After having been known as the party of “No”, President Obama’s foreign policy moves are now helping the GOP become the party of “I told you so”.
With President Obama’s announcement on Friday that American troops currently serving in Iraq will be home for the holidays, most high profile Republicans have been left with only one response, that leaving early endangers Iraq and bolsters insurgents.
So, the only way for many of those same GOP leaders to not look foolish twelve months from now, they have to hope to be able to say “I told you so”, amidst a messy situation in the Middle East. Essentially, failure is their only option.
With Obama finally making good on his campaign promise of ending the war in Iraq, and successfully employing the Obama doctrine in Libya, the only thing standing in his way of foreign policy domination in the 2012 election is the inherent instability of the region. If the region somehow stays at least stable enough for Americans to not want to return to the region, Obama will be in the position to accept the credit.
High profile Republicans are fully aware of their political predicament. That’s why so many of them were critical of President Obama setting a final timeline for the return of troops in Iraq. GOP leaders may indeed have actual arguments against the strategy, but they understand that politically, Obama is giving the vast majority of American voters exactly what they wanted three years ago.
In fact, the amount of war fatigue that Americans currently bear will give President Obama quite a bit of leeway in the region as it encounters problems in their new era of democracy. Unless American voters feel that they are personally less safe, they should tolerate a certain amount of democratic growing pains.
The final part of transforming the GOP in to the party of “I told you so”, will be their definition of actual success in the region, which will be held to an almost impossibly high standard. I imagine that the refrain we will begin to hear from all of the Republican Presidential candidates is a virtual highlight reel of any problems in the Middle East region.
The “I told you so” strategy is not one that the GOP wants, but frankly when it comes to foreign policy, it’s their only choice. They can’t attribute success in Iraq to George W. Bush, thereby robbing Obama of the credit. American voters aren’t in the mood to give credit to the President who created the unpopular war in the first place.
So without any way to take the credit for good things happening in Iraq, the GOP’s only choice will be to use negative results as a club to bludgeon Obama with in the campaign.
Frankly, with the limited campaign choices in foreign policy that the GOP has, I think it’s far likelier that they will stay focused on jobs and the American economy. Obama is still losing that war, badly.
If the GOP wants to have more to say than in the upcoming campaign than, “I told you so,” they will need to stay away from foreign policy and keep the conversation domestic. They may choose to ignore my advice.
That’s okay, though. I’ll be happy to remind them that I told them so.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.