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Monday afternoon, Sen. Marco Rubio was interviewed by the Five. Here’s the video of the interview:

When it was Greg Gutfeld’s turn to ask questions, he sought a clarification. Here’s that exchange:

GREG GUTFELD: I think what Julie is trying to say is that dictators might be cruel but the Islamic religious extremists that replace them are apocalyptic so once we found out what came in there, it made everything look different. I disagree but I think that’s what you’re trying to say.
JULIE ROGINSKY: Well, sort of.
GREG GUTFELD: Isn’t the underlying driver of Obama’s foreign policy was to shrink our footprint, that we were too big and we were failing and he wanted to turn a Cadillac into a Moped?
SEN. RUBIO: So the underlying argument he has for the Middle East is that this is a grievance-based problem. But these groups in there, whether they’re Iran or a radical jihadist, have grievances against us and if we just stop doing the things that make them aggrieved, things will be better. That’s not the truth. The truth is that these are not grievance-based problems we have with them. These are ideological-based problems and it’s a pretty simple ideology. They want everyone to worship like they do or die. And they view us in the short term as a threat to their regional ambitions but in the long term, once they’re done conquering the region, they intend to come for Europe and, ultimately, the United States. They’ve made that very clear. When they say that, we should believe them.

In that brief exchange, Sen. Rubio showed a better grasp of reality than our current commander-in-chief and his Secretary of State.

With the Middle East being in tatters, this election will be more about national security than most elections. In a head-to-head matchup with Hillary, Sen. Rubio would likely mop the floor with her behind. Add into that the possibility of electing the first Hispanic president and Hillary’s troubles. If that’s the matchup, Hillary will have a steep hill to climb.

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The first thing I need to say before getting into this post’s substance is that George Will is one of the brightest conservatives I’ve ever listened to. That’s why it was difficult for me to watch this video:

Here’s the transcript from the important part of Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: George, where do you think Cruz fits in the Republican presidential field? And what do you think are his realistic chances to win the nomination?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: We’ve seen this movie before, Chris. In 1964, Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, partly on the theory called conservatives in the woodwork, that there were enormous number of conserves who only offered candidate who ignored what Cruz calls the mushy middle, they’d come out of the woodwork and form a national majority. Well, Goldwater’s 27 million voters, of whom I was one, suffice to carry six states.

The question for Mr. Cruz and for anyone seeking the Republican nomination is this, given that 18 states and the District of Columbia with 242 electoral votes voted Democratic in six consecutive elections and if the Democratic nominee holds that base, he or she will spend the fall looking for 28 electoral votes and will find them. Given that, they have to ask the question, what red, what blue state are you going to flip specifically? Can Ted Cruz campaign effectively in one of those 18 states? Pennsylvania, how is he going to do piling up big majorities to carry the state in the suburban counties, Bucks, Montgomery, around Philadelphia? I’m skeptical.

First, let’s stipulate that every Republican faces the same obstacle as Sen. Cruz. Next, let’s stipulate that some are better equipped to flipping some of the states that Will is referring to. Third, let’s stipulate that Will has said the same thing about every other Republican potential presidential candidate with one exception. That exception is Chris Christie.

Will’s defeatist attitude, which I’m certain he’ll characterize as simply a statement of fact, isn’t worthy of a man of his intelligence. According to this map, Will is right that Republicans start at a distinct disadvantage:

That’s the extent, though, that I’m willing to concede. There are 538 electoral votes, which is why the winning candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. Starting with 242 electoral votes means that 296 electoral votes are still up for grabs or solidly in GOP-controlled states.

First, let’s look at solidly red states. The GOP candidate starts with a base of 200 electoral votes. Next, let’s look at purple states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada. Florida has 29 EVs, followed by Ohio with 18 EVs, Virginia with 13 EVs, Colorado with 9, Nevada and Iowa with 6 apiece, New Mexico with 5 and New Hampshire with 4 EVs.

If Sen. Rubio is on the ticket, either as the nominee or running mate, that definitely flips Florida’s 29 EVs and likely puts Nevada and Colorado in the GOP column. Just putting those states in the GOP column gives the GOP ticket 244 EVs. If Scott Walker is the GOP nominee and Rubio is his running mate, that likely puts Iowa and Wisconsin in the GOP column. That puts the GOP ticket at 260 EVs. That means Hillary has to win Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia.

At that point, if Republicans win either Virginia or Ohio, they’d retake the White House.

Is it mathematically challenging? Yes, for both parties.

That’s before factoring in the quality of campaigns the two sides run and events that are beyond the candidates’ control. If Republicans run a youthful, energetic, ideas-driven ticket, they won’t have to say a thing about Hillary looking fatigued. It’ll be that obvious. Further, if the Middle East continues being a disaster and Russia continues its expansionist ways, Hillary will have lots of problems because she’s joined at the hip with President Obama as the co-architects of that foreign policy.

If Mr. Will wants to continuously be a pessimist about the GOP ticket for 2016, that’s his right under the First Amendment that he writes so eloquently about. It just doesn’t mean he’s right. He should know that campaigns and events matter. Right now, Hillary is a terrible candidate and events both domestically and especially internationally favor Republicans.

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Anyone familiar with the Old Testament book of Esther knows that Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish nation. This weekend, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin criticized President Obama:

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat on Saturday night compared US President Barack Obama to Haman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Mordechai. Speaking at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the American born Riskin said that he could not understand what was going through Obama’s mind.

“The President of the United States is lashing out at Israel just like Haman lashed out at the Jews,” he said. “I’m not making a political statement,” he clarified, “I’m making a Jewish statement.”

When a woman in the audience shouted out that Riskin was being disrespectful to the President of the United States, she was booed by the crowd and Riskin said he didn’t need any help from the audience. “I am being disrespectful because the President of the United States was disrespectful to my prime minister, to my country, to my future and to the future of the world.”

Here’s what the Book of Esther said about Haman:

10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.”

Rabbi Riskin wasn’t finished:

Just as Mordechai was focused on saving the Jews of Persia from destruction, Riskin noted, so Netanyahu is focused on saving Israel and the world from destruction. Riskin said more than once throughout his address that he was proud of Netanyahu, and added that he did the right thing in speaking to Congress “even if it angered Obama.”

If you’re wondering what became of Haman, here’s what happened:

Haman Hanged Instead of Mordecai

7 So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. 2 And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!” 3 Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. 4 For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss.”

5 So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?” 6 And Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!”

As the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, “Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.” Then the king said, “Hang him on it!” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided.

The only reason I’ve included this information to show how hated Haman was with the Jewish people. When Rabbi Riskin calls President Obama a modern day Haman, it’s to show his wrath with President Obama.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the US, did a good job of walking a tightrope in discussing the mess President Obama created in the Middle East:

This article shows how frayed the relationship is between the Saudis and the Obama administration:

Asked when he was told by Saudi Arabia that it would take military action in Yemen, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, told a Senate hearing on Thursday he spoke with Saudi Arabia’s chief of defense “right before they took action.” He added that he couldn’t assess the likelihood of the campaign succeeding because he didn’t know the “specific goals and objectives.”

Translation: The Saudis told Centcom that it was taking military action against the Iran-supported Houthi rebels moments before launching airstrikes against Houthi rebels. The other noteworthy tidbit of information is that Centcom can’t evaluate what the likelihood of the Saudi airstrikes is because it wasn’t briefed by the Saudis.

Nations collaborating with each other might not know everything that the other nation is planning on doing but they’d have a pretty good idea what assets are being deployed and where. They’d know what their ally’s goals were, too. Clearly, that isn’t happening here.

During his interview with Chris Wallace, al-Jubeir emphatically stated that they’re willing to deploy ground troops if they determine that’s what’s needed to destroy ISIS. When I heard that, I wished that our commander-in-chief had that type of spine. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with President Obama. What’s especially sad is that President Obama’s world view is totally upside down. America’s traditional allies are President Obama’s enemies. Countries that’ve traditionally been America’s enemies are this administration’s friends.

The saddest part is that it’ll take the Republican’s next term in office just to clean up this administration’s foreign policy disasters. I’ve said this before but I’ll repeat it here. I never thought I’d see the day when another president’s foreign policy ‘accomplishments’ paled in comparison to Jimmy Carter’s lackluster list of accomplishments.

Unfortunately, I’ve lived to see that day. Then again, I didn’t think I’d live to see the day when Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would form a de facto alliance to counterbalance the US-Iranian alliance.

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Ed Morrissey’s column has a section that should frighten thoughtful Americans of all political stripes:

Funny, but the White House took a distinctly less charitable approach to the ally that opposed Iran the previous week. Benjamin Netanyahu, in fighting for re-election in Israel, told voters there that he could no longer support a two-state solution under the current conditions of Palestinian leadership. He also warned Israelis that outside activists had attempted to boost voting of Israeli Arabs in an attempt to defeat Likud, and urged Israel’s Jews to turn out more heavily for him. In the final days of the election, Netanyahu won handily.

Did the Obama administration shrug Netanyahu’s words off as “intended for a domestic political audience?”

Of course not.

Ever since, the White House has been in high dudgeon, slamming Netanyahu’s campaign for both the comments about Arab turnout and the futility of negotiating with a Hamas-partnered Mahmoud Abbas. Netanyahu has tried making amends for both statements, but as late as Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf sniffed that the US didn’t find Netanyahu credible any longer. “Given his statements prior to the election, it’s going to be hard to find a path where people seriously believe, when it comes to negotiations, that those are possible.”

Let’s get this straight. Benjamin Netanyahu, the elected head of government of a US ally, defies Obama on a policy that impacts Israel’s security, then apologizes for it, and yet is considered someone who lacks credibility. However, when the head of state of a nation that has sponsored terrorism for decades openly says, “Death to America,” the Obama administration shrugs off the statement as mere domestic politics and considers him a credible partner for peace.

We are truly through the looking glass with this President.

It has become abundantly clear that Obama wants a deal for the sake of claiming a foreign policy achievement, no matter what the cost, and no matter what it does to our allies, especially Israel. The situation is reminiscent of another confrontation between Western powers and an extremist dictatorship that professed its own destiny to rule the world, and where the dictator even wrote out his plans for world domination and practically begged everyone to read them.

Ed’s right. President Obama wants a foreign policy achievement in the worst way. If he signs the deal with Iran, what he’ll get won’t be an achievement but it will be done for the worst reasons.

Simply put, this would be a foreign policy achievement in the same way that trading the Taliban Five for Bo Bergdahl was a foreign policy accomplishment. Signing a nonbinding agreement with Iran is just as foolish as trading for a soldier who was just charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

I could write President Obama’s legacy a month after he leaves office. It won’t take time to see how his policies worked out. They’re already failing without much hope of turning around. If the Iranian people strip the mullahs of their power, this agreement won’t be a total, longlasting disaster. Regardless of whether the Saudi attack on Yemen uproots the Houthis, it’s clear that President Obama’s policies failed Yemen’s government.

I could write that President Obama “served with distinction and honor” only if I applied the same standards that Susan Rice applied to Bowe Bergdahl. Otherwise, I’d have to say he’s been a disaster.

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This week’s Orchids and Onions contains this complaint:

Onions: Of, “I told you so,” to all the Democrat supporters of Obama and his veto of the Keystone Pipeline. Now we have more than 400 union Steelworkers losing their jobs at Keetac because of the lack of demand for steel products. Democrat Sens. Klobuchar and Franken, along with the biggest Democrat of all, President Barack Obama, have once again thrown union workers to the wolves in order to keep their radical environmental buddies happy. Why, please tell us why, aren’t our steelworker union heads not yelling their guts out about this lack of support for union jobs by Obama, Klobuchar, and Franken?

It’s frustrating to see valuable blue collar workers thrown under the Obama/Klobuchar/Franken/environmentalist bus. These people don’t like fossil fuels. They don’t care about the infrastructure that’s needed to safely transport that oil to refineries.

Worst of all, they don’t really support these industrial unions. Admittedly, they’re great at paying lip service to them come election time. Unfortunately for these unions, that stops the day after the election.

Until industrial unions stop supporting Democrats financially, they’ll get shafted by Democrats.

Whether it’s mining unions in northern Minnesota or construction unions across the nation, their financial support of Democrats keeps putting their jobs at risk. Those contributions help Democrats elect more environmental activists to the legislature, Congress and the White House. It won’t change anytime soon if these unions keep supporting these hardline environmentalists.

It isn’t surprising that President Obama hasn’t done a thing to help build the Keystone XL Pipeline. He never will. That’s because he’s a hardline environmentalist.

When St. Amy of Hennepin County, aka Sen. Amy Klobuchar, runs for re-election in 2018, it’s imperative that these industrial unions question why she hasn’t supported them. The union rank-and-file can’t hesitate in telling her that she has a choice. She can either support their agenda or support the environmentalists’ agenda. They need to tell Sen. Klobuchar that their support hinges solely on whose agenda she votes for.

It’s time the industrial unions held the Democrats’ feet to the fire. In fact, it’s time for them to abandon the Democratic Party until the Democratic Party starts supporting their agenda.

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When US. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian officials, the question will be whether the Obama administration will side with Tehran or whether they’ll side with traditional U.S. allies like Egypt and Jordan.

Egypt’s president called for increased U.S. military aid and creation of a regional coalition to fight Islamic State in an interview with Fox News that aired on Monday, just days before the United States sends its top diplomat to the country.

“It is very important for the United States to understand that our need for the weapons and for the equipment is dire, especially at the time when the Egyptians feel they are fighting terrorism and they would like to feel the United States is standing by them in that fight against terrorism,” said President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

The Obama administration has shown its hand. They haven’t sent military supplies to Jordan, Egypt or the Iraqi Kurds. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll arm Egypt or Jordan because the administration doesn’t want to do anything to upset the mullahs. Strengthening the Arabs’ hands is a nonstarter with Iran’s mullahs.

In that sense, President Obama and John Kerry are setting US-Arab relations at least a decade. They’ve already set back the US-Israeli relationship a decade.

As the region grapples with the rise of Islamic State, which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, political leaders of the five Gulf Arab states, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey have been meeting to forge unity and work together.

“The region is facing very tough circumstances now,” Sissi said through a translator. “The public opinion wants to see a big response from capable countries – countries that are able to provide assistance to it.”

el-Sissi has shown himself to be an incredible statesman. He’s reached out to Coptic Christians at great risk to his life. He’s willing to work with the Israelis — on a limited basis — to stop Iran’s agenda.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Jordan wants to accelerate Jordan’s war with ISIS, mostly because of ISIS’ torching the Jordanian pilot in a cage. Whatever their motivation, this is the type of coalition that US diplomats should welcome. According to el-Sissi, this administration has dragged its feet. Though that’s disappointing, it’s totally predictable.

I just wish our commander-in-chief was the heroic statesmen that el-Sissi and Abdullah are.

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President Obama is complaining about the Senate Republicans sending a letter to Iran’s mullahs. Like the petty man he is, he threw in a dig at Republicans while criticizing them.

President Obama assailed 47 Republican senators Monday for writing an open letter to the leaders of Iran while the country is in the middle of nuclear negotiations with the United States and allied nations, arguing the communication made “common cause with the hardliners in Iran.”

The letter, released publicly Monday, advised Iran’s leaders that any pact negotiated by the Obama administration and signed by Iran, and not ratified by Congress, could be voided by future presidents or modified by future Congresses. It was drafted as a lesson in the workings of the Constitution, and framed as a rebuke to the president’s executive authority.

The mullahs aren’t negotiating with this administration. They’re toying with this administration. Any treaty negotiated with the mullahs won’t be worth the parchment it’ll be written on. It certainly won’t be worth ratifying.

And yes, it’s a treaty.

Speaking in the Oval Office, Obama said the American people would assess the merits of any finalized agreement with Iran. If a deal is reached, “I’m confident we’ll be able to implement it,” he added. “I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition,” the president observed.

First, we don’t need to wait until the details of the treaty are revealed to “assess the merits” of the proposed treaty. We shouldn’t negotiate with terrorist-sponsoring nations like Iran until they stop sponsoring terrorists. Period. Negotiating with them gives them legitimacy. That’s the last thing we should do.

Next, blowing up a bad deal with some of the nastiest people on earth isn’t making common cause with them. As usual, President Obama has things bassackwards. His negotiating a treaty with them while pushing Israel under the bus is making common cause with the terrorists. That’s the “unusual coalition.”

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have signaled to Israel that working together to take out Iran’s nuclear weapons is acceptable. Meanwhile, President Obama has continued his policy of appeasement towards Iran. While Republican senators align themselves with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, President Obama continues his policy of appeasement with Iran’s mullahs.

That’s “an unusual coalition.”

Watching this video will show that el-Sissi is more pro-traditional American than President Obama:

Thankfully, these 47 Republicans are playing hardball with the hardliners in Tehran.

The latest polling measuring President Obama’s national security leadership isn’t the much-needed good news that this administration needs:

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Congressional leaders invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress?
Good thing 56%, bad thing 27%

Do you think the Obama administration is too supportive of Israel, not supportive enough, or are the administration’s policies about right?
Too supportive 14%, not supportive enough 41%, about right 35%

Democrats that complained about Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu are on the wrong side of that fight by a 2:1 margin. That isn’t the bad news from the poll, though. This is definitely worse news for President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats:

Do you think the United States has been too aggressive, not aggressive enough or about right in trying to get Iran to stop building a nuclear weapons program?
Too aggressive 7%, not aggressive enough 57%, about right 27%

Do you favor or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran if that were the only way to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?
Favor 65%, Oppose 28%

When 3 in 5 voters think you aren’t pushing Iran hard enough to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, you’re in a bad position. When 1 in 4 voters thinks you’re being about right, then most voters think you’re a wimp. When two-thirds of people think we should use military force to prevent “Iran from getting nuclear weapons” and you’re an anti-war president, you’re in trouble.

President Obama’s leadership on national security matters, if it can be called that, is pathetic. And yes, President Obama is anti-war. He’s lost 2 wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) thus far. He’s on the path to losing another war to ISIS. His coalition of 60 nations that are fighting ISIS is fiction. His policies towards Russia are helping Putin rebuild the former Soviet empire.

Other than those things, President Obama is a picture in foreign policy leadership.

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Al Franken issued a statement in advance of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech that read like it was written by the administration:

In a statement earlier Monday, (Sen. Al) Franken (D-MN) described the speech as a “partisan spectacle.”

“This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle, both because of the impending Israeli election and because it was done without consulting the administration,” Franken said. “I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening. I’m confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel.”

Franken is just one hyperpartisan Democrat who professes undying loyalty to Israel, then essentially calls Prime Minister Netanyahu a partisan. Doesn’t it sound like Franken’s support of Israel is conditional? In any case, the “partisan debacle” Sen. Franken worried about didn’t happen.

Alexis Simendinger’s fantastic article highlights how Prime Minister Netanyahu’s substantive speech changed the parameters through which politicians view the issue. Here’s one thing Ms. Simendinger highlighted from the “partisan debacle”:

Netanyahu denounced the contours of the deal being negotiated in Switzerland as playing into Iran’s hands. He warned the outcome could accelerate a path toward nuclear war in the Middle East because he believes the parameters would strengthen Iran’s capabilities within a decade to create a nuclear weapon with such speed, the world could not intervene.

“Why would anyone make this deal?” Netanyahu asked. “This is a question that everyone asks in our region.” He let the clear rebuke of the president hang in the air. “Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?” he continued. “Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal.”

There’s no question that Sen. Franken recited the Democrats’ script perfectly. Similarly, there’s no question that Prime Minister Netanyahu changed the terms of the debate going forward.

The only “partisan debacle” from yesterday’s speech came from the Democrats. John Yarmuth’s diatribe and Nancy Pelosi’s turning her back on Prime Minister Netanyahu set the Democrats’ highly political tone for the event.

Sen. Franken didn’t attend yesterday’s speech because he’s a partisan hack. He didn’t know that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech would be a “partisan spectacle.” That’s what he initially said but that’s only because that’s what the administration told him. The speech turned into a dissertation on the things Iran’s leaders have engaged in, including sponsoring terrorist organizations like Hezbollah to attacking US soldiers in Iraq with Iranian-manufactured IEDs.

Had Sen. Franken attended the speech, he might’ve learned something. It’s a shame he took the administration’s word that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech would be a partisan speech.

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