The issue of how foreign policy has been handled by the administration of President Barack Obama and the criticism of it from members of the Republican party have dominated headlines since Obama first took office in January 2009.
The most recent batch of criticism has come from Republican candidates for the presidency, who have used terms such as “weak” and “feckless” in describing Obama’s approach toward dealing with individuals like Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and countries like China.
The candidates have also spoken about how they would deal with both Putin and China, stating that they would be much tougher than Obama in seeking the best possible outcome when it comes to international issues involving these countries.
Those candidates have pointed out that during a 2012 Presidential debate versus that year’s Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Obama dismissed the threat of Russia doing damage in the world. Since that time, Russian incursions into the Ukraine and Syria have seemingly made Romney’s words prophetic.
That tough talk was ridiculed by Obama during a New York City fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City on November 2. The basis of the President’s argument was that the Republicans who spoke of how tough they would be were the same ones who were complaining about the perceived bias and unfair questions during an October 28 debate that was hosted by cable channel CNBC in Boulder, Colorado.
In response to the torrent of criticism against the moderators of that debate, a list of changes for future debates was compiled for networks seeking to host them. These items were promptly ridiculed for not only cutting out the efforts of the Republican National Committee, but also such demands that the room temperature be no higher than 67 degrees and that all on-screen graphics be pre-approved.
President Obama commented that these candidates would not engender any fear from Putin, China or any other country or leader if they were able to become so upset about questions from CNBC moderators.
All of the candidates were asked to sign a pledge to abide by these new rules, but some candidates stated that they would not sign it. That approach by those candidates was in part due to criticism from some areas of the Republican party about the perception of such demands.
In addition to his remarks on the upcoming presidential campaign, President Obama also ridiculed the Republican comments that his administration had been a failure. He joked that Republicans believe that prior to his 2009 inauguration, the United States was in a Golden Age before he destroyed it.
In truth, less than two months before he was elected in November 2008, the American economy began a severe downturn that resulted in a lengthy recession and saw the stock market lose approximately half of its value. Roughly seven years later, the unemployment rate is under five percent and the stock market has returned to its highest levels before the downturn.
President Obama, whose second term in office ends in January 2017, also took time to offer verbal jabs at Republicans who continue to deny the existence of the issue of climate change. He used a slang term for crazy to describe Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s attempt at disproving climate change by bringing a snowball into Congress.
Using an analogy of being diagnosed with diabetes to show the Republican’s level of denial on the topic, President Obama said that the fact that the vast majority of scientific experts believe climate change is a reality should prove its existence.