Romney's Counterproductive European Tour

Next week, the Washington Post reports, Mitt Romney is taking a break from the campaign at home to meet with leaders abroad:

Mitt Romney plans to depart next week for a visit to Britain, Israel and Poland, and the Republican presidential candidate hopes the trip will help him project the aura of a statesman and signal to voters back home that he would make a plausible commander in chief.

He will listen to leaders of important U.S. allies, make symbolic appearances at historical sites and build personal relationships. He plans to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing St. and catch up with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an old friend from their days as business consultants, while aides are preparing speeches for him to give in Israel and Poland.

I continue to doubt the utility of this trip. Few Americans are dissatisfied with Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and few want—or need—Romney to articulate an alternative. Romney should take advantage of this fact, not the least because his actual foreign policy positions are either nonsensical—“Russia is our number one geopolitical foe”—or dangerously belligerent. The more Romney mentions foreign policy, the more he risks an attack from the Obama campaign, which can easily tout the administration’s foreign policy accomplishments.

It’s certainly a good thing for Romney to become acquainted with foreign leaders, but there will be time for that if he wins the election. The smart bet for Romney, rather than going abroad, is to continue to hit Obama on the economy, where he remains incredibly vulnerable.