Monday, February 25, 2008

One-Armed Political Fighting

The Foreign Policy Failure - Matt Yglesias

Yglesias makes a salient point here concerning the foreign policy positions of the two Democratic candidates. Sen. Obama has made it clear for some time now that he has put together a serious and dramatically different foreign policy than Sen. Clinton, who has attempted to avoid any deep probing of the issue. More than just the issue of meeting with our enemies are the issues of weapons technology and nuclear stockpiles. Yet the mainstream media has failed to grapple with the issue in any real way, most conspicuously in the arena of op-ed pieces. Yglesias points out that in the case of the Washington Post their op-ed staff lack someone who would tackle the foreign policy issue of the Democratic candidates in anything approaching even-handedness.
This lack of attention becomes a problem for the candidates, most particularly Sen. Obama, when their is little distinction between their domestic agendas. While Yglesias makes the point that the president has a greater freedom of movement in the foreign policy arena, I think the more important point is that the lack of foreign policy discussion has allowed not only Sen. Clinton to avoid any serious embarrassment during a debate, it has allowed Sen. McCain the opportunity to go unopposed when he turns his attention to foreign policy in his speeches. For a presumptive front-runner like Sen. Obama to have half of his entire policy agenda ignored is strange and potentially harmful when it comes to countering Sen. McCain's policy points. Outside of the regular blog readers, the majority of the public has little in the way to assess Sen. Obama on national security, an important issue for many still.

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