By Tom Ford, Daily Free Press contributor
The third presidential debate, which took place at Lynn University in Florida, was a discussion that, while slated to center around the candidates’ foreign policy platforms, frequently reverted back to a discussion of life at home. Both candidates made it clear that while there are significant threats to our national security from groups like Al-Qaeda, a strong economy will give us a visage of strength and will renew confidence in our capability to lead. Governor Romney continually hammered on the economic “failings” of the past four years, and President Obama emphasized the questionable math in Romney’s tax plans.
As for actual foreign policy issues, the two candidates seemed equally fervent in their views, although Obama often emerged as the more knowledgeable candidate. When the Governor made mention of the decreased number of naval ships, Obama responded with arguably the best line of the night: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets.”
In addition to causing an immediate Internet sensation, this comment also serves as a critique of Romney’s foreign policy as a whole. The main criticism from many pundits has been that Romney’s “Tough America” views on such issues as the Syrian civil war and Iran is antiquated; diplomacy is a much more 21st Century solution to our problems. Romney’s stances toward Ahmadinejad tend toward Cold War paranoia at times.
I don’t really like taking sides in political discussions, as it usually leads to me being berated by one side or the other. That being said, I have to say that this third debate, arguably the most important of this cycle, was undeniably an Obama victory. The President had a focus and precision that we’ve arguably yet to see in this election. He made sure to answer the moderator’s questions, and keep the discussion on topic. In addition, he was very clear about what he has done in the past four years, a stark contrast to the Republican emphasis on what he hasn’t done. While Obama’s foreign policy platform has been reduced to “We Killed Osama bin Laden” for the majority of the race, tonight showed us that he has other accomplishments to hang his hat on. The removal of troops from Iraq, the strengthening of our ties to Israel and the implementation of sanctions on Iran are all decisive steps toward ensuring our position as leaders of the free world.
On a lighter note, I’m glad to see that both of the candidates read my blog about the last debate; they were civil, waited their turns to speak and conducted themselves in a manner that is appropriate for the potential next President of the United States. Guys, remember, I’d be more than happy to help out in the future; just give me a call. Barack, I know you already have my number.