Council on Foreign Relations

The Marco Rubio Show (Fadeout)

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) listens to a question at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, 13 May 2015. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

One of the interesting things about the Trumpapalooza going on in the GOP nomination contest has to do with the cover lesser candidates are getting. Then again, this is the GOP nomination contest, so taking cover from seemingly inevitable flak has its drawbacks; rhetorical martyrdom is the way to score points with the conservative base, so perhaps Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was hoping for louder criticism:

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio sounded the alarm about the state of U.S. armed forces in a foreign-policy speech today. But his claims and campaign promises don’t account for the impact of improvements in U.S. military technology or in some cases their production schedule.

Rubio, a Florida senator, said the U.S. Navy is “now smaller than at any time since before World War I” and the Air Force “has the smallest and oldest combat force in its history.”

Yet the numbers of ships and planes don’t define U.S. military capabilities.

Mike Dorning and John Walcott of Bloomberg Politics consider the issue, and let us simply pause for a moment to appreciate the magnitude of Mr. Rubio’s utter stupidity.

When Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made the same argument — that the U.S. Navy is smaller than at any time since 1917 — during a 2012 campaign debate, President Barack Obama responded with a mocking rejoinder.

“We also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed,” Obama said. “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

Yes, really. Mr. Rubio hoped to get attention by recycling a damaging argumentative failure from Mitt Romney’s disastrous 2012 presidential campaign.

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What Republicans Call Personal Accountability

"US Republican Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham speaks during a US Senate Armed Services Committee on global challenges and US national security strategy on Capitol Hill in Washington." (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty)

Why is it that in the Party of Personal Accountability, it’s always someone else’s fault? Or, in this case, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is exploring a potential presidential bid, trying to explain his take on the politics of climate change:

You know, when it comes to climate change being real, people of my party are all over the board. There was several resolutions ....

.... I did the trifecta. I said that it’s real, that man has contributed to it in a substantial way. But the problem is Al Gore’s turned this thing into religion. You know, climate change is not a religious problem for me, it’s an economic, it is an environmental problem.

So I think the Republican Party has to do some soul-searching. Before we can be bipartisan, we’ve got to figure out where we are as a party. What is the environmental platform of the Republican Party? I don’t know, either.

So I’d like to come up with one. I’d like to have a debate within the party. Can you say that climate change is a scientifically sound phenomenon? But can you reject the idea you have to destroy the economy to solve the problem, is sort of where I’ll be taking this debate.

You know how it goes. Sure, Republicans threw in with the wrong people, and determinedly promoted false assertions of fact, engaged in character assassination, and generally threw a temper tantrum. But, you know, it’s all Al Gore’s fault.

Because, you know, no Republican is ever responsible for his or her own actions; suggesting that members of the Party of Personal Accountability should, in fact, be held accountable for their words and actions is unfair and prejudiced and why do you hate America so much?

No, really, just blame Al Gore. Had he said nothing, Republicans would not have been tempted to disagree, and thus never would have made such fools of themselves. Indeed, this is the heart of Republican “personal accountability”, to blame everyone else.

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Davidson, Amy. “A Conversation with Lindsey Graham”. Council on Foreign Relations. 23 March 2015.