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Appeared in: Volume 10, Number 1
Published on: August 22, 2014
If the GOP Takes the Senate...
Expect Minor Tremors in Foreign Policy

Executive-Legislative Branch dynamics over foreign policy are less affected by partisanship than is the case in domestic policy.

Michael Barone is senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.
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  • Kevin

    A reasonable analysis.

    I wonder if Obama might consider serious personnel changes in his foreign policy team after the election. Kerry and Hagel have not exactly covered themselves in glory, and nobody buys a renegade like Hagel as bringing a bipartisan buyin to his foreign policy. If the campaign against ISIS continues to go poorly, Obama (and H Clinton) might want some establishment Republican fingerprints on the Middle East policy if for no other reason than to neutralize the effect it might have on the 2016 campaign. This would of course invite the Senate to have a further say on appointments, but so long as he brought in well respected nominees he would not have serious trouble getting them confirmed (even if the hearings might produce a few awkward questions about what the hell is going on with our foreign policy).

    In comparing such a hypothetical post election reshuffle to Bush’s post election moves after 2006, one factor stands out: Bush actually came up with a new plan (the surge) for the new team to carry out. While far from universally popular, this plan was supported by key Senators, especially McCain, as well as many disgruntled members of the military and bureaucracy who had lost confidence in Rumsfield. (Many others of course advocated variations on immediate surrender in Iraq.)

    Will Obama come up with a new plan and a well respected team to implement it?

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