Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

US Election: Presidential candidates are neck-and-neck

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Neck-and-Neck: the next time these guys speak, one will be conceding to the other
Last night’s third presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida, fell a bit flat. There were no killer punches, which is unsurprising as the core subject was foreign policy. 
Barack Obama has spent most of his presidency trying to keep out of foreign policy – as a man of the Left he does not like the United States role in the world as the largest military power. He prefers consensus – some would say this style of foreign policy gets your ambassador killed in Libya. President Obama has hardly held back his contempt for Europe, his greatest world allies. And, of course, he famously removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office shortly after moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Mitt Romney is no Republican hawk, sitting on the moderate wing of the GOP. He has also never been a US Senator or Congressman, where he would have been exposed to foreign policy legislation and decisions. His political past has been parochial: he was the Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. Mr Romney’s main career has been in business, where he has built up a substantial fortune. 
The lack of experience by Romney showed itself clearly in his agreements with the President during Monday night’s debate. Both men agreed on Israel, keeping the US military out of Syria, and ensuring China plays by the trade rules. Mr Romney also backed President Obama’s policy of withdrawing from Afghanistan by 2014.
When Romney did stray into differing views, he seemed like he was clutching at straws, making bizarre statements about the US having less Navy ships than in 1916. Obama didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when he retorted:

“But I think Gov. Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

Is that the best the Commander-in-chief of the largest armed forces on Earth could come up with?

Say what you like about George W. Bush but he sounded like a Commander-in-Chief whereas these two guys sounded like college kids visiting a foreign affairs think tank.

Home coming or New home: Will it be Obama or Romney living here in January?

According to the pundits Obama technically won last night’s debate but that was probably entirely down to his incumbency factor rather than what he said or didn’t say. Current polls show the candidates neck-and-neck with Real Clear Politics having Obama and Romney on 47% a piece. This election is exciting but mainly because of the polling numbers this late in the campaign, which means it is impossible to predict who will end up crowned the winner next month. But the election is not full of sparks as neither candidate is a big-hitter or a character like Bill Clinton or George W. Bush were in recent times and of course Reagan and JFK were in decades gone by.

I don’t think the world will be any safer with Romney in the White House. He will do pretty much the same as Obama when it comes to exercising the United States military capability. The risk of doing this though is other countries may fill the vacuum and that means Israel, who won’t hang around forever whilst Iran builds a nuclear bomb next door and talks of wiping Israel off the face of the map.

But, undoubtedly in my mind, Romney will improve the US economy, which will improve the world’s economy. That is why, if I were a US citizen, I would vote for Romney on 6th November.

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Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

One thought on “US Election: Presidential candidates are neck-and-neck

  1. I think you're right, that the Romney White House would act in much the same way as an Obama White House when it comes to Foreign Affairs. After all, they are pretty hemmed in by domestic public opinion and the fact that they cannot simply act with impunity; George W Bush tried that and failed as well.I also agree that Romney may do more to improve the fiscal position, although I am reminded that the only US President's to have turned around an economy like the US in one term are FDR (Dem), Reagan (Rep) and Clinton (Dem). Both Reagan and Clinton had a Congress prepared to work with them, even though it meant hands across the aisle. Whereas Obama has been hampered for half his term by a GOP Congress refusing to do anything that might be truly bi-partisan – and a GOP party in the country that is deselecting any Congressman or Senator that dares to be bi-partisan. When we're talking about laissez faire foreign policy decisions potentially getting your ambassador killed, lets not forget that the British Ambassador was nearly hit in an assassination attempt as well. Although there must have been a D notice slapped on it since the only place I heard about it was US news channels.Finally, Romney, and more importantly Ryan, would turn the US back 50 years in terms of social policy. Why is this important outside the USA? Well because the US is a country the rest of the world looks to for a lead. Like the UK. If the US starts rolling back on issues like Roe v Wade, countries like Nigeria will see that as an excuse for rolling back on women's rights as well. And Nigeria doesn't have very far to go back. By the way, the same applies to Russia and the UK over the European Court of Human Rights, if we were to start ignoring its rulings.If I were a US Citizen, I'd be voting for Obama. And I am actively encouraging all my US friends to.

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