Allentown Morning Call
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., harshly criticized the Obama administration’s foreign policy Monday, accusing it of, among other things, being too accommodating to Russia and of failing to encourage democratic protests in Iran.
Toomey’s remarks before the monthly Pennsylvania Press Club lunch came hours before President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney were to meet in a final debate to discuss foreign policy. Toomey assailed the White House’s approach to international affairs, saying it had abdicated America’s traditional approach to leadership.
While not based solely on American military strength, “whether it’s trade agreements or whether it’s voicing support for people who are seeking democratic reforms, it’s the kind of leadership over the last several decades that’s given us a world that had been moving increasingly in the direction of our own values,” the Pennsylvania Republican said.
The absence of such leadership would create a power vacuum, and into it would step countries “that have no interest in a world order in which there are ever increasing democracies,” such as China, Russia and Iran, Toomey said.
While Romney has no hands-on experience in international affairs, Toomey said he believes the former Massachusetts governor “better understands the importance of American leadership around the world.”
In wide-ranging remarks, Toomey, a vocal fiscal conservative and tax hawk, focused much of his appearance on the looming “fiscal cliff” and the tough decisions facing lawmakers, as of Dec. 31, on tax hikes and spending cuts. Toomey has been shopping his own proposal among colleagues, but has yet to publicly unveil it.
The way that issue is approached depends largely on the outcome of the Nov. 6 election. But the problem with the tax cuts mandated by sequestration is “the composition of it, the way these cuts are going to play out,” he said, warning particularly of reductions in military spending.
And the spending cuts, at $110 billion, are small when put against the $500 billion in tax increases that makes up the other half of the “fiscal cliff.” Those include “a nearly tripling on the tax on dividend income a huge increase in capital gains, marginal tax increases on everyone who pays taxes,” he said.
Toomey dismissed any suggestion that Romney has written off Pennsylvania as a key to electoral victory, arguing that the campaign is “watching us very closely,” and speculating that he wouldn’t be at all surprised to “see substantial resources spent in Pennsylvania” as Romney locks down other battleground states such as Florida.