Obama at the U.N., 2012, Sounds Like Obama at the U.N., 2011

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 25 2012 10:45 AM

Obama at the U.N., 2012, Sounds Like Obama at the U.N., 2011

152754628
US President Barack Obama delivers his address during the 67th United Nations General Assembly meeting September 25, 2012 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages)

Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages

The Romney campaign's early, fumbled response to the embassy attacks has left it ill-positioned to needle President Obama on foreign policy. It's excruciating. The conservative foreign policy elite, and the grassroots, see Obama as a weak sister to Jimmy Carter, who bears personal responsibility for the attacks. All throughout the Values Voter Summit, the last real pre-election cattle call, Republicans compared Obama to Carter. Yesterday, in Ohio, Paul Ryan made the comparison explicit -- the embassy attacks "remind you of 1979 and Tehran."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

I'd expect Obama's speech to the U.N. General Assembly to be pulled apart the same way. It was well crafted, with an opening and a close about America's murdered ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. But for the umpteenth time, Obama asked the world to view its challenges the way he's asked Americans to view theirs. "Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education," he said. "Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job." How banal can you get?

Advertisement

And how repetitive? In 2011, Obama used some of his time to address the civil war in Syria.

As we meet here today, men and women and children are being tortured, detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. Thousands have been killed, many during the holy time of Ramadan. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders. The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice -- protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. And the question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors?
In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people. If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings. And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence. 

In other words, stasis. How much do Republicans want to keep worrying the foreign policy issue? I know of at least one GOP group that's going to buy a few million dollars of ads on foreign policy, midway through October, to smack Obama. The theory is that the media's built him a glass jaw, and no one's ever taken a hard swing at it.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 12:10 PM Women of America, Here Are the Cities Where You Can Find Marriageable Men
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 12:04 PM The Audio Book Club Debates Gone Girl, the Novel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:41 AM Dropbox Recruiting Video Features Puppets and Data Privacy
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?