Trump And Rubio Don't Know Much About Much... But The Base Of The Know-Nothing Party Could Care Less
"I will be so good at the military, your head will spin" is not the articulation of a foreign policy-- or even a defense policy... unless you're a brain-dead chump and Foxified addict of Hate Talk Radio who got suckered into supporting a wealthy-- and crooked-- TV reality star. And according to the polls of Republican primary voters, that's a big proportion of the GOP's current base.
I opened Twitter Friday morning to find Trump carrying on about right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt-- third-rate and stupid, ambushing him with gotcha questions, all the stuff the Trump bully uses regularly in his predictable tirades against anyone who opposes or even challenges him. Hewitt, I might add, is one of the hosts of the CNN debate coming up in Simi Valley. You can watch the exchange that set Trump off above.
That Trump misheard "Kurds forces" when Hewitt said "al-Quds Force" is nothing. That Trump clearly has no real knowledge of the intricacies of the labyrinthine feuds in the Middle East is something that he can, as he said, hire "the best people" to sort out; it isn't an unreasonable assertion. Instead, the defensiveness and bullying that comes out of this episode is more noteworthy than the little trap Hewitt was trying to set for Trump. The guy will be 71 if he ever gets to the White House, and it's not unreasonable that he doesn't know which one is Khaled Mashall, which one is Hassan Nasrallah and which one is Qasem Soleimani. I doubt that many American politicians do.
And Trumpy was still at it on Saturday morning
Rubio, however, another lunkhead when it comes to foreign policy, but one who insists he knows something about it, tried-- like Scott Walker-- to capitalize on Trump's embarrassing moment with Hewitt, playing the part of concern troll. He told CNN:
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then you are not going to be able to serve as commander and chief. This should be part of the reason why you are running because you understand the threats that the world is facing, you have deep understanding and you understand what to do about it. And if someone doesn’t, I think it is very concerning... It is important to have a detailed understanding of the threats we face as a country. You are commander in chief on day number one and you may have to make national security decisions right away. And it takes time and dedication and a natural curiosity and interest in these issues.Steve Benen wrote that Rubio has a point but that "the trouble is with the messenger."
Rubio, a member of both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, is basing much of his campaign on his alleged expertise on international affairs. The far-right Floridian would love nothing more than to be seen as the candidate who has a "deep understanding" or "the threats that the world is facing."
But Rubio has run into Trump-like problems of his own. Just last week, in a big speech on foreign policy, the GOP senator told an embarrassing whopper about military preparedness, touching on an issue Rubio should have understood far better.
In June, Rubio was asked about his approach towards Iraq. Told that his policy sounds like nation-building, the senator responded, "Well, it’s not nation-building. We are assisting them in building their nation."
Just this year, Rubio has flubbed the details of Iran’s Green Revolution. His criticisms on the Obama administration’s approach towards Israel were quickly discredited as nonsense. His statements of nuclear diplomacy were practically gibberish.
In the spring, Rubio had a memorable confrontation with Secretary of State John Kerry, which was a debacle-- the senator stumbled badly on several key details, and Kerry made him look pretty foolish.
Soon after, Rhonda Swan, a Florida-based journalist, wrote that the Republican senator "should be embarrassed." Swan added, "By his own standard that the next president have a 'clear view of what’s happening in the world' and a 'practical plan for how to engage America in global affairs,' Rubio fails the test."
What’s more, as readers may recall, when Rubio has tried to articulate a substantive vision, he’s relied a little too heavily on shallow, bumper-sticker-style sloganeering, rather than actual policy measures. Rubio declared "our strategy" on national security should mirror Liam Neeson’s catchphrase in the film Taken: "We will look for you, we will find you and we will kill you."
Soon after, the candidate’s team unveiled the "Rubio Doctrine," described by Charles Pierce as "three banalities strung together in such a way as to sound profound and to say nothing."
Rubio covered up his bald spot but he should just embrace the inevitable