Global events are dominating the month of May, giving Mitt Romney a potential opening to make a cohesive foreign policy case — and attempt the difficult task of closing the stature gap with an incumbent president whose national security milestones have given him, in the minds of Republicans, a tenuous foreign policy strength.
So far, Romney has largely steered clear of using this moment as a pivot point, attempting to keep his message focused solely on the economy. He hasn’t given a foreign policy speech since the muscular one he delivered last October at the Citadel, before the GOP primaries lasted longer than he expected. He has blasted Obama as an apologist for the U.S., a critique that Democrats argue masks areas where, they say, the Republican and the president don’t differ much…
Some Republicans, including Weekly Standard writer William Kristol, argue there’s little benefit to Romney in dipping a toe into policy piecemeal, depending on the headlines. With Obama facing stark uncertainty in the wake of the anti-austerity votes in Greece and France, and with the Eurozone in crisis, Romney could do better, some suggest, by waiting for the situation to play out.
But this weekend, some policy hawks argue privately, could have provided key contrast areas in an arena where Republicans have typically dominated and which has been inverted this cycle. Among the arguments is that Romney could frame foreign policy in more specific economic terms, linking the turmoil in Europe to the U.S. situation. That argument would go beyond condemning Obama over having appeared in front of a backdrop of Greek columns at the Democrats’ 2008 convention.