Saturday, June 13, 2015

GOP Fixates on Foreign Policy While Hillary Clinton Goes Domestic

Other than slashing social programs, waging a war on women and gays, ignoring the nation's crumbling infrastructure, attacking Medicare and Social Security and overall working to herald in a new Gilded Age, the GOP has no domestic policy.  Thus, it is little surprise that so many of the occupants of the GOP presidential candidate clown care blather on and on about foreign policy and their desire to get America involved in more ground wars (after all, the defense industry gives lots of campaign donations).   In contrast, Hillary Clinton seems to realize that to win middle and working class voters, she needs to have a plan to bolster their fortunes rather than merely a plan to send their children off to die in distant foreign land - and further bankrupt the country in the process.  A Washington Post article looks at the distinctly differing approaches to date.  Here are excerpts:
While Republican presidential hopefuls warn of Iranian duplicity and Russian aggression and accuse President Obama of allowing the rise of Islamic State militants, the most experienced ­foreign-policy hand in the 2016 race says almost nothing about events beyond U.S. shores.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, who served four years as secretary of state and was known as a national security hawk in the Senate before that, is preparing for a campaign in which economic and kitchen-table issues are at the forefront.

The disconnect says much about the nature of the crowded Republican primary contest, in which conservative-leaning voters hold sway, and the different landscape that Clinton is navigating as she makes her second run for the Democratic nomination.

Republican primary voters tend to care about foreign policy at higher rates anyway, but this year overseas issues present opportunities for candidates to distinguish themselves from one another and paint Obama as weak.

Obama is as much or more of a foil for Republicans at this stage of the race, and the improving economy may leave less room to attack the president on domestic issues.

In her calculation, foreign policy will not be a central question during a primary contest against far-lesser-known Democratic rivals and will be far less important than in past elections when it comes to the general election.

There is not a word about foreign policy in a memo that Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook sent to key supporters this week. The memo is a primer for a speech Clinton will deliver Saturday to lay out a campaign agenda focused squarely on those in, or aspiring to, the American middle class.
Since entering the race April 12, Clinton has addressed social and economic issues such as same-sex marriage, the crush of college debt and paid family leave. She has called for overhauls of the nation’s immigration, criminal justice and voting systems.

Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, said he’s not positive Clinton will do an overseas swing ahead of the first primary contests early next year.  “I’m not sure she needs to,” Podesta said in an interview. “She doesn’t need to go to England to prove she knows the difference between the queen and the prime minister.”

The passport parade to Europe, Israel and other strategic places is sure to continue as Republicans vie for the 2016 nomination.   At candidate forums in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina and in television interviews, the GOP prospects focus on foreign crises such as the advance of the Islamic State terrorist group as threats to American security and leadership.

Clinton advisers are braced for constant attacks on Obama’s record as a way to get to Clinton but see the GOP candidates as hamstrung when it comes to alternative policies, particularly the issue of sending in ground troops to try to destroy the Islamic State. They believe Clinton’s experience in foreign policy will outweigh the Republican criticisms and are confident that many voters see her as prepared to take strong action herself as president.

They say they are content for Republicans to try to make the general election about foreign policy, arguing that she would be able to counter their criticisms with relative ease. They believe that those who care most about making the election about foreign policy are largely Republicans who vote in the primaries and caucuses.

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