Values of the FP Debate

The US Foreign Policy debate made headlines, but didn’t seem to stay in the news, or on people’s minds, for very long. It was the usual “I hate China more, I love Israel more” banter between the two presidential candidates, representing the two political parties. But did the debate help or hurt either candidate? It can be debated how much the public really understands, or, beyond the homeland security aspect of it, even cares about foreign policy. Even after the Kony 2012 video took off, how many people can easily point to Uganda on a map? How many people really understand why we “hate China,” and “love Israel”?

According to people in the media like Michael Shear of the NY Times, (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/foreign-policy-debate-puts-focus-on-leadership/), the foreign policy debate was more about leadership than the candidates’ positions. It is understandably so given that foreign policy is such a tricky subject, tied down by a lot of history and consistency, and is shown by the overlapping of many of the two candidates’ positions (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/presidential-debate-2012_n_2004043.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012). A candidate’s foreign policy does show leadership in that they need leadership to be head of the most powerful country in the world, and to keep it that way. But I think there is merit in specific positions as well, not just a strong hand, that I can’t help but wish more people understood.

With such an “agreeable” subject, it’s difficult to say, unbiasedly, who won based on the issues. There seems to be bumps in the polls toward Romney’s favor late in the game that are causing speculation about his momentum (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/10/25/is-mitt-romneys-momentum-real-or-fake/). And with just a little over a week left, the momentum is definitely dangerous for Obama. Regardless, it’ll be an interesting last week.

What do you think should be the main values voters look for in a candidate? Leadership? Likability? A hot running-mate?

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