Media gets Carly Fiorina wrong on national security and the economy

Over the past 72 hours, the online left has collectively ripped into Carly Fiorina  for an ad that shines a spotlight on Barbara Boxer’s assertion that “One of the very important national security issues we face, frankly, is climate change.” Naturally, the media has been carrying Boxer’s water in wildly distorting Fiorina’s point.

Ultimately, this election is going to be fought over questions about who can address the problem faced by our national economy (hint: taxes and debt bad) and who can address the real problems faced by Americans. That’s why it is important to get Fiorina’s point right on both national security and the economy.

Fiorina’s first point is that our country and California face very significant proximate challenges, like the economy, what does Barbara Boxer focus on? Climate change. But she has got nothing to say about the economy, other than more taxes and money for the public sector unions that are bankrupting her state. Right now, California’s unemployment rate stands in excess of 12 percent and has shown no signs of falling.  According to the US Department of Labor, 11 of the 14 metropolitan areas currently suffering from unemployment rates of at least 15% are located in California. 

Fiorina’s second point is that on actual national security issues, she is an embarassment. Her record:

Even if you grant that there are national security implications to climate change, and that’s not a point I really dispute, even Matt Yglesias called climate-change-as-security-threat a form of “threat inflation” that leads to “bad foreign policy decisions.” See above, for examples of “bad foreign policy decisions.”

Fast forward to Obama’s next failure in Copenhagen

Obviously, Barack Obama had a bad day in Copenhagen today with the failure of Chicago’s bid for the Olympics. Of course, many Chicagoans were mixed. (I was negative for a variety of reasons including the inability of the South Side, where I lived for 8 years, to handle the infrastructural requirements)

But it is worth pointing out that this story will not go away. In two months, Obama will be heading back to Copenhagen for another failure, the UN Climate Conference. He will be going to Copenhagen empty handed, with no climate change bill to show. Indeed, the top story right now at the official site notes that “the honeymoon appears to be over” and compares Obama to former President George W. Bush. Indeed The Economist echoes this language, in a story dated yesterday entitled “The honeymoon between Europe and Barack Obama’s America is over.”

European Union politicians and officials are dismayed that, with a poisonous debate over health reform chewing up his political capital in Congress, Mr Obama may not secure legislation fixing binding emissions targets for America before the climate-change summit in Copenhagen in December. They also think the health-care impasse explains the lack of progress on the Doha world-trade talks. Nor did Europeans enjoy the G20 meeting that Mr Obama hosted in Pittsburgh. Despite hogging a ludicrous number of seats at the table, the EU came away with only one big Europe-specific agreement: alas, for them, it was a plan to cut their voting power at the IMF.

Today, we saw that Obama’s international celebrity is not matched by his international clout. And this message is going to get nailed home with issue after issue, whether it is Afghanistan, the next Copenhagen meeting, or whatever else happens.

It must be tough having to live with a persona and a rhetoric that has nothing to do with reality.