ND Expert: GOP can’t play national security trump card

Author: Jane Morrow

Michael Desch Michael Desch

Though none of the four men running for the two highest offices in the country is a military veteran, Democrats already are seizing on what they say is a lack of national security experience on the Republican ticket — a strategy that could puncture the GOP team, according to a University of Notre Dame political scientist.

“The national security experience issue is likely to be a wash in this election, but this situation is likely to disadvantage the GOP ticket because until recently, the Republicans could play the national security card as trump,” says Michael Desch, a Notre Dame professor of political science who specializes in foreign and national defense policies.

“The Republican strategy of painting Democrats as soft on defense has a long pedigree in American politics, but the last Republican administration overplayed that hand in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Obama administration has won some important tricks in the national security game, especially taking Osama bin Ladin,” Desch adds.

“Moreover, this Democratic president hardly seems skittish about using force. President Obama has waged the drone war with al-Qaida with much more vigor than his Republican predecessor, he doubled down the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan at a time when many thought it was a bad bet, he stiffened NATO’s spine to provide air support for the successful anti-Gadhafi uprising in Libya, and most importantly, he accomplished what President Bush failed to do with the daring Navy SEAL strike against Osama bin Ladin in Pakistan.”

Contact: For additional comment, Dr. Desch can be reached at 574-631-2792 or mdesch@nd.edu