You can't dismiss fear out of hand, because bad things do happen. I think New York Mayor Bloomberg has it exactly right: he quantifies terror threats to more common disasters and tells people to get over it. It's real, but get real, according to "I'm not a candidate" Mike.
I also happen to think that Obama did make a genuine bad mistake in the uTube debate by saying he'd be willing to meet without precondition with a host of America adversaries. He fell into a trap, period. Does that disqualify him? No. But it is a demerit.
On Pakistan, Obama wasn't bold, and was foolish. We all expect, no matter what our political stripe, that the president will do anything to protect us (including torturing people). Who has ever been impeached for propping up a dictator -- or taking down an elected Commie? And as Biden has pointed out, the president has the explicit authority to do what Obama threatened. But floating the balloon has unhelpful consequences all its own.
We like to think we are high-minded but everyone wants to survive and America has extraordinary powers to do so. Kerry, as many Democrats before him, failed because he did not cut the figure of a tough guy. Hillary has an extra chore convincing voters she is, you will pardon the expression, a tough guy. She is doing it with posture and nuance and the limited ire she is drawing is proof she is succeeding at this. Obama is being too overt, perhaps because he has no record to draw upon. But it is a gamble he has to take.
But I don't think savvy alone will do it. I guarantee events will conspire to challenge the non-doomsayers. Even "Thank you for saving me from the draft" Bill might not have won in "wartime."
Anyone who hasn't placed an early bet on "I'm a tough guy when the going gets tough" might just look like a pussy on the home stretch