Newt Gingrich said a variety of odd things last night, but this quote stood out for me:
"This is an administration which, as long as you're America's enemy, you're safe. You know, the only people you've got to worry about is if you're an American ally."
I'm curious if anyone, even Gingrich, believes this. Sure, Republicans feel obligated to criticize President Obama on every possible issue, and the debate audience in Arizona even applauded the disgraced former House Speaker's strange rhetoric.
But for those inclined to take the facts seriously, the notion that the only folks who are "safe" under the Obama administration are America's enemies isn't just wrong, it reflects a detachment from reality that's almost unsettling.
Just how many U.S. enemies should Obama be expected to kill or capture before this sort of nonsense stops? I'd largely assumed the strike on Osama bin Laden and the fall of Muammar Gadhafi would have put this to rest. Indeed, ABC News ran a piece in September, "The Terrorist Notches on Obama's Belt," noting the "list of senior terrorists killed during the Obama presidency." It's a rather lengthy list.
The administration's detractors from the left have far more legitimate complaints, raising concerns about the use of drones, civilian casualties, and restrictions on civil liberties. If these critics push for a debate about the costs of Obama's counter-terrorism successes, that strikes me as a debate well worth having.
But when Newt Gingrich, who has literally no experience at all in the areas of national security and/or military policy, tells Americans that only America's enemies are safe under Obama, the man should simply be laughed out of the room.
I'd also note that the entire discussion about international affairs in last night's debate was disturbing, with each candidate more eager than the last to seem desperate for more wars, ignorant about current events, and pandering to the worst instincts of their party's base.
This Mitt Romney line seemed especially incoherent: "This president should have put in place crippling sanctions against Iran, he did not."
He didn't? Jeffrey Goldberg, a conservative, had a piece this week noting the real-world circumstances. Maybe someone should send Romney a copy.
It is precisely because the Obama Administration has constructed a sanctions program without precedent, and because the Obama Administration has funded and supported multinational cyber-sabotage efforts against the Iranian nuclear program, that Iran is panicking and lashing-out.
It is not only Israeli leaders who have doubted Obama's commitment to stop Iran's nuclear program; Iran's leaders themselves didn't take Obama seriously. After all, George W. Bush labeled Iran's government a member of the axis of evil, but then did nothing much at all to thwart its ambitions. But Obama, while avoiding rhetorical drama, has actually done more to stop Iran than the Bush Administration ever did.