Some political analysts argue the 2012 election will be settled by Angry White Men, the non-college educated, economically vulnerable males who have been voting for the Republican Party in increasing numbers. Others contend that Soccer Moms hold the key to either enlarging or mitigating the all important gender gap.
But Senator James Inhofe knows the decisive slice of the electorate isn't Security Moms, Waitress Moms, Joe-Six Packs, or Left Handed Vegan Family Farmers, but Pashtun Dads…
"Clearly this trip is campaign-related," he said. "We've seen recently that President Obama has visited college campuses in an attempt to win back the support of that age group since he has lost it over the last three years. Similarly, this trip to Afghanistan is an attempt to shore up his national security credentials, because he has spent the past three years gutting our military."
Okay, Inhofe's point isn't quite as daft as I made it out to be. Indeed, Barack Obama's Afghanistan speech, delivered from Bagram Airfield last night, was the first time a sitting U.S. President had addressed the American people from inside a war zone, and with the trip coming on the one year of anniversary of bin Laden's killing, it was difficult not to notice campaign overtones.
But even though not quite as crass in politicizing national security as the Bush administration should be an easy threshold for Obama to clear, we shouldn't blame the president for taking his campaign to Bagram. After 9/11, we took a detour to Iraq. And after finding Osama in Pakistan, we're still roaming around Afghanistan. With this being emblematic of the state of American geography learning, do we really expect our leaders to find their way to swing states in the Midwest without getting lost in Central Asian and the Middle East?
Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, James Inhofe