If we needed evidence of the impoverishment of American politics, the so-called debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney gave us all we could ask for.
We normally expect a debate to highlight some disagreement, but in American politics disagreement is reserved for minor matters. The two parties — actually the two divisions of the uniparty that represents the permanent regime — agree on all fundamentals. If you need proof, observe how the establishment media treated Ron Paul, who challenged the permanent regime’s basic premises on foreign policy, civil liberties, and monetary control. He dug too deep.
It’s been noted, mostly by humorists, that Romney continuously expressed his agreement with Obama across a range of issues: drone warfare, Iran, Afghanistan, even Iraq. He tried to manufacture differences by suggesting that he would have done more sooner. But this all sounded flaccid; Romney seemed desperate to draw some contrast with a foreign policy that he embraces.
What does Romney really believe? Who can say? What we do know is that he’s taking his foreign-policy advice from a team of neoconservatives, formerly of the George W. Bush administration, who helped dig the hole the country is in.
Obama, for his part, defended his record, which someone other than Romney could have torn to shreds. Obama brags about ending the occupation of Iraq, yet he forgets that Bush had already signed an agreement, insisted on by the Iran-friendly Iraqi government, to get out by the end of 2011. What Obama won’t tell you is that he begged Prime Minister Maliki to ask U.S. troops to remain. Thankfully, Maliki said no.
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Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation and editor of The Freeman magazine.