Tonight, Mitt Romney proved why he should not be allowed anywhere near the levers of state power. President Obama accurately said his opponent’s shifting positions on global security issues are “all over the map,” but he might have added that Romney is not using a map of Earth:
The president landed some hard blows, but to me the hardest was “bayonets and horses” in response to Romney’s assertion that the United States needs more Navy ships. Given Romney’s incoherence, I was ready to hear him declare that America needs the best ironclad steamers in the world:
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… And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s — it’s what are our capabilities.
When asked directly about his plans for Navy expansion, Romney preferred to discuss budget items he would cut and devolving Medicaid to the states in order to pay for more boats. Romney has yet to say exactly what strategic interest he would serve with those additional keels. That’s because they aren’t actually a strategic interest, but a talking point.
Romney criticized the president’s Pakistan policy without actually articulating a substantively-different approach. Most curiously, he never attacked the president’s Afghanistan policy: the surge worked, Obama’s policy is working, Afghanistan will take over in 2014. Either Mitt Romney actually doesn’t know enough about Afghanistan to make a criticism, or he has accidentally helped President Obama avoid the “weakling apologizer” image that Romney would project on him.
President Obama has actually been a very competent Commander in Chief. After tonight it should be clear that no sane person can feel so safe about a Romney presidency; bellicose rhetoric and geopolitical flummery are no substitute for good diplomatic sense. If anything, the governor is actually more dangerous this way than George W. Bush.
The only thing Mitt knows about the world is that he is afraid of it. The United States spends as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, and has more and larger aircraft carriers than the rest of the world combined, yet he seems quite cocksure that we are not truly safe unless we spend another two trillion dollars. He claims the world will become more peaceful this way. See how that works?