The election isn’t until November of 2016, over 20 months away, but the rhetoric has already started, and it doesn’t bode well for the future.
For starters, some Republicans haven’t figured out that they are no longer running against Barack Obama.
Take the words of Ted Cruz (on Fox News of course), who called Obama “an apologist for radical Islamic terrorists“. Ted Cruz has a better answer: “The solution is the full force of U.S. military power to destroy the leaders of ISIS.” Didn’t he learn anything from Iraq and Afghanistan?
As if the current crop of presidential hopefuls wasn’t nutso enough, we also got an earful from a former presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani, who said “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
I don’t often play the racism card, but to me this is racism of the worst kind. Giuliani is explicitly saying that Obama is not like you and me. What’s next? Saying that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the same organs as you and me?
Then Giuliani did something that floored me – he was an apologist for the Crusades. “I’m not sure how wrong the Crusades are. The Crusades were kind of an equal battle between two groups of barbarians. The Muslims and the crusading barbarians.” Except that during the time of the crusades the Muslims were not barbarians, they were in the middle of their Golden Age, with great achievements in science, mathematics, education, philosophy, astronomy, architecture, and the arts.
And then there is Jeb Bush. Jeb has the unenviable task of distinguishing himself from his brother and his father, without being negative about them or what they did. He says “I am my own man”, but is he really? Bush has put together a group of around two dozen people to advise him on foreign policy issues, and they are a rogue’s gallery from his family members’ administrations including secretaries of homeland security and state, CIA directors, and national security advisers. Yes, he is actually taking advice from Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley, and George Tenet, who lied us into the Iraq war, and from the person responsible for disastrously mismanaging the occupation of Iraq.
In truth, Jeb Bush actually likes what Dubya did in Iraq. In 2003, he said he concured with what his brother was doing. Ten years later, he said that “history will be kind to my brother [on Iraq] the further out you get from this and the more people compare his tenure to what’s going on now.” He also claimed recently that increased military spending and power encourages peace. He definitely didn’t learn anything from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Expect more of the same.
UPDATE: Most Republicans are (wisely) distancing themselves from Giuliani’s racist comments. For example, Marco Rubio said he has “no doubt” that Obama loves America, and Rand Paul said that while he disagrees with Obama’s policies, it is a “mistake to question people’s motives”. Even Lindsay Graham says that he doesn’t “question [the president’s] patriotism or love for our country.” But Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker didn’t get the memo, and tried to be ambiguous by saying “I don’t really know” whether Obama loves America.
Again, expect more of the same – it is to the Republicans’ advantage to continue the conversation about whether or not Obama loves America. It is one of those things like asking someone when they stopped beating their wife.
What I want to know is, how can these people claim to love America when they hate its duly elected president?