(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions on the candidates in the comment section.)
Up until the Libyan liberation and the announcement of the US pulling out of Iraq, the biggest political news was the Las Vegas debate on Tuesday night. This one got a little testy. Everyone piled on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan; and rightly so as his plan is nothing more than a variation on the flawed flat tax scheme. Cain has since revised his plan to take into account the differences in incomes for the lower class.
But the biggest piling on took place when Mitt Romney got a double dose of Rick. Both Santorum and Perry threw Reagan’s 11th commandment out the window and really let Romney have it. To Romney’s credit, the Mitts came off, so to speak, and he fought back to the point where it looked like he and Perry would come to blows.
The big political story of the week, however, was a result of the back to back foreign policy vindications for President Obama and the reactions (or lack of) from the Republican candidates. You can just imagine The President’s day planner:
- Thursday: Liberate Libya
- Friday: End occupation of Iraq
- Saturday: Squeeze in a game of golf just to annoy talk radio show hosts
- Sunday: Endure watching ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ with the girls*
- Next week: Cure cancer
Several pundits have noted that when the President doesn’t need to consult with Congress he actually gets a lot of things done. In addition to the criticism the President received over Libya yesterday, similar complaints were levied with the Iraq announcement. Republicans fell over themselves pointing out that the exit date was set by President Bush just before he left office. President Obama considered extending the occupation but when Iraq Prime Minister Maliki said he could not afford immunity from prosecution to US soldiers (under pressure from Muqtada al-Sadr) the President decided it was a fine time to honour his campaign promise and leave.
Romney, Perry and others have been critical of pulling out of Iraq citing that it will create a power vacuum for Iran to fill or it will lead to civil war between the three factions in Iraq. The counter argument is that the US can’t stay in Iraq indefinately and now is just as good of a time to turn things over to the Iraq government.
Will the negative reactions from the Republican candidates result in political blowback? Probably not. But considering that; outside of Jon Huntsman’s stint as the Ambassador to China for the Obama administration, not one of the candidates has any foreign policy experience, it will be interesting to see if it comes up in the next debate.