Republicans attacking Democrats on Obama?s unpopular foreign policy: How can the president?s party defend itself from GOP political attacks?
it's what they do best. Deflect, deflect, deflect.
Sens. Mark Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, and Kay Hagan all serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. With national security in the headlines, that position could give them standing to speak with authority about terrorist threats and what they believe the United States should do to respond to them. But at the moment when the president’s response to the threat from ISIS is being criticized, and approval of his handling of foreign affairs is low (at only 34 percent), being a member from the same party with responsibility for national security issues may be a liability.
The president announced military action against the jihadist outfit several weeks ago, but the issue is taking off in the broader political discussion only now. Republicans have an overwhelming advantage over Democrats when people are asked which party they trust to handle national security issues. In the latest CBS poll, Republicans have a 20-point lead on this question and respondents have elevated national security issues to their second-most important concern.
President Obama told CBS’s 60 Minutes that he agreed with National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s recent assessment that “we underestimated the Islamic State.” Several officials in the intelligence agencies the president was including in that “we” do not happen to agree. I spoke to one former senior member of the intelligence community who says they had been watching and reporting on ISIS to the administration for a long time. Last June, on Face the Nation, former CIA acting director Mike Morell said that the intelligence agencies had been on the case and that the failure to confront the threat was not an “intelligence failure.” A senior intelligence official repeated a version of the same thing to the New York Times on Tuesday.
Democrats have two other options. They can pivot from talking about the past and highlight that their opponents don’t really disagree with the president’s strategy. It might be good on the merits, but it bogs them down in a conversation about national security where voters are more likely to trust Republicans. The other option is to talk about anything else—preferably a domestic policy issue. That latter option appears to be the approach most Democrats are likely to take.
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