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Hullabaloo


Monday, August 31, 2015

 
Is Marco dumb or just "uncurious" #likeW

by digby

Steve Benen caught a Rubio pulling a Mitt, which isn't a good thing:

It was arguably the biggest takedown of the 2012 presidential campaign. In the third debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the Republican complained, “Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917…. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947.”

The former governor had used the same argument many times on the stump, and the prepared president pounced. “Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed,” Obama explained. “We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities?”

It was a rough moment for Romney, whose canned talking points were made to look ridiculous.

And yet, there was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last week, delivering a big speech on foreign policy, embracing Romney’s argument as his own.

“[President Obama] wasted no time stripping parts from the engine of American Strength. He enacted hundreds of billions in defense cuts that left our Army on track to be at pre-World War II levels, our Navy at pre-WWI levels, and our Air Force with the smallest and oldest combat force in its history.”

As Bloomberg politics dryly reiterated:
[T]he numbers of ships and planes don’t define U.S. military capabilities. Modern warships, notably aircraft carriers and submarines, are far more effective and lethal than their World War II predecessors.
No kidding.

This isn't the first time Rubio has made a truly embarrassing foreign policy gaffe like this:
At the recent CPAC gathering, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a likely Republican presidential candidate, seemed to stumble on one of the basic facts of the Middle East. “The reason Obama hasn’t put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS is because he doesn’t want to upset Iran,” the Florida Republican said. 
The senator seemed confused. In reality, President Obama has put an anti-ISIS military strategy in place, and that’s fine with Iran, since Iran and ISIS are enemies.

I’d hoped that Rubio just misspoke, or had been briefly poorly but an aide, but apparently not - -at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this afternoon, the far-right Floridian continued to push this strange theory, pressing Secretary of State John Kerry on the point. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” Rubio said. “Tell me why I’m wrong.” 
And so, Kerry told him why he’s wrong.

For those who can’t watch clips online, here’s the heart of the exchange.
KERRY: What’s important, senator, with respect to your question is to understand this. And I think this has been a misread by a lot of people up here on the Hill, to be honest with you. There is no grand bargain being discussed here with regards to this negotiation, this is about a nuclear weapon potential. That’s it. And the president has made it absolutely clear they will not get a nuclear weapon. Now the presumption by a lot of people up on the Hill here has been that we somehow aren’t aware of that goal even as we negotiate that goal. Our negotiation is calculated to make sure they can’t get a nuclear weapon. It’s really almost insulting that the presumption here is that we’re going to negotiate something that allows them to get a nuclear weapon.

RUBIO: Well I haven’t discussed about the nuclear weapon but I – and I’m not saying there is a grand bargain – what I’m saying is that I believe that our military strategy towards ISIS is influenced by our desire not to cross red lines That the Iranians have –

KERRY: Absolutely not in the least.

Rubio went on to insist that many of our Sunni allies in the region – including Jordan and U.A.E. – feel as if we’ve kept them “in the dark” about the nuclear talks with Iran, reducing our “trust level” in the region.

Again, Kerry had to patiently explained to the Republican, “Senator, that is actually flat wrong.”

Honestly, it was like watching a competent teacher trying to explain the basics of current events to a student who failed to do his homework. Andrea Mitchell said the Secretary of State took Rubio “to school.”
Rubio is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His claim to fame, such as it is, is supposed to be foreign policy. But when he talks about it he looks like this guy:


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