomatic?
Anyway, rather than just limit this to a debate over Republicans vs. Democrats (and McCain vs. Obama in particular) on defense and foreign relations, I’d like to pose the question “What would it take for the Democrats to take over as the favored party on defense?” My point in the above is that I’m kind of perplexed that it hasn’t happened already.