Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category
Prior to Super Tuesday’s primaries and caucuses, Donald Trump’s ceiling of support seemed to be in the 35%-36% range. He won handily in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. It’s particularly noteworthy that those 3 states were open states where Democrats were allowed to cause mischief or where independents could vote.
Yesterday’s events were closed events, with only Republicans voting. This table shows yesterday’s results:
Combining the 4 events together, Sen. Cruz got 41% of the votes cast. Meanwhile, Trump got 33.3% of the vote.
I haven’t hidden my disgust with Trump. If I were king for a day, I’d banish him to Gitmo and throw away the key to his cell. I’ve got great company in not respecting Trump. Steve Hayes’ article lowers the boom on Trump, especially this part:
The worst of these moments may have come when Trump mocked the disability of a journalist who had criticized him. At a rally in Sarasota last November, Trump was discussing Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for the New York Times. “The poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy,” Trump said, before flailing in a manner that resembled a palsy tremor. Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects the movement and positioning of his joints.
When Trump was criticized, he said he couldn’t have been mocking the reporter because he was unaware of Kovaleski’s condition. That wasn’t true. Kovaleski had interviewed Trump a dozen times and said they had interacted on “a first-name basis for years.” Trump then accused Kovaleski of “using his disability to grandstand.”
This came up last Friday, as I drove my 8-year-old son to see the Washington Capitals play. I’ll be gone on his birthday, covering presidential primaries, so this was an early present.
My son and his older sister have followed the campaign, as much as kids their age do, and they’re aware that I’ve traded barbs with Trump. So we sometimes talk about the candidates and their attributes and faults, and we’d previously talked about Trump’s penchant for insulting people. On our drive down, my son told me that some of the kids in his class like Trump because “he has the most points,” and he asked me again why I don’t like the Republican frontrunner.
I reminded him about the McCain and Fiorina stories and then we spent a moment talking about Kovaleski. I described his condition and showed him how physically limiting it would be. Then he asked a simple question:
“Why would anyone make fun of him?”
I’d flip this around a bit. I’d ask what qualities or policies would convince me to vote for Mr. Trump. In terms of national security policy or taxes, regulations, federalism, the Constitution and the rule of law, I find Mr. Trump utterly deficient. Listening to Trump answer a question on national security is torture. At times, he’s said that he’d “bomb the s— out of ISIS.” At other times, he’s said he’d talk Putin into taking out ISIS. Bombing the s— out of ISIS sounds great but that’s just part of the threat ISIS poses. That does nothing to stop ISIS from radicalizing Muslims in Europe or the United States. Apparently, Trump hasn’t figured that out, mostly because he doesn’t even have an elemental understanding of foreign policy.
On national security, Trump says he’ll be strong and frequently pronounces himself “militaristic.” But he doesn’t seem to have even a newspaper reader’s familiarity with the pressing issues of the day. He was nonplussed by a reference to the “nuclear triad”; he confused Iran’s Quds Force and the Kurds; he didn’t know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah. The ignorance would be less worrisome if his instincts weren’t terrifying. He’s praised authoritarians for their strength, whether Vladimir Putin for killing journalists and political opponents or the Chinese government for the massacre it perpetrated in Tiananmen Square. To the extent he articulates policies, he seems to be an odd mix of third-world despot and naïve pacifist.
Like Steve Hayes, I’m a proud member of the #NeverTrump movement. While pundits like Sean Hannity and Andrea Tantaros talk about Trump like he’s a conservative god, I won’t. That’s because I care more about the principles that make conservatism and capitalism the most powerful forces for positive change.
Why anyone would vote for a disgusting, immoral liberal like Donald Trump is mind-boggling. Personally, I won’t.
It isn’t surprising that Donald Trump is an unhinged anti-war liberal with a passion for conspiracy theories. That’s been obvious for months. Saturday night, however, Trump the 9/11 Truther, made his first appearance on a debate stage. As a result of what Mr. Trump said, Medea Benjamin praised Mr. Trump, saying “It felt surreal to hear Donald Trump, the leading Republican contender for President, saying what we at CODEPINK have been shouting to the winds for 14 years now: that Bush and his cronies lied about WMDs, that the Iraq war was catastrophic, and that Bush never ‘kept us safe’ because 9/11 happened on his watch.”
This is a time for choosing for the so-called Republicans who support Trump. These Republicans can’t pretend that they’re patriots. They can’t pretend that they care about protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. They can’t tell us that they support Mr. Trump because they hate political correctness. They can’t even hide behind the fallacy that they support Mr. Trump because “he gets things done.”
The indisputable truth is that the thing bigger than Mr. Trump’s ego is the paranoia that fuels his truther beliefs. Here’s something Mr. Trump said that isn’t getting talked about enough:
TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center — the World — excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.
RUBIO: The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him. (APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And George Bush– by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.
Mr. Trump couldn’t know that President Bush got information from the CIA on bin Laden, much less know whether President Bush refused to act on that intelligence. We know that it’s impossible for Mr. Trump to know this because that’s the type of intelligence that would get an SAP classification. We know that because of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump’s supporters need to ask themselves whether they’re supporting him because they thought he was a patriot who would change this nation’s direction or did they support Mr. Trump because they thought he was a liberal anti-war activist that’s praised by far left organizations like Code Pink? Five minutes into this video, Carl Higbie, a former Navy Seal, insists that ISIS will be gone within 2 years:
HIGBIE: I think we see ISIS gone within 2 years. We put 250,000 boots on the ground. I know people that that’s not a popular comment but we do what’s necessary. We set the threshold. We say ‘if you do this, we’ll do this’. You follow through.
Apparently, Mr. Higbie isn’t well-informed. All he has to do is watch this video to be better informed:
Mr. Higbie can forget about a Trump administration that will put 250,000 boots on the ground to defeat ISIS. Trump has repeatedly said that he’d farm US national security out to Putin. Trump said repeatedly that he wants Putin to take out ISIS. Though you can’t trust anything Mr. Trump says from one day to the next, there’s no question that he’s repeatedly said that he wants Putin to do our dirty work with regards to ISIS.
Anyone that supports a presidential candidate that sounds like an anti-war CODE PINK activist one minute, then says he’d get Vladimir Putin to take out ISIS isn’t thinking straight.
On a night when Sen. Rubio exceeded expectations, Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished with 2.8% of the vote in Iowa, sounded totally unlike his dad and his brother. Gov. Bush sounded like a total sourpuss, saying “Speaking of Rubio and Cruz Monday night, Bush said they don’t have the experience to win. And the two other candidates that are likely to emerge in Iowa are two people that are backbenchers that have never done anything of consequence in their life. They’re gifted beyond belief. They can give a great speech. But I think it’s time for us to recognize that maybe what we need is someone who can lead.”
Bush’s supporting super PACs spent almost $25,000,000 attacking Sen. Rubio in the hopes of building Bush up. Rubio far exceeded expectations, finishing with 23.1% of the vote in Iowa. Meanwhile, the guy who thinks we need “someone who can lead” finished a mere 20.3% behind the guy who Jeb thought should wait his turn. That doesn’t sound like a guy who entered the race saying that he wanted to run a joyous race. That sounds like a bitter man who didn’t see this impending defeat coming.
What’s particularly insulting is Jeb’s suggestion that Sen. Rubio is incapable of leading people. Part of leadership is understanding what’s important to people, then offering a vision that inspires them to achieve their goals. If there’s anyone on the GOP side that can do that, it’s Sen. Rubio. Half the battle of leading is directing people to where they already wanted to go. People want to prosper. Sen. Rubio offers that. People want to feel safe from the advances of ISIS. Sen. Rubio certainly passes the commander-in-chief test.
People have tried crippling Sen. Rubio’s campaign by saying he’s an inexperienced first-term U.S. senator. It’s indisputable that he’s a first-term senator but that isn’t a strike against him. When Barack Obama started running for president, the truth is that he was just 2 years removed from being a state senator in Illinois. He spent the first 2 years playing politics and not taking policy seriously.
That isn’t what Sen. Rubio did. Sen. Rubio took his responsibilities seriously on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees. He learned national security issues until he could recite them backwards or frontwards.
The Bush dynasty should go into hibernation. The American people aren’t interested in dynasties.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, with 289 congresscritters voting for the bill. This week, the Senate will attempt to pass the bill. Democrats plan to stop it before it can be debated. If that fails, President Obama intends to veto the bill. Either way, Democrats at one end of Pennsylvania Ave. or the other will stop far short of protecting Americans from ISIS terrorists.
While I know that sounds harsh, it isn’t rhetoric. It’s the logical outcome. If the federal government doesn’t do its job of screening foreigners who want to enter the United States, something that’s happened before, terrorists won’t have to sneak across the unprotected southern border of the U.S. They’ll be able to get in with the federal government’s permission. That’s the blunt truth of things.
If Democrats want to stop this legislation from becoming law, that’s their option. It’s the Republicans’ option, though, to use the Democrats’ obstructionism against them on the campaign trail. Let’s see how swing state Democrats get clobbered for being weak on preventing terrorism. Let’s see how their constituents react when they’re told that Democrats couldn’t be bothered with preventing a terrorist from moving in just down the block from them.
Over the past few months, voters’ concerns about terrorism have surged and their confidence in the government’s ability to defeat IS and other extremist groups has plummeted, according to a national survey conducted in December by the Pew Research Center.
National Security is the most important issue to 41% of likely voters. If Democrats are criticized for not taking substantive steps to prevent terrorist attacks, they’ll be committing political suicide.
It isn’t a stretch to think that they’ll be criticized as weak on national security just like they were in the 1970s.
Readers of LFR know that I’ve criticized the Agenda Media for almost 10 years. I especially criticized them when they didn’t do their due diligence on then-Candidate Obama. What’s happening now with GOP-leaning commentators is just as disgusting as what lefty pundits and reporters did in 2008. One of the biggest offenders this year is Andrea Tantaros, a co-host on Outnumbered.
Each time that Outnumbered talks about Trump, her eyes glaze over and she starts rattling off utter nonsense. Normally, I don’t have much use for Media Matters but I appreciate them highlighting what Ms. Tantaros said during Tuesday’s show. Particularly disgusting is Ms. Tantaros’ statement that “He has been front runner despite these controversial comments. Republicans criticizing him but again they’re saying to a problem “nope,” even though he’s coming up with a solution, even though they don’t like it.”
Tantaros said this about Trump’s ban-all-Muslims diatribe. Calling Trump’s childish diatribe a solution is insulting. The primary definition of solution is “the act of solving a problem, question, etc.” Ms. Tantaros, how does Trump’s diatribe solve the problem of stopping Middle Eastern terrorists entering the United States when it isn’t enforceable?
Trump’s statement barely qualifies as a coherent thought. (That’s still debatable.) It certainly doesn’t qualify as a solution. If Ms. Tantaros’ blather wasn’t enough, she continued with this exchange with Fox Business’s Sandra Smith:
TANTAROS: But, Sandra, from a messaging perspective, again we see Trump, though he says something that is inflammatory perhaps, right? Discriminating based on religion, right?
SANDRA SMITH (HOST): It helps him in the polls.
TANTAROS: It helps him in the polls because it’s a solution to a problem that no one will tackle.
I don’t know if Ms. Tantaros is that stupid or that dishonest. Sen. Rubio, Mrs. Fiorina and Gov. Christie have stepped forward with plans to fix the problem. Their plans include no-fly zones so displaced Syrians don’t leave the Middle East. Trump’s blather is based on isolationism that doesn’t attack the root cause of the problem.
If Ms. Tantaros can’t figure that out, she shouldn’t be on national TV.
Other repeat offenders are Charlie Gasparino and Eric Bolling. They sing Trump’s praises constantly, too. Yesterday on The Five, Bolling praised Trump before mentioning that there were hundreds of people at his campaign rally. Greg Gutfeld interrupted, saying that you don’t have to mention numbers if you’re right, the point being that Bolling tried using numbers of supporters at a campaign event to prove Trump was right.
In 2008, tens of thousands of people showed up for President Obama’s campaign events. We’ve suffered through 7 years of economic malaise and several years of apprehension about stopping terrorist attacks. Simply put, Bolling’s argument is flimsy at best.
This trio’s critical thinking abilities don’t exist when it comes to Mr. Trump. Rather than turning this post into a rant, though, let’s provide solutions to this trio of wayward souls.
Mentioning something in that day’s news isn’t a solution. Presenting a half-baked idea that’s been modified several times in the following 24 hours isn’t a proposal, either. Here’s a hint to this clueless trio: if a candidate has to constantly modify what he said, it’s safe to say that he didn’t think things through.
Here’s another hint: I’m not looking for a candidate that mentions a timely topic but doesn’t provide a thoughtful solution. Any idiot can mention things. The United States is in terrible shape because we’ve got a president who hasn’t provided a solution to the challenges facing this nation. We don’t need another narcissist who doesn’t think in terms of thoughtful, detailed solutions.
Finally, Trump’s supporters say that he’d “get things done.” I’d challenge that because it’s impossible to solve problems when the candidate can’t put a coherent sentence together, much less provide a solution.
Technorati: Barack Obama, Election 2008, Donald Trump, Election 2016, Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling, Charlie Gasparino, Agenda Media, Sandra Smith, Greg Gutfeld, Solutions, Refugee Resettlement Program, Syria, No-Fly Zone, ISIS
Josh Kraushaar’s article highlights a subject Democrats would rather forget. At minimum, they wish national security would just go away.
Kraushaar hit it right when he wrote “The signs of a president in denial over the threat of terrorism keep piling up. Obama belatedly addressed the public’s fears in his Oval Office address on Sunday evening, but he offered no new policies to deal with crisis. That it took four days for the president to unequivocally call the San Bernardino attacks “terrorism” underscored how his own instincts are at odds with the American public’s.”
Kraushaar is right when he opines “The decision to give a nationally televised speech without outlining a change of course suggested that administration officials were worried about declining poll numbers and that he was trying to limit the political damage.” President Obama’s highest priorities since taking office have been to transform America to fit his rigid ideology and to worry first about the political impact of his policies rather than the impact his policies have on individuals’ and families’ lives.
That’s a major reason why Americans don’t trust President Obama’s national security policies. Another reason why people don’t trust President Obama’s national security policies is because he seems indifferent to national security most of the time. He’s shown more emotion fighting Republicans than he’s shown fighting ISIS. Still another reason why people don’t trust President Obama’s national security policies is because, in Kraushaar’s words, “the president’s assurances are being contradicted by events around him.”
Mouthing the same BS is getting old. The people get the impression that President Obama’s lines remain the same, irrespective of what’s happening. If a terrorist gets captures, President Obama is likely to say “our homeland has never been more protected by more effective intelligence and law-enforcement professionals at every level than they are now.” The truth is that President Obama said that hours after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
If people want to read a good fictional novella, I’d recommend that they read Rand Paul’s op-ed. What Sen. Paul’s op-ed misses in serious policies, it makes up for with sensationalism and old-fashioned BS.
Early in the article, Sen. Paul reveals his goal by talking about Hillary Clinton’s and Marco Rubio’s “liberation foreign policy.” After that, Sen. Paul’s op-ed reads like a letter from an angry child upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s good reason for that. Sen. Paul’s upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s a reason for that. He’s sounding more and more like a not-quite-as-crazy-as-his-dad-noninterventionist.
First, Sen. Paul’s accusations are without merit. He’s basing his statements on a myth. Early in the op-ed, he said “When I forced the Foreign Relations Committee to debate an authorization of military force against ISIS, Senator Rubio and McCain insisted that the new authorization be unlimited temporally or geographically. Basically, they want a war without end against an undefined enemy in an unspecified region of the world.”
I don’t recall Congress putting a time limit on FDR after Pearl Harbor. I don’t recall Congress giving FDR permission to declare war on Japan but not on Germany and Italy. War is, by its chaotic nature, open-ended time-wise. I’d be worried if Sen. Rubio and Sen. McCain agreed to give President Obama an AUMF that had an expiration date. That’s the definition of insanity.
This sounds like a petulant child:
Senator Rubio wrote the President at the time that he saw “no legal reason preventing” him from using his “commander-in-chief” powers to attack ISIS. His letter makes no mention of the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authority.
There’s a reason for that. The AUMF that the House and Senate passed gave the president, then George W. Bush, the authority to go after terrorists “with global reach.” ISIS definitely fits that definition.
As we enter into the season of determining the next Commander in Chief, I hope voters will seek out a leader who will learn from history and not pursue a reckless policy that seeks to liberate the world but in reality traps us under a mountain of debt and beguiles us into perpetual war.
I hope that voters will learn from recent history that the terrorists haven’t quit fighting a war against us. Sen. Paul apparently hasn’t figured it out that we don’t quit fighting a war if the terrorists haven’t quit waging war against the United States. That’s the definition of national suicide.
Sen. Paul isn’t concerned with preventing terrorist attacks. The thing that he’s most worried about is “mountains of debt.” It’s time he figured out how to fight the terrorists while reducing the debt.
After the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, some thoughtful people from both parties but led by Republicans, proposed pausing the importation of Syrian refugees. They suggested that because the vetting process of Syrian refugees isn’t reliable. That isn’t just Republicans’ opinion. It’s an opinion they share with James Comey, the director of the FBI. During testimony to Congress, he said that vetting Syrian refugees was all but impossible.
After that, President Obama announced that he wouldn’t pause the program, saying that not accepting these refugees was un-American. It isn’t surprising that Gov. Dayton is repeating President Obama’s line. In an interview with MPR’s Kerri Miller, Gov. Dayton said “the State Department and Department of Homeland Security have an extensive vetting process in place.”
According to Director Comey, that’s misinformation. In his testimony, Director Comey said that the databases they need to vet people either doesn’t exist or is highly unreliable. DHS and the State Department can say whatever they want but it doesn’t mean anything if the vetting infrastructure doesn’t exist or isn’t reliable.
Gov. Dayton later said “I think there should be an enhanced level of vetting and security for Syrian refugees or others that come from places which have been sources of terrorism” before saying “having been on the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security, there’s far more that’s actually undertaken.”
Has Sen. Dayton gotten briefed lately on the state of identification databases in Syria lately? If he hasn’t, how would he know that the vetting infrastructure is reliable? Is he just trusting President Obama? If that’s the case, would he trust a Republican president the same way in the same circumstances?
Finally, Gov. Dayton said “People who are fleeing terrorism in other countries, people with families with children in their arms — to tell them they can’t come into this country and have a future is just un-American.” Let’s explain this to Gov. Dayton through this picture:
I’d love to see whether Gov. Dayton would accept that taste-testing challenge.
When then-Candidate Obama ran for office in 2008, he sounded an optimistic tone, constantly talking about “hope and change.” A month into President Obama’s administration, President Obama’s governing motto morphed into “We won.” President Obama killed bipartisanship a month into his administration. It’s been downhill since. Salena Zito’s latest column highlights President Obama’s boorish behavior last week in the aftermath of ISIS’s terrorist attacks on Paris.
Ms. Zito noted that the definition of leadership “is guidance, direction, inspiration, motivation. And, at a moment when our nation felt most vulnerable and needed reassurance that the man in control was looking out for our welfare, we found ourselves irrevocably disappointed. Americans wanted sober, serious and authoritative. What they got was prickly and tone deaf.” President Hope and Change hasn’t listened to We The People since the passing of his failed stimulus bill. We saw the last of President Hope and Change about 3 years before the end of his first term.
Pressured by reporters about his strategy for fighting ISIS, his ill-tempered response offered no direct answer. Instead, he sharply rebuked his critics before doubling down on his tepid, ever-changing policy for taking on the terror group.
President Obama is too narcissistic to admit that he’s gotten virtually every major foreign policy wrong. It isn’t just that others might’ve done details differently. It’s that they wouldn’t have been foolish enough to offer Russia a reset button or negotiate with Iran, the biggest state sponsor of terror. They definitely wouldn’t have held a Rose Garden press conference to announce that he’d traded 5 top terrorist generals for an American deserter.
Ms. Zito got the ending right:
The majority of Americans are not behind Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, according to Bloomberg and NBC News polls conducted last week. The fear felt by Americans crosses both parties, and it is not unreasonable. In such a time of crisis or doubt, a president’s purpose is to calm our fears, not to put on a professorial hat and declare, “I am right and you are wrong.”
The fact is, Obama will never change; anytime he is backed into a corner, he not only puts on that professor’s hat but he also blames whatever problem exists on Congress and, inevitably, divides the country still further.
That is not leadership — but it sure is politics.
President Obama failed Leadership 101 in college. That’s why he’s spent the last 7 years as the Divider-in-chief.
It’s becoming a matter of routine to hear that Scott Walker is leading in another poll or that he’s won another straw poll. Gov. Walker was the final speaker at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference, where he won another straw poll with surprising strength:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got some of Philadelphia’s brotherly love in a Republican straw poll of declared and presumptive presidential candidates this weekend.
But Scott Walker got more.
The Wisconsin governor left the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference with 25.3 percent of the poll, taken among the 600-plus party leaders and activists from 20 states who attended, according to a news release from the event. Christie won 11.6 percent, taking second place. He edged out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who had 11 percent. Rounding out the top five were former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who tied with 9.6 percent.
Gov. Walker’s message is simple: he’s a fighter that wins:
Seeking to differentiate himself from some of his potential rivals who serve in Congress or have been out of office for some time, Mr. Walker said he was a unique combination of fighter and election and policy victor. “We fight the good fight and win those fights over and over and over again,” he said.
It’s impossible to argue with Gov. Walker’s history of success. The record speaks for itself. If ever there was an election that showed elections aren’t about the past, this is that election. Gov. Walker appears able to fight and win on that turf, too:
Mr. Walker also mocked the president on national security, citing Mr. Obama’s recent speech in which he said climate change was the biggest threat facing America. “I’ve got a message for you, Mr. President. The number one threat to the military, the number one threat to America, the number one threat to the world is radical Islam. It’s time we do something about it,” he said to roaring cheers.
President Obama admitted that he doesn’t have a complete strategy to defeat ISIS. Unfortunately for solutions-oriented Americans of all political stripes, that isn’t surprising. It’s just disappointing. It’s impossible to think of President Obama as a policy wonk. It’s impossible to think of him as anything more than a political hack.
Saying that climate change is the “biggest threat facing America” requires mocking. Thankfully, there are several serious conservative candidates who are capable of taking over as commander-in-chief. Right now, the one winning the straw polls and leading in the polls is Gov. Walker.