George Will: Debate shows ‘remarkable reversal’ in public sentiment on US foreign policy

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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During ABC’s wrap-up coverage following Monday night’s presidential debate, Washington Post columnist George Will’s biggest takeaway was simple: This isn’t your grandfather’s U.S. foreign policy.

Will, noting the recent death of 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern, said both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama espoused policy positions that seemed to be in line with the losing McGovern presidential bid.

“The fact … that this debate occurred in the immediate aftermath of the death of George McGovern underscores a remarkable reversal in presidential politics for both parties,” Will said. “That is 40 years ago tonight, George McGovern was running on the slogan, ‘Come home America.’ He then lost 49 states. Forty years on, ‘Come home America’ is pretty much the foreign policy of an American plurality, and perhaps an American majority, as the president seemed to understand as he repeated three times, by my account, said we have to get back to nation-building here at home.”

Will said Romney “pulled back” during the debate from offering aggressive solutions to the situation in Syria.

“So, it does seem to me in this debate — where 35 minutes in, they were talking about Medicaid reforms in Arizona and Rhode Island and class sizes all over America, they understood, both of them, that foreign policy is fairly peripheral to Americans’ interest today, and what foreign policy they want means a lot less American involvement overseas.”

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Jeff Poor