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“Huckabee Discourages U.S. Military Enlistments”: Delusions Based On Conditions That Don’t Exist

In politics, announcements held until late on a Friday afternoon tend to be part of a low-key strategy: this is the time to release news you don’t want the public to know.

It came as a bit of a surprise, then, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said late Friday that he would disclose his plans for the 2016 presidential race on May 5. This wasn’t an announcement, so much as it was an announcement about an announcement (at which point, the far-right Arkansan may or may not make an announcement).

Huckabee continued to act like a candidate over the weekend, sticking to the usual script in New Hampshire, but it was something the former governor said late last week that was more striking.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson [Thursday] that the Obama administration has “an open hostility toward the Christian faith,” and urged prospective military recruits to wait until the end of President Obama’s term to enlist. […]

“There’s nothing more honorable than serving one’s country and there’s no greater heroes to our country than our military,” he responded, “but I might suggest to parents, I’d wait a couple of years until we get a new commander-in-chief that will once again believe ‘one nation under god’ and believe that people of faith should be a vital part of the process of not only governing this country, but defending this country.”

It’s extraordinarily unusual for a presidential candidate, in either party, to publicly discourage enlistment in the United States military. For a candidate to do so while American military forces are engaged in combat operations overseas is arguably unprecedented.

Huckabee justified his position by arguing, without proof, that the Obama administration is openly “hostile” towards Christians, which leads the Republican to believe Christians, at least for now, should steer clear of military service.

“Why would they want to be in a military that would be openly hostile and not just simply bring some scorn to their faith, but would punish them for it?” Huckabee added.

If the Republican had any a legitimate case to make about anti-Christian discrimination, it would still be genuinely bizarre to hear a would-be president publicly suggest Americans not enlist in the military. But Huckabee’s rhetoric is even more outlandish given that this anti-Christian discrimination is largely imaginary.

In other words, the GOP personality isn’t just discouraging enlistment; he’s doing so based on conditions that don’t exist.

In case this isn’t already obvious, the U.S. military is an all-volunteer force. It exists and thrives because servicemen and women choose to wear the uniform. To tell Americans not to enlist – until 2017 at the earliest – is to effectively undermine the nation’s security needs for the next 21 months.

Should Huckabee proceed with another national campaign, this seems like the sort of controversy that will require an explanation.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 20, 2015

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Christians, Mike Huckabee, U. S. Military | , , , , | 2 Comments

“Cruz Tells Small Child, ‘Your World Is On Fire'”: Scare Them While They’re Young And You’ll Have Them For Life

For politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), fear is an important motivating tool. Listen to the far-right Texan deliver a typical stump speech and you’ll hear quite a few dire assessments from Cruz about nearly everything.

But as a rule, when politicians address small children, they dial it down a notch. It made a Cruz event in New Hampshire the other day that much more noteworthy.

[Cruz said,] “The Obama economy is a disaster. Obamacare is a train wreck. And the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind – the whole world’s on fire!”

Julie Trant, a child in the audience, took this literally. “The world’s on fire?” she asked.

“The world is on fire, yes,” said Cruz, not missing a beat as the crowd chuckled. “Your world is on fire.”

Let’s note that the child in this story is just three years old. During the event, she was sitting on her mother’s lap.

Cruz quickly added, however, “But you know what? Your mommy’s here, and everyone’s here to make sure that the world you grow up in is even better.”

Let’s unpack this one:

  1. The “Obama economy,” in reality, is not a disaster. On the contrary, the president’s economic agenda ended the Great Recession, turned the economy around, and created the strongest job growth since the 1990s.
  2. The Affordable Care Act is not “a train wreck.” On the contrary, the ACA is actually succeeding beautifully, exceeding the expectations of many optimists.
  3. The whole world is not “on fire,” at least not any more than usual.
  4. Telling a three-year-old child, “Your world is on fire” is probably inappropriate at any time, but it’s especially unsettling when it’s wrong.
  5. Telling that same child that Republicans are going to “make sure that the world you grow up in is even better” is odd phrasing. “Even better” usually follows “things are good,” not “things are horrible.”

The child’s mother, for what it’s worth, describes herself as “a huge Ted Cruz supporter” and said during a radio interview this morning that she describes the senator as “Uncle Cruz” to her daughter.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Madow Blog, March 16, 2015

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, Fearmongering, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Hoping No One Would Notice”: Scott Brown Tries To Fake His Way Through A Debate

About 20 years ago, there was a great episode of “Cheers,” featuring a city councilman who goes to the bar to ask voters for support. “Kevin Fogarty, City Council. I hope I have your vote on election day,” he says. Frasier Crane asks, “And why exactly should I vote for you, Mr. Fogarty?”

The councilman replies, “Well, because I’m a hard worker, and I take a stand.” Crane adds, “On what, exactly?” “The issues of the day,” Fogarty replies. “Which are?” Crane asks. “The things that concern you and your family – the most,” the councilman concludes.

The folks in the bar thought this was a great answer, failing to notice that the candidate clearly had nothing of substance to say, and was simply faking his way past the questions, hoping no one would notice.

The “Cheers” episode came to mind last night watching Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) debate former Sen. Scott Brown (R) in New Hampshire. At one point, for example. moderator Chuck Todd asked about climate change – Brown believes some of the crisis is “natural” – and pressed the candidates on how best to reduce carbon emissions.

“I’m not going to talk about whether we’re going to do something in the future,” Brown replied, apparently confused about the purpose of a political campaign.

When Todd asked the Republican to explain the metrics he’d use to determine whether the U.S./Mexico border is secure, Brown replied, “You know it’s secure when people don’t come across it.”

Remember, border security is one of the issues Brown claims to care the most about.

All of which led the challenger to make a striking claim.

Scott Brown’s strategy in his New Hampshire Senate campaign has focused on claims that securing the border would prevent Islamic State militants from crossing into the United States. But when asked on Tuesday for evidence, Brown denied he ever made such statements.

“With respect, I did not say that – what I have said is ISIS is real,” Brown, a Republican, said during the first televised debate of the New Hampshire Senate race…. “Is there a possibility?” he added. “It’s been raised that there are opportunities for people to come through that border. What are their intentions, I’m not sure, but they have made it very clear that they want to plant a flag in the White House.”

He added, “I’m not fear mongering.”

In reality, Brown’s denials about his claims are plainly incorrect. It was literally just last week that the Massachusetts Republican told voters, “[W]e have a border that’s so porous that anyone can walk across it. I think it’s naive to think that people aren’t going to be walking through here who have those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist. And yet we do nothing to secure our border.”

His claims were wrong on the substance, and for him to deny making these comments only adds insult to injury.

Sabrina Siddiqui added, “Brown has suggested on multiple occasions that ISIS terrorists could cross the southern U.S. border. Just last month, Brown raised the theory during an interview with Fox News.”

As for the “Cheers” episode, it’s probably worth noting that Kevin Fogarty ended up losing his election.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 22, 2014

October 23, 2014 Posted by | ISIS, Republicans, Scott Brown | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Gosh, Can You Imagine?”: Scott Brown Sees Mitt Romney As An Ebola Repellent

Ordinarily, candidates for major public offices get better as campaigns progress. The improvements tend to be organic – politicians do more interviews, make more appearances, deliver more speeches, and answer more questions, and the process hones their skills. Practice makes perfect.

Scott Brown, however, is one of those rare candidates who defies the odds. As the only politician in the country who’s run in three separate U.S. Senate campaigns in four years, one might assume he’d be the sharpest and most pitch-perfect candidate in America.

And yet, the Republican is arguably getting worse. Brown has gone from suggesting terrorists will strike by sneaking through Mexico with Ebola to arguing that Mitt Romney could stop Ebola with his amazing Romney-esque talents.

Scott Brown told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade Friday that Ebola wouldn’t be a problem for America if Mitt Romney had won in 2012.

“Gosh can you imagine if Mitt was the president right now?” Brown said. “He was right on Russia, he was right on Obamacare, he was right on the economy. And I guarantee you we would not be worrying about Ebola right now and, you know, worrying about our foreign policy screw ups.”

Clearly, all of our assumptions about candidates getting better with practice need to be revised. Brown’s on-air comments may position him to lead the Mitt Romney Fan Club in whichever state Brown ends up living in next, but they’re not the words of a sensible political observer.

The pitch itself defies rational thought. Even putting aside the substantive inanity, Brown isn’t supposed to be running out playing the role of Romney surrogate, making the case for the failed candidate’s alleged greatness; Brown is ostensibly running his own campaign – in a state Romney lost.

But even putting that aside, Romney wasn’t right about Russia. It’s hard to say whether Romney was “right on Obamacare” given that Romney created the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act before deciding he no longer liked his successful accomplishment. We know with certainty, however, that Romney wasn’t “right on the economy.”

As for the notion that Romney could have stopped Ebola, I’d love hear more about the former one-term governor’s expertise in infectious diseases.

It seemed the politicization of Ebola couldn’t get more ridiculous. Scott Brown found a way.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 20, 2014

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Ebola, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Learning From History”: What Can Brown Do For You? (Not A Damn Thing!)

In New Hampshire, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is hitting Republican opponent and Massachusetts reject Scott Brown hard on his backward energy policies:

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is turning the focus to energy this week. Shaheen’s campaign today released a report highlighting votes her Republican opponent, Scott Brown, has taken on energy policy that she says will take New Hampshire in the wrong direction. And tomorrow, the state Democratic Party will host Massachusetts lawmakers and a New Hampshire energy expert to discuss Brown’s energy record…

While energy hasn’t been a central issue to the campaign thus far, both candidates have outlined positions on the topic.

At an energy forum in Concord last month, Brown touted an “all of the above” approach that includes support for nuclear, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. He has continually called for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the U.S.

Shaheen shouldn’t fail to point out that Brown’s views on energy are obviously influenced by one of the darkest forces in American politics:

Karl Rove is also lusting after a Brown win in the Granite State. If New Hamsphire voters judge candidates by the company they keep, they will judge Brown as harshly as Keith Olbermann did four years ago.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I hope that New Hampshire voters have learned from history.

 

By: D. R. Tucker, Washington Monthly Political Animal, October 19, 2014

October 20, 2014 Posted by | Energy, Politics, Scott Brown | , , , , | Leave a comment

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