It seems the latest gambit by the Republicans is to show the President as having lost the respect of world leaders in the face of the Crimean crisis. They point to figures that show the President's popularity abroad has waned since 2009, but fail to note that there is still a yawning gap between Obama and George W. Bush, who consistently ranked at the bottom of international approval ratings along with the former presidents of Iran and Pakistan.
With the mid-term elections coming up you can expect this kind of rhetoric, but one has to wonder what Mitt Romney's stake is in this, as he has been one of the most vocal in criticizing the President as of late, blaming Obama's "naivete" for not seeing Russia's move on Crimea. I guess the only thing Rombo knows how to do is run for President, after having spent so many years on the campaign trail. Obama had a terse response for Romney, when these accusations were thrown at him by an ABC reporter.
Of course, Vladimir Putin doesn't have to deal with such an adversarial press or national assembly, and his approval rating is sky high in Russia following the annexation of Crimea. Yet, on the world stage, Obama is still the most popular leader, with a median popularity twice that of Putin. I know that whatever doubts there were concerning Obama's leadership in Eastern Europe have been erased almost over night with his quick response to the Ukrainian crisis. Even Polish leaders, who were notably miffed when Obama scrapped the missile defense system, have praised him in recent weeks for his assertiveness in boosting NATO presence all along the Eastern European borders.
This leads one to ask if Republicans even read world headlines? It seems they live in some kind of echo chamber where they only hear what bounces back from their own mouths. Of course, the conservative blogosphere only amplifies this sound, refusing to fact check any of these assertions.
Meanwhile, the President continues being the President, meeting with world leaders in the Hague and stopping by to visit the Pope in the Vatican, which is probably what rankles Republicans the most, especially Mitt Romney who obviously feels he is better suited for these responsibilities. Even David Brooks had to admit Obama has handled the Crimean crisis quite well.