Faced with the unenviable possibility of having megalomaniac Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee, many establishment conservatives have been filing behind Sen. Marco Rubio as the more responsible choice. They now may be rethinking their rush to Rubio’s appealing mediocrity.
In the wake of a stunning terrorist attack in Paris, France, and a growing sense that more needs to be done to address the terrorism fomenting in places like Iraq and Syria, lawmakers scheduled a closed-door briefing to discuss the options and formulate a plan. Notably absent was Rubio, a senator who wants to in just a few years run the whole show.
The senator was “busy” begging rich donors for campaign cash in California. He just couldn’t slip away to do his job.
There is no doubt that begging for money from rich people is an important aspect of a winning presidential campaign, but prioritizing your favored Super PAC war chest over the safety and strategy of the country isn’t a smart move. Voters – and Rubio’s colleagues in Washington – were appalled. The DNC was particularly scathing:
“While the rest of the world is focused on the terror attacks in Paris, Rubio is skipping critical briefings on national security to focus on high-dollar fundraisers,” DNC spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said in a statement. “He excuses his poor voting record by saying the votes he misses don’t matter, but it’s especially galling when he’s missing national security briefings in order to attend ritzy West Coast fundraisers.”
In a questionable bit of damage control, Rubio’s team claimed that he doesn’t need to attend Congressional meetings because he gets private, better information than other politicians. Making matters worse, he excused his nearly constant absence from his job by saying that once he is elected president he can “effect real change.” It’s an open question as to what exactly he thinks his job in the Senate is for apart from serving as a springboard to the White House.
Rubio is just the latest in a string of conservative politicians to prove that when it comes to fighting terrorism they are all bark and no bite. They are extremely quick to bash President Obama for his handling of ISIS, but offer no alternatives of their own.
Sorry, that should say “no realistic alternatives.” The Republican field is awash in insane proposals meant to stoke their own egos rather than accomplish anything meaningful. Carson and Trump suggest that the key to fighting terrorism is to give more people access to guns. 9/11, it seems to them, could have been prevented if only the twin towers were open carrying AR-15s.
Trump’s other suggestion is to “bomb the shit out of” ISIS and have Exxon-Mobile invade Middle Eastern oil fields. Seriously.
“ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because they have certain oil camps, certain areas of oil that they took away,” Trump said. “They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the (expletive deleted) out of ’em. I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.
“And you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there and in two months, you ever see these guys, how good they are, the great oil companies? They’ll rebuild that sucker, brand new — it’ll be beautiful.”
Mike Huckabee agrees. We should “bomb the stink out of them,” he suggested unhelpfully.
Ted Cruz thinks the only way to beat religiously intolerant monsters is to become religiously intolerant monsters ourselves – and Cruz is the man for the job. His plan is simple: Only let Christians into America.
So in light of his competitors, Rubio’s strategy of remaining ignorant to the entire issue seems to be a self-defense mechanism. Even learning about ISIS and the Middle East seems to compel a Republican candidate to say something monumentally idiotic. When your own stupidity is ever present on the tip of your tongue, not knowing is half the battle.
Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr