John Kerry highlights Romney’s foreign policy predicament:
Romney should take on the man in the White House instead of inventing straw men on op-ed pages. He should depend on facts instead of empty rhetoric.
If Romney did that, he wouldn’t be able to make many criticisms of Obama’s foreign policy. This is one of the things that has plagued Romney’s campaign all along. He feels the need to challenge the incumbent on foreign policy and national security to establish his own credibility on these issues, but he also needs to satisfy hawkish factions inside his party, so he has to paint the incumbent’s policies in terms that Republican hawks accept. A major problem with this is that the incumbent’s policies are often indistinguishable from the policies that many in Romney’s party favor. Romney must not only exaggerate differences between himself and Obama, as all eventual nominees must do when actual policy disagreements are small, but he sometimes has to invent differences where none exists and conjure up an imaginary Obama foreign policy out of thin air so that he has an easier target to hit. It doesn’t help Romney’s cause that Obama isn’t all that politically vulnerable on these issues, and it definitely doesn’t help that Romney has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he doesn’t understand these issues very well. Romney has now trapped himself by opposing himself to this imaginary Obama of “apology tours,” rejection of American exceptionalism, and appeasement, and he has tied himself to this thoroughly false portrayal of Obama for so long that it would be difficult for him to stop and to start grounding his attacks in facts.