I know you’re asking: What affects my future more foreign policy or Windows 8?
But tonight’s foreign policy debate is probably the most important because all those other issues, like taxes, and health care, deficits all have to go through Congress. The president does not control them even if his own party runs Congress, as Obama found out with his health care plan.
But foreign policy a president can control all by himself. As Commander in Chief, he can start a war whenever he thinks it’s necessary.
The last time Congress declared war was World War II. Presidents can ask for a resolution, but in at least 125 cases, they’ve committed troops without even doing that.
So this is the one debate where they can actually carry out any promises they make. Of course, it’s also the one debate where they rarely make specific promises because it can come back to haunt you, like when George W. Bush said in 2000, “If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world and nation building missions, then we’re going to have serious problem coming down the road and I’m going to prevent that.”
Things changed. Barack Obama fared a little better with his big foreign policy promise in 2008.
“Here’s what I said. If the United States has Al Qaida, Bin Laden, top level lieutenants in our sights and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take him out.”
He got the Bin Laden part, but Al Qaida not quite. But the bottom line is this debate is about who do you trust, when he gives an order, to be right the first time.