Putting Romney On Defense

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 2 2012 @ 12:28pm


Noticing a rhetorical shift against military spending in the latest Obama ad (screenshot above), Will Saletan crunches the numbers and concludes that the American public is pretty fine with Pentagon cuts:

For six years, the percentage of Gallup respondents who think we spend too much on defense has outpaced the percentage who think we spend too little. Since 2008, the percentage who are very satisfied with the nation’s military strength has increased from 30 to 35, the percentage who are dissatisfied has shrunk from 30 to 23, and the percentage who say our national defense isn’t strong enough has plunged from 47 to 32—a two-decade low.

Again, Romney's position – that the world is more dangerous than during the Cold War and requires ever greater militarization – is simply out of tune with both reality and public sentiment. His personality should not be the deciding factor in this election. His delusional, wingnut, reality-free, mathematically challenged policy proposals should. A reader writes:

If there's a single dynamic in the upcoming election that's unappreciated, it's that the Democrats have for the first time in living memory taken control of the Commander-in-Chief aspect of governance.

And it's not just Obama's leadership as President, but also Panetta's role first at CIA and now at the Defense Department.  This has been a club that Republicans abused Democrats with for decades, but they no longer control the "strong defense" brand.  (The rhetoric, yes, but not the brand.) It's one reason why you see hyperfocused commentators like Chuck Todd hyperventilate that Obama should be behind given the state of the economy, as if terrorism and defense simply cannot factors into his level of support.  Despite all the chest-thumping rhetoric, the Republicans are running a moderate Massachusetts governor and Wall Street businessman with no defense or foreign policy experience, or even a familial association to lean on as GWB had.

Nothing like this has happened for 50 years, if not longer.