One-time presidential hopeful Gary Hart recently penned a blog post at Huffington Post predicting that if the coming presidential election is decided on “the economy stupid,” it “won’t even be close.” It’ll be Obama/Biden in a landslide.
Hart notes, and correctly, that the economy is quite intertwined with foreign policy these days due to globalization. Considering the interconnectedness of economic and foreign policy, Hart says, Obama/Biden have the greater experience.
Should President Obama have had a successful foreign policy doctrine and would that Vice President Biden been an able and vital partner in such a policy, Hart might be correct. Unfortunately, few foreign policy experts see a successful Obama foreign policy regime much less any sort of scheme that could even be called the “Obama Doctrine” of foreign policy.
“Leading from behind,” if you will, is not a successful foreign policy doctrine. But Hart is sure that because Obama grew up in Indonesia he better understands the “international set of complex networks” that is our world today.
But, Hart chose a bad time to post his prediction. One reason is that he is effusive in praise of Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy credentials just as Biden’s very sanity is being called into question from all quarters. Biden has been lambasted from every self-respecting pundit, one columnist even calling Biden the Jar Jar Binks of the vice presidency.
Yet, Gary Hart seems to seriously think that Biden is a sure lock for re-election and a credit to the Democratic ticket because he “made foreign policy his focus in the Senate.” This is a dubious point, of course, as nearly every foreign policy prescription that Biden pushed as the Senator from Delaware was simply the wrong call. He was, for instance, wrong on the Cold War, wrong on the first Iraq War, wrong on the second, and wrong on his idea to partition Iraq after we won with a surge he thought was a bad idea. He backed every wrong idea possible. Foreign policy expertise has never been Biden’s strong suit despite his best efforts to appear like an expert on the subject.
Hart also plies his hand at childish demagoguery by trying to tar Romney/Ryan with “the birthers.” Plainly Hart is living in the past. The birthers have long since been put out to pasture by both the average rank-and-file Republican as well as the establishment. Birthers have had no part in the national discussion for several years now and they’ve played no part at all in this campaign.
It is also amusing that Hart tries to belittle Romney as having only lived in France in his youth as a Mormon missionary while on the other hand touting Obama’s childhood in Indonesia as some sort of valid foreign experience. Why living in Indonesia as a child was good but living in France as a young adult is meaningless is something that Hart doesn’t bother to try and explain — not that he could.
Of course, the facts are that Obama’s foreign policy “experience” amounts to “leading from behind” by allowing other nations to take the lead while America dithers. On the success side, Obama was the man in charge when Osama bin Laden was nailed and he’s presided over a massive campaign of death from the skies in drone strikes. Yet, this hardly serves as the sort of experience that would make Obama the man most able to see our economic recovery through the prism of foreign policy. And Biden’s foreign policy creds are just as much of a joke as his oratory skills.
It seems pretty clear that Gary Hart is tilting at windmills with his blog post. If this election is predicated on foreign policy credentials, I’d say that Romney/Ryan’s less experience in comparison to Obama/Biden’s laughable qualifications makes a wash of the issue.