The note at the outset: This is Louie Gohmert we’re talking about.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Tuesday said that former President George W. Bush (R) may have gone about the Iraq invasion differently if he had known he would be succeeded in the White House by President Obama.
“Everybody else wants to ask that question about, ‘Gee, would you have gone into Iraq, you know, knowing what you know now?’ And I think if President Bush had known that he would have a total incompetent follow him — that would not even be able to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, that would start helping our enemies and just totally put the Middle East in chaos — then he would have to think twice about doing anything if he had known he would have such a total incompetent leader take over after him. That should be the question,” Gohmert said in an interview with radio host John Fredericks, according to an audio clip highlighted by Right Wing Watch.
Those who remember the old Doonesbury joke about “future presidents” can try out their best fourth-frame smile; this is what it comes to. Nonetheless, we should recognize that the distinguished gentleman from Texas’ First Congressional District, Mr. Gohmert, is at the very least a team player.
The general theme is the unreliability of President Obama, and generally speaking the way to go about it is as Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ) have, suggesting they might trust the Iranians they denounce more than the President of the United States.
Meanwhile, Republicans are stumbling all over themselves when it comes to the reliability of former President George W. Bush. Or, as Caitlin MacNeal notes for Talking Points Memo:
Jeb Bush struggled last week when asked whether he would have authorized the Iraq invasion given what he knows know. Initially, Bush said he would have gone into Iraq, but he quickly backtracked and said he misheard the question. He eventually said that he “would not have gone into Iraq.”
Bush’s stumble prompted numerous presidential hopefuls to weigh in on the Iraq War. Many said they would not have authorized the invasion, while others, like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) used the opportunity to blame the current situation in Iraq on Obama.
And for the blame game, Rep. Gohmert, bless his heart, is trying to be creative. His basic line is that President Bush would have reconsidered whether to lie in order to start a war had he imagined future presidents would be so awful as Obama. The attempt to shift blame is hardly an interesting projection, but, rather, generally expected.
The Iraq question certainly poses challenges for the GOP field; MacNeal’s article was out of date when it published―not going into Iraq was not Jeb Bush’s final answer and perhaps the Republican scion will, in his desperate scrabbling for a fifth or sixth―how about we just go with “another”?―swing at what should be a fat, hanging slider right in the wheelhouse, take his fellow conservative’s advice and blame his brother’s poor judgment and ethics on Barack Obama.
The problem with Gohmert’s tinfoil, of course, is that it is riddled with holes. “I don’t trust this administration, I don’t want to give them any additional authority that Bush didn’t have”, the Texas Republican explained. Yet as we might recall the problem most Republicans had with the AUMF for Daa’ish was that it did not ask for enough warmaking powers. Mr. Gohmert does not want to give the administration additional authority by taking some of its standing authority away.
This is a problem inherent to made-for-television politics; nobody’s paying attention to last season, or even last week’s episode. If one starts, as Mr. Gohmert seems to, with a talking point, and then try to fill it in with assorted selections from history, well, okay, that would be more effort that the congressman is putting into it, as he’s not even paying attention to history. Still, though, such are the dangers of relying on manufactured history. Even when one takes the time to manufacture it, the product still seems awry. And given Mr. Gohmert’s apparent lack of intellectual graces, flaws in design and execution are only magnified.
But he got to call President Obama incompetent, and pretend he sounded smart while doing so. For Louie Gohmert, that’s a good day.
MacNeal, Caitlin. “GOP Rep.: If Bush Knew Obama Would Be Prez, He Would Have Re-Thought Iraq War”. Talking Points Memo Livewire. 20 May 2015.
Benen, Steve. “GOP senator might trust Ayatollah over Obama”. msnbc. 19 May 2015.