[guest post by Dana]
At the GOP debate Saturday night, there was a brutal exchange between Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. During it, Rubio made a repeated observation and criticism of President Obama. It is a statement he has practiced many times, using it not only on the debate stage but on the campaign trail. And it’s an observation I agree with:
“Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world,”
Rubio repeated a variation of the same line at least four more times during the exchange.
Seeing an opening, Christie ignored the content of Rubio’s observation and criticism, and instead pounced on him as someone inexperienced, unprepared, and not able to do anything more than parrot himself, let alone handle the presidency:
“Look at this! There it is again! The guy, he doesn’t know what to say. He’s a robot. He’s got his 25-second speech. He’s got his canned answer followed by the 25-second campaign. There it is! There it is! You see it!”
Rubio looked like a chump, Christie looked like a bully. Because politics.
Anyway, when I watched the exchange, I wondered, instead of bulldozing Rubio, why didn’t Christie agree with his basic statement – that this president has indeed, willfully and with great intent sought to cut America down to size and transform our country into something unrecognizable? Certainly every presidential candidate would be able to acknowledge the truth of this, no? Given that I hadn’t heard or read anything about the exchange other than criticism of Rubio, it was a surprise to hear Rush talking about it today from a different perspective. One that echoed – and answered – my questions. While I don’t think it would have necessarily changed anything about the debate, it was good to hear something I had been thinking about delved into and fleshed out.
Rush first considered the few candidates who have been unafraid to voice their own similar criticisms of the president:
There are only two people that I’m aware of that are making a consistent point of this. Rubio, actually, is atop of this. Rubio and Cruz are the only two in the entire Republican field. Carly Fiorina may have said something like this occasionally. With Rubio, it’s a theme. With Cruz, it’s close to a theme. And the real question is: Why do the other Republicans in the field disagree?
Why do they not say it themselves, that Obama is doing what he’s doing on purpose and by design? That is a brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed plan to transform America into something it was not founded to be. This is something crucially important to Republican voters. To people inside the Beltway, it’s kind of a chuckle. “There they go again, those right wingers!” To people inside the Beltway, to the elites, to the establishment, Obama’s just the latest Democrat to come along.
He’s no different than any other Democrat. “It’s just the Democrat Party, and they have a president.” They don’t see the country in crisis in any way. Not because of the economy, not because of immigration, not because of foreign policy. In no way are we in a crisis. And, as such, they don’t see what Obama’s doing as anything except maybe a young, inexperienced — this is Christie’s point — incompetent boob. Well, that’s not who Obama is. Rubio’s opponents are using it to disqualify him. “See! Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, and Rubio’s the same kind of guy, just a few short years in the Senate running for president. We can’t afford it.
Then the governors on stage were put under the microscope:
“Meanwhile, the governors! We’re the guys. We’re the tough guys. We’ve had to make tough decisions,” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The governors will not admit who Obama is. The governors will not admit it, and Trump does not agree that Obama is purposely doing this.
And why wouldn’t they admit that this is indeed who Obama is, and has been since Day One? Why not jump at the opportunity before 13 million viewers to contrast their own vision for the country with Obama’s progressive transformation of America? Because it would have cost them. And they knew it:
They cannot agree that Obama’s doing it on purpose. They do not dare say that Obama’s doing it on purpose because they have all worked with Barack Obama, in one way or another, every one of these governors, many of them, and even a lot of Republicans in the House and Senate have worked with Obama to advance certain elements of the agenda.
We’ve worked with Obama on the spending bills. We have worked with Obama, or we want to, on amnesty and immigration. There are some on the Republican side who want to work with Obama when it comes to issues on the so-called War on Women. But when you have worked with Obama, when you have asked Obama to come to your state, and when you have embraced Obama and done everything you can to get assistance from Obama, well, you can’t turn around and then say Obama is purposefully trying to transform the country ’cause that makes you look like an idiot.
And worse, it would make them look like hypocrites who are guilty by association. (Of course, had the GOP Republicans not spent the entirety of Obama’s presidency betraying conservatives by consistently surrendering to the Democrats and compromising on the issues most important to the voters, there wouldn’t be any guilt by association.) But as it is, there is virtually no longer any daylight between GOP Republicans and Democrats. They’ve done it to themselves.