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Jayne Lyn Stahl Headshot

Monday's Debate: Ask Yourself, on What Planet?

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As you watch Monday night's presidential debate, ask yourself on what planet will people elect a commander-in-chief who has no experience serving in the military, or whose vice president has no experience serving in the military, and both of whom combined have no foreign policy experience either?

True, President Obama didn't serve in the military, but he served as commander-in-chief for the past four years, and his second in command, Joe Biden, has served as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for eight years before that.

Ask yourself, too, if foreign policy, and/or military experience was allowed to be an issue in the 2008 campaign, when Barack Obama ran against John McCain. Why is it not a campaign issue now? Wasn't his lack of foreign policy experience a large part of the reason why then Sen. Obama chose Sen. Biden as his running mate? Will someone explain to me why Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his? Surely, it's not for his foreign policy prowess, or military service. The only plausible reason is so Mr. Romney can make points with that far right evangelical vote -- the folks who can be counted on, once again, to take us to war against Islam.

It may seem like just a number in an ocean of numbers, but the fact that, if elected, the Romney/Ryan ticket wanting to increase the defense budget by $2 trillion should tell you that he smells a war coming on. And, lord knows, there are plenty of prospective battlefields from which to choose: Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, as well as the longest war in our nation's history in Afghanistan. Not to mention, a Republican in the White House will likely find some unfinished business in Iraq like his immediate Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.

Romney has already made it clear that he will not adhere to the 2014 Afghanistan exit strategy the Obama administration has put in place. But, what does Romney know about exit strategies? The only time he's had to initiate an exit strategy was when, as head of Bain Capital, he decided to pull out of a company after one of his leveraged buyouts. While the United States may be seen as fifty states incorporated into a country, we are not a corporation. Despite the Romney adage, "corporations are people, too," they are not countries. Not yet, anyway, and this is no time for a commander-in-chief whose strong suit is leveraged buyouts.

If you are someone who has served in the reserves, or if you know someone who has served in the reserves, or if you have a sister, brother, son, or daughter who has served in the reserves, tell them they'd better keep a suitcase packed and handy if Mitt Romney comes to town as they will surely be called to active duty before Mr. Romney completes his first year as president. If you have yet to serve, you'd better start packing that suitcase, too. After all, the gun lobby isn't the only lobby Mr. Romney wants to keep happy. He wants to keep the war lobby happy, too.

Bottom line: If you're in the service, and you vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, you're voting for another tour of duty. Guaranteed. And, not just another tour of duty, but one without a clear exit strategy.

Also, if you happen to be in law enforcement and you vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, you're voting to be laid off as these fellows will bail out the banks, and Wall Street, leave the state coffers empty and with no other choice than to force states to make further cuts in education, law enforcement, and fire fighting.

When Romney says he wants to cut federal spending, he doesn't just mean Social Security, and Medicaid, he means education, too, so unless you go to his country club as only about 1 percent of Americans do, rest assured, one way or another, you will feel the pinch of the Romney/Ryan budget. If elected, Romney has said he will lower federal income taxes on 20 percent of Americans, including those in the upper 2 percent. The president has already cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans. You don't have to be a math major to figure out which is the better plan. You also don't have to be a math major to ask where he plans to get another $2 trillion for war while cutting the deficit.

So, when you're done watching Monday night's debate, ask yourself on what planet is it acceptable for a man without a proven track record either as commander-in-chief or as an active service member to make decisions about cutbacks in public service jobs? A candidate who fervently professes to cut the federal deficit wants to add $2 trillion for war? On what planet does that math make sense?

On what planet is it okay for a man who was in Paris, of all places, doing "missionary" work during the war in Vietnam, to make decisions about whether you put your life on the line in service to this country? Ask yourself on what planet is it possible for a man whose five sons have no military service record to decide when to go to war, where, and whose son will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice?

On what planet is there still a Cold War in progress, and where was Mitt Romney when it ended? What can we expect Romney to say next? That he can see Russia from his backyard? Oh, and yes, Gov. Romney has as much foreign policy experience as that former governor from Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Speaking of Palin, had John McCain prevailed over Barack Obama, we would likely have troops on the ground in Tehran by now, and be well on the way to Pakistan, and Syria. Think about this. Sen. McCain now looks like a moderate Republican compared to Mitt Romney.

Who knows, maybe in fifty years or so, someone will discover a planet suitable for the policies, both foreign and domestic, the Romney/Ryan ticket, and the GOP, now espouse, but not this one, and not now.