msnbc’s Rachel Maddow made the point Monday that Mitt Romney’s silence on the Afghanistan war— and the GOP otherwise seeming to echo Bush foreign policy— really hurts the American people.
The only serious discussion of Afghanistan at the Republican convention was John McCain saying we should stay at war there forever. We don’t actually know if Mitt Romney agrees with him on that— the way he agrees with him on threatening wars with Russia and Iran— we don’t know because Mitt Romney did not say anything at all in his acceptance speech about our current war in Afghanistan. The conservative Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol excoriated him for it.Mitt Romney on Thursday became the first Republican nominee to not talk about war in a convention speech in 60 years. And we are in a war. (He mentioned World War Two. And the Mexican Revolution.) But Mitt Romney accepted the nomination to be president of the United States of America without a single word for the more than 80,000 Americans who are serving in Afghanistan right now…The debate, the pressure on the president—on the life-and-death issue of the war and the more than 80,000 Americans facing it in-our-name-daily—will not come from his political opponent. Mitt Romney punts on this one... he’s pretending it doesn’t exist…This election will therefore fail us as a nation, as a means of having a robust debate about a war we are still waging... Elections are supposed to help us close the gap between what we want and what we get as a nation—because enterprising, competitive politicians are supposed to recognize-and-seize political opportunity when a policy is deeply, profoundly unpopular. Mitt Romney is not capable of that on this issue. So that means the pressure on this issue—the pressure on the policy-makers—if there is going to be any—will have to come from the people. From us. Because it seems like we care about this as a country, even if some of the people who say they want to lead us, do not.