The Buzz

It's the Foreign Policy, Stupid

Eugene Robinson doesn’t swing and miss often, but a recent column for the Post titled “Could overseas events drive the 2012 election?” is an uncharacteristic whiff.

Robinson's question is valid, but it would be nice if he actually explored the thesis he presents. “It may not be the economy, stupid,” he begins. Yet the allusion to James Carville is a pinned-on donkey tail of a lede: it sets the wrong tone and belongs to an entirely separate piece. What follows is not a comparison of the economy and foreign policy as campaign issues. Instead, Robinson spends ten paragraphs describing various sources of potential conflict around the world.

In addition to being largely predictable, his cursory glances at foreign policy issues don’t seem to add up to anything. How does naming conflicts show us that they are important to voters? Is acknowledging strife in Syria really news? Everyone already knows the basic facts that Robinson presents here, and in the end this column reads more like a cheat sheet for current events than a strong argument for anything. Robinson fails to bring voters into his discussion—at least not adequately enough to address his original question.

A mixed bag at best.