Ted Cruz says that if one of his daughters as a young adult joins the Navy and her boat strays into the territorial waters of an unfriendly country whose own Navy then holds the boat and crew, he would want the president to torpedo diplomatic discussions for their release by speaking belligerently about it on national television hours after the incident began.*
I can’t remember which network I watched the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, but one of the post-speech commentators was Hugh Hewitt, a winger talk radio host whom I had never heard of until he participated as a questioner in one of the earlier Republican debates this cycle. Hewitt began his commentary by saying that the speech seemed very off to him because, well, first and foremost, Obama had been silent about the 10 sailors being held by Iran on their boats in the Persian Gulf since that morning. Hewitt was shocked. And angry.
Which caused me to wonder whether it had occurred to him that, y’know, intense diplomatic discussion for the prompt release of the sailors might be underway. Or whether it had occurred to him but that he thought the sailors’ quick release wasn’t as important as public, verbal belligerence toward an unfriendly country.
Not sure about that; I haven’t followed Hewitt’s post-release-of-the-sailors-the-next-morning comments on the matter. And anyway, Hewitt isn’t running for president. Or for anything, to my knowledge, other than a radio-ratings sweepstake victory.
Ted Cruz, of course, is running for president. I watched the debate last night for about a half-minute. Literally; about 30 seconds. That was the half-minute or so after one of the hosts asked Cruz his first question, something about the economy, and Cruz was beginning his answer by saying that he would answer the question about the economy in a moment, but first wanted to express his outrage that Obama had not mentioned the sailors Iran was holding in Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf right during the very hour when Obama was addressing the country on the state of the union. This was nearly 48 hours after the sailors had been released after being held on their own ships for about 24 hours.
I read recently that Cruz has expressed regret that he did not serve in the military. But the fact is that he did not serve in the military. If he wins his party’s nomination and begins campaigning at VFW halls and events, Clinton or Sanders, the Dem nominee, should mention when campaigning at veterans events and meeting halls that Cruz thinks that the wellbeing of military personnel is trivial as compared with political opportunism. As president, Cruz would rather score political points with tough-on-Communism-er-Mullahism bellicosity than secure the quick release of military personnel held then-only- briefly by an unfriendly nation whose territorial waters or land the military personnel had accidentally breached.
And that he’s now made clear that if an unfriendly country’s Naval vessel strays into U.S. territorial waters, he as president would shrug and politely allow them to go on their way.
In a race in which the top two Republican contenders are so very casual about the wellbeing of deployed members of the military—when Trump called John McCain a loser because he had been captured by the enemy in Vietnam when his plane was shot down, he insulted not only McCain but also (just as examples, from WWII) soldiers captured in the Philippines who died during the Bataan Death March and those who survived it, the paratroopers killed or taken prisoner after being dropped behind enemy lines in preparation for the D-Day invasion or the invasion of Leyte Island or Luzon Island or earlier at Guadalcanal, the Marines who died on Iwo Jima, those killed or captured during the Battle of the Bulge, the bomber and torpedo pilots killed or captured after taking off from one of the four aircraft carriers during the Battle of Midway, the many killed when their submarine or ship was torpedoed in the Pacific, those killed or captured as they stormed the beaches at Normandy, those killed in North Africa under Patton’s command, and so many, many more—this is a party whose base apparently does not actually care very much after all about the welfare of deployed military personnel.
The base’s standard bearers, in any event, have other priorities: their own political ambition. Deployed members of the military, current or former, are just like everyone and everything else. They’re fair game as collateral damage in the service of others’ political career advancement.
In the space of about 30 seconds last night, I’d seen more than enough.
*Title edited for clarity. (Minor editing elsewhere, as well.) 1/15 at 7:53 p.m.
I guess you’re unfamiliar with the thoughts of the Democrats/Clintons largest donor, Haim Saban. He makes Cruz look like McGovern when it comes to military intervention in the Middle East.
I would hope that Haim Saban and Hillary Clinton both recognize the difference between military intervention or aggression in the Middle East and securing the quick and safe release of military personnel held by an unfriendly country, in this instance precipitated by an inadvertent error by the military personnel, even if Ted Cruz does not.
But you’re right, Little John, that Cruz is the most moderate of the Republicans on foreign policy, which may be why he thought that conflating the Navy sailor situation with broad interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East, for purposes of last night’s debate, was a good idea for him.
Can we just say that this is the worst crop of presidential candidates ever. The worst. Can it get any worse?
It will however be the most entertaining ever if it is Trump versus Clinton. Entertaining in that sick sort of way that you want to stare at the car accident.
I LOVE Bernie Sanders, Matt. And I think he will be the next president.
Not sure how he managed to enlist the assistance of Chelsea Clinton, but she helped a lot this week.
” It will however be the most entertaining ever if it is Trump versus Clinton. ”
I’m literally praying every night for a Trump / Palin ticket. The entertainment value would go thru the roof , making “Idiocracy” look tame in comparison. Additionally , it would surely mark some kind of ultimate bottom for this country , from which things couldn’t help but improve going forward.
That said , like Bev , I’d be much happier , and still plenty entertained , if It’s Trump vs Bernie , instead of Clinton.
Bernie is the best of the bunch, but will have a major marketing problem in that he does not know how to. Plus, the Clinton’s will find a way to destroy him.
Matt that is the smart money bet. But anyone following the Republican side of this knows that the smart money is scrambling to cover their short positions on Trump. And people who bet that Bernie would never crack 20% or that O’Malley at any odds was a better bet are reconsidering their positions today. I don’t know that anybody will actually lose money betting on Hillary. But a lot of people will lose money literally selling Bernie short in the betting markets. I remain fascinated, nothing about 2016 has unfolded the way smart betting would have directed you in June 2015. On either side.
I mean Christ a bunch of people bet more that $100 million on Jeb!. Boy they are feeling sick to their stomachs today.
I am also a big fan of Sanders, but I believe his nomination will result in a disaster for the progressive movement in the US as I seriously doubt the American public will vote a socialist(read commie, red, etc.) to be POTUS.
“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
You are probably right. This will turn out the same as McCarthy and McGovern. At least it is not McSanders.
Stop! I command you to stop! All of you Baby Boomers! I mean it!
No one CARES ABOUT THAT ANYMORE. Except Baby Boomers and Silent Gernerationers who think OTHER PEOPLE DO.
Okay, some people do care. The Kochs and lots of hedge fund folks and such care a lot—not about the label but about the policies he proposes.
Bernie Sanders won’t win against the Republican nominee? Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are such appealing candidates to a majority of the public? Have you seen the polls in matchups between Sanders and each of the Republicans?
If you don’t stop this RIGHT NOW I’m never going to speak to any of you again. I’m going to take my ball and go to the local Bernie Sanders campaign office.
I offered both Trump and Christie to the Iranians in exchange for the hostages; but the Iranians wanted twice the amount of money for them to take both.
Only twice the amount of money? It was a bargain.
Bev, Bernie won’t beat Hillary. Not in million years.
Matt, once again I will say that is the smart money bet. Then again nobody in his right mind would have bet on the state of the race being where it is right now. And as I texted my Bernie leaning nephew “Bernie creamed Hillary tonight”. Which as a judgement on the first hour of the debate was I think right on. Though Hillary came back a bit once they pivoted to foreign policy.
But Christ almighty appealing to FDR and Truman against Sanders on Single Payer was just silly. Both tactically and historically. And who on Earth thought that Chelsea was the right messenger the other day? She went right from graduate school to a six figure Wall Street job that she temporarily turned in for a $600,000 NBC job. None of which based on her last name or connections. People my age have fond memories of high school age Chelsea, why the Clintons figure out this translated as some deep well of affection for 30 year old Chelsea escapes me.
Yes I would put money down that Clinton will be the next President. But it is not nearly the odds on bet it was a few months ago and only remains such a good bet because the R’s have managed to savage all electibility arguments. I predict Bernie will will at least one of the next two contests. And it will take a combination of the Southern Firewall plus Superdelegates already in the bag to put paid to Bernie. But God is this fascinating.
Please don’t get mad at me for stating what I believe.
You do not have to convince me how revolting the Rep candidates are; but when you look at their policies and ignore the vile things they say, there is not a whole lot of difference between them and McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan. And quite frankly, at least half of the Rep voters in this country use the same language on a regular basis, and certainly endorse the same policies.
The reason Sanders cannot win a general election, imho, is that his socialist tag will bring out the other half of the Rep voters in this country. Meanwhile, unlike Clinton(her sex) and Obama(his color), Sanders has not large demographic group to come out and vote for him. And a lot of Dems are confused by the socialist tag also.
I hope I am wrong, but I know what kind of country we live in.