Frank Gaffney
Tuesday's rematch of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is likely to be their first of two in which the incumbent's record as Commander-in-Chief is going to be a matter of direct debate. If last week's set-to between their running mates is any guide, there will be opportunities and perils for the challenger. It behooves Gov. Romney to maximize the former and minimize the latter if he wants decisively to defeat the President in these mass-audience settings, and in November.

Here's how he can do that:

One obvious way is to pick up on the success his partner, Rep. Paul Ryan, had in exploring the run-up to, the events of and the Obama administration's serial lies after the murderous attack last month on our consulate in Benghazi. Mr. Romney can rebut the contention that he is "politicizing" this incident by showing that it is a teachable moment about the whirlwind we are going to reap from the seeds sown in the Mideast and elsewhere by President Obama.

But it will not be enough to castigate the administration for failing to protect our diplomatic personnel and facilities in a very dangerous part of the world. The point is that, as a practical matter, attacks on such targets must be deterred, not simply defended against. And Mr. Obama not only is not deterring our enemies, he is legitimating, enriching and emboldening them.

A case in point is the Muslim Brotherhood - the font of modern jihadism and the wellspring of groups like al Qaeda, the Taliban, Gema'at Islamiyya and others who engage in violence or "terrorism" as a companion to the stealthy, pre-violent "civilization jihad" in which the Brotherhood specializes. Where the Brothers are in charge, terrorists are finding safe-havens and organizing for their holy war against non-Islamist Muslims and the West. The attacks in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere are but symptoms of the rising confidence of our Islamist foes that America will submit to, not resist, their gathering power.

By taking on President Obama squarely over his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Gov. Romney can make clear that he is not simply quibbling about how many U.S. troops are left in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and for how long, or a case of Monday morning quarterbacking about the Libya debacle. Rather, they have a profound policy difference rooted in Mr. Romney's recognition that the threat we face emanates not just from al Qaeda, but from all those who, whatever their tactical or sectarian disagreements, fundamentally share that group's commitment to the triumph of the totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine of shariah. The Republican candidate must communicate a determination to defeat, not accommodate, them.

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
 
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