GOP Mediocrity Is The Real Threat To American Advancement

While many have faulted the Republican leadership for being all too willing to allow the nation to wallow in a jobless economic recovery in the hopes that this will be the recipe that brings them the White House in 2012, such allegations suffer from the inability to subject the premise to an objective test.

Despite the abundance of circumstantial evidence to support the notion, there has simply been no way to prove what is actually in those GOP hearts.

Today, however, we have something far more concrete to go on in making the case for how the GOP is putting party well ahead of country while further exposing the intense mediocrity to be found in the Republican field of presidential contenders.

Despite considerable criticism from the Right, including Mitt Romney’s words of just a few short months ago when he said that Obama had set himself up for ‘massive strategic failure’ by demanding Gaddafi’s ouster (oops), the Administration’s ‘lead from behind’ strategy for ending to the reign of Moammar el-Gaddafi appears to have paid off in a very big way.

This is a wonderful thing for the many Libyans who have suffered for so long under the rule of this madman.

As Americans, we should be thrilled to see these people liberated as we should be proud that we played a vital role in making it happen. In so doing, we have accomplished one of the greatest objectives of American foreign and humanitarian policy- the fostering of democracy, liberty and freedom throughout the world while protecting those who faced mass execution at the hands of an evil force.

We also finished up some outstanding business high on the agenda of Ronald Reagan, the GOP saint who is, today, dancing with the angels in celebration of r the defeat of his sworn enemy.

Indeed, unlike those Republicans who are quick to take the Reagan name in vain at every opportunity, it’s a pretty safe bet that President Reagan would have some very kind words for Barack Obama if only he were around to say them.

For those of us who still remember and mourn the deaths of 190 Americans brought about by Gaddafi when he ordered Pan Am Flight 103 blown up in the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland, watching this evil creep’s regime crumble at the hands of his own people – with a vital assist provided by the NATO allies – is a true gift.

Ronald Reagan attempted to avenge these deaths with his air raids on Tripoli, including bombing Gaddafi’s home in the effort to take out the ruthless dictator. Unfortunately, while the raid killed one of Gaddafi’s young children, the dictator emerged unscathed.

He no longer remains unscathed thanks, in no small part, to President Barack Obama.

The only thing we now require to bring the story full circle is the capture and trial of Gaddafi himself- something I very much believe will occur.

All of this good stuff was accomplished without the loss of one American life. It was accomplished without a unilateral decision by the United States to foment regime change in a foreign land, as was the case in Iraq, while the rest of the world either objected or was forced to participate as the price of staying in the good graces of the USA. It was accomplished by coming to the aid of the brave locals who were willing to risk it all to bring freedom to their country, and only after these local freedom fighters invited (actually begged) us to get involved.

It was accomplished through a genuine partnership with our allies, particularly Great Britain and France, despite Rick Perry’s admonishment that the Obama Administration has been hell bent on damaging our relationships with our closest alliances. It was accomplished with the United States sharing the burden of war rather than adopting the ‘my way or the highway’ approach we have come to know in recent years.

And it was all accomplished for a price tag that is pretty much lunch money when compared to the full Pentagon budget – not to mention the wars we have fought for the last 10 years that have produced far more meager results.

Yet, the GOP leadership -and its entrants in the presidential sweepstakes- just can’t bring themselves to give their country, and its Commander in Chief, a pat on the back for an effort that represents the very best of American foreign policy.

Certainly, the opposition is vocally pleased to see Gaddafi gone.

But they can’t seem to enjoy the victory without Rick Santorum announcing that Obama had absolutely nothing to do with it while the remainder of the GOP field work hard to point out that the victory was achieved despite Obama’s many miscalculations and errors – miscalculations and mistakes that accomplished the goal without losing any American lives.

If that’s miscalculation and error, we should make big mistakes more often.

This nonsense may play to a right-wing base made up of people who blame Obama for everything ranging from their being no Santa Claus to their summer head colds, but to the remainder of the population- the ones who actually manage to think through what is happening around them – these foolish GOP statements and refusal to acknowledge reality must appear more like an errant Dick Cheney shotgun blast than the pronouncements of reasonable and competent people.

If you don’t believe me, check in with Jeb Bush who, it turns out, feels pretty much the same way.

What is truly amazing about the GOP positioning on the Libyan success is not only the proof it provides of the Republicans’ collective instinct to put their personal ambition before the success of their country, but the astounding and rather shocking mediocrity displayed by the Republican presidential field – particularly front-runner Mitt Romney.

At least Bachmann and Perry are established as being right-wing extremists. For this reason, I can actually accept that they are incapable of seeing how the President might have done something well. Thus, I would not tag them as mediocre so much as crazy and give them a pass on this one as they simply are not capable of doing better.

But I had thought that Romney is supposed to be the reasonable one. I had thought that his great wealth was, somehow, proof of his intelligence and ability to make his way successfully through the American Dream, something that identifies him as special.

Never mind that Romney was born on third base yet continues to believe he hit a triple. He is supposed to be the grown-up in the Republican field.

Yet, his behavior reveals he is nothing more than a mediocre politician without the innate talent and special intelligence it takes to be the leader of a great nation. If Romney possessed the talent and brains he seems to believe he has, he would have been able to calculate the benefits of being gracious and complimentary of the President without taking any political risk whatsoever.

The 2012 election is not going to be fought over whether or not Obama did a good or bad job in Libya just as it won’t be fought over the President’s success in snuffing out Osama bin-Laden. Indeed, the President’s foreign policy efforts, for better or worse, will likely have very little, if any, impact on the coming elections.

2012 will be all about the economy.

Therefore, each of the Republican candidates, and the existing Republican leadership, had the opportunity to show that they could celebrate an American victory -and the Commander In Chief who delivered it – without so much as risking one vote. They could have easily said that they applaud the President’s success in Libya while wishing that he had been as successful in managing our suffering economy here at home.

But that would have taken a bit of smarts, style and class – something the GOP lacks in spades.

Instead of clever, we got mediocrity. And there is nothing more antithetical to the American way of life than mediocrity.

There is nothing more despised than wishy-washy rhetoric that exposes a leader or candidate as being willing to say anything they think will buy a vote, only to turn around and say the exact opposite should they turn out to be wrong, hoping that nobody will remember their earlier position.

And yet, this describes Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner, to a tee.

As has been the case in so many previous examples, Romney’s behavior in this matter reveals that he simply lacks that ‘something’ that raises a candidate above mediocrity and into the realm of the “special” – an essential element for anyone who would be President of the United States.

This kind of mediocrity simply will not cut it in the United States of America.

Rick Ungar

Rick Ungar is an attorney in Southern California and a frequent writer, speaker and consultant on health care policy and politics. He is a contributing writer at Forbes. Readers can reach him at rickungar [at] gmail [dot] com.