Missed Foreign Opportunities Won’t Be Soon Missed

Missed Foreign Opportunities Won’t Be Soon Missed


The criticism over Mitt Romney’s performance overseas recently won’t mean much by the time the general election kicks into full swing.

There has been a lot of attention paid to the Romney trip overseas, with most of it coming with mounting criticism.

When recycling some of the concerns that others had about British security efforts for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the former governor and current Republican presidential nominee was internationally ripped for this comments.When commenting on the state of Middle East affairs in an effort to show a strong stance with Israel, Mr. Romney was taken to task about his Jerusalem speech by both the Palestinians and Chinese alike. Even with subtle comments of praise – as was the case with Mr. Romney’s comments on the Israeli health care system – he drew questions as his remarks made some question if the compliment contradicted his own opposition to the United States’ Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate that is akin to the Israeli system.

And yet, it won’t matter in about 4 weeks.

For both those that rue the Romney performance overseas and those that hope that it casts a permanent pall on the Republican nominee, it should be remembered that this presidential election is going to come down to two things: a head-to-head match-up between a struggling incumbent and his political foe; and the nature of the national economy and how Mitt Romney can articulate his vision for improving it starting in 2013.

Because that is the case, this trip will not matter much at all in the fall.

Just as the much-ballyhooed trip to Germany in 2008 provided the Obama campaign a lot of great footage (and little else, aside from perhaps a fund-raising bump), the 2012 Romney trip will provide little more than footage and sound bites for both sides to use to their advantage.

Granted, the Romney campaign did not go overseas looking for opportunities to be bashed by Britons and Chinese alike. Mr. Romney would have benefited from having a more successful trip, but it was not mandatory for him to display any major foreign policy acumen.

As was the case in 2008, the American presidential race this year will focus on how Americans pull out of this ongoing economic lull – or if this has become the new reality of the 21st century. This race will come down to the debates after the convention, meaning that the newscycle-driven attention span of Americans will likely allow Mr. Romney the opportunity to escape to the GOP Convention without having to worry much about the aftermath of this trip.

Further, arguments about needing the foreign policy experience in order to fill the role of Commander-in-Chief are weakened as a result of past results. Experience was cast aside repeatedly in 2008 in both the Democratic presidential primary process as well as during the 2008 general election. Both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden both held more foreign policy experience in the early part of 2008, while John McCain held both Washington foreign policy experience and military service in the fall that year – all to no avail at the polls. Ironically, those that may choose to make the experience argument this cycle benefited from the nation’s willingness to overlook Senator Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience as well as his truncated Washington tenure.

If nothing else, this past recent pattern of voting behavior should encourage the Romney camp that, despite being called a twit and having an aide call out the press in a shocking fashion, the sting of a less-than-ideal overseas trip will not last past the latest news cycle – especially if the national mood continues to languish over a myriad of domestic issues.

LENNY MCALLISTER is a senior contributor to Politic 365 featured on outlets including CNN Newsroom, CNN’s “Early Start”, Current TV “The Young Turks”, and XM Radio. His new book, “Spoken Thoughts of an Amalgamated Advocate in Today’s America” is now available electronically on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com . Catch Lenny’s “The McAllister Minute” on The American Urban Radio Network this week and other latest via the new LennyMcAllister.com website.