The Right's Foreign Policy Dead Ends
Larison finds most attack lines blocked, as Niall Ferguson's atypically weak Newsweek cover revealed:
The standard attack line against Obama used to be that he undermined allies, but most of the GOP’s foreign policy elites have been actively urging him to do just that in Egypt for weeks. Another standard attack was that he had largely given up on democracy promotion, but Obama has been moving in the direction of the democratists for the last month. The GOP’s positions on these questions have been lacking in substance or simply wrong, and now Obama has acted in such a way that they can’t credibly take advantage of it.
On the one occasion when conservative hawks might credibly charge that Obama has undermined an ally they find that they cannot use that argument, because just last month many of them were complaining that Obama was too indifferent to the cause of the Egyptian opposition. The problem that the Republican candidates have is that they can only gain traction with grassroots activists if they tap into general anti-jihadism and vague hawkishness, so when they attack Obama they must do so for his “appeasement” of Islamists, but Republican foreign policy elites strongly favor democracy promotion. The candidates can only demagogue these issues so much, since their foreign policy elites are implicated in whatever happens in Egypt.
This is because we are dealing with a complex, changing, difficult, multi-variable series of events. The GOP's foreign policy muscles are so degraded from disuse they cannot handle it. Unless, like Glenn Beck, you think it's all about Code Pink's secret alliance with al Qaeda.