Could Ds and Rs Actually Agree on Something in 2012?

July 18, 2012 By John Glenn

Politicians, pundits, and journalists may not agree on much these days, but there was remarkable agreement on the need to ensure American leadership in a competitive and complex world at yesterday’s USGLC annual conference.  Even in an election year already recognized for partisanship and division, this year’s “Impact 2012 Symposium” brought together over 700 business, NGO, faith-based, and veteran leaders from across the county in support of the International Affairs Budget.

Ed Gillespie and Terry McCauliffe kicked off our discussions by, not surprisingly, predicting different outcomes of November’s presidential elections.  The former RNC and DNC party chairmen agreed that today’s occasionally strident partisanship has created obstacles to cooperation on some of the economic and political challenges facing the country, yet both agreed on the value of diplomacy and development in advancing America’s interests abroad and generating good will.

The broad consensus on the need for global leadership was reinforced by a panel of high-level journalists.  David Brooks of the New York Times suggested that foreign policy differences between Obama and Romney may be exaggerated, but highlighted their differences on how the U.S. should deal with Russia.  KT McFarland of Fox News painted a picture of a dangerous world where the United States must make choices about ties to countries like Pakistan and Egypt, while facing competition from China in Africa.  And both journalists agreed with Cokie Roberts of ABC News on the value and impact that America’s efforts to help the neediest have had around the world.

Former-Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) spoke on behalf of the Romney campaign, saying a Romney administration would use foreign assistance to strengthen our national security and promote economic growth abroad and at home.  He highlighted the Governor’s call to ensure the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance at a time of budget austerity and reinforced the value of the faith-based communities in working with the government on programs that embody America’s humanitarian values.   Senator John Kerry (D-MA), often spoken of as a potential Secretary of State in a second Obama Administration, discussed the value of diplomacy and development, calling for a strong International Affairs Budget and for government to work with the private sector on development.

Please visit the USGLC’s website in the coming days, as videos and transcripts of the Symposium’s sessions will be posted!