U.S. Senator

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.

(more…)

The Barbaras

Via the one and only Meredith Shiner:

Such reflections come on the heels of news that Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) will retire at age seventy-eight, after a thirty-year run in the upper chamber:

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski announced Monday she will not seek another term in the Senate.

Speaking at a press conference, the Maryland Democrat said she asked herself: “Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?”

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA; left) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), in undated, uncredited photo via Instagram.Mikulski, 78, is the longest serving woman in Congress. She has been in the Senate since 1987, after serving 10 years in the House.

Her retirement will likely launch a feeding frenzy among candidates eager to run for a rare open Senate seat in Maryland. Both party campaign committees quickly released statements arguing the seat’s competitiveness in a state Democrats have dominated statewide in federal races ....

.... Mikulski is the second senator to announce she is retiring next year, following California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

(Levinson and Lesniewski)

2016 will be an interesting cycle, to say the least.

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Image note: Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA; left) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), in undated, uncredited photo via Instagram.

Shiner, Meredith. “omg this pic”. Twitter. 2 March 2015.

Levinson, Alexis and Niels Lesniewski. “Mikulski Will Not Seek Another Term (Updated)”. At the Races. 2 March 2015.