[dc]“A[/dc]ny jackass can kick a barn down, but it took a carpenter to build it,” House Speaker Sam Rayburn famously observed.
The GOP keeps kicking down barns that President Barack Obama and the Democrats built. At the same time, the Republicans want us to think they’re the better barn builders.
They haven’t given up on razing the Affordable Care Act barn. But the GOP is also trying to level the president’s foreign policy barn, especially the stall marked “Putin” for its occupant, that orneriest of Russian mules.
Of course, the GOP isn’t all that big on showing us the blueprints for their alternative barn to the ACA.
At the same time, I guess the Republicans figure it’s enough just to claim that Vlad the Invader wouldn’t have dared stomp on Ukraine if one of their tough guys – Mitt Romney for instance – were commander-in-chief.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was on Fox News a while back and claimed that Obama "is creating an air of permissiveness" that is encouraging bully boy Putin.
“We do need to show long-term resolve," he chided.
Hoo, boy! They call Tennessee the Volunteer State because a ton of Tennesseans volunteered for the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War.
Corker is almost 62. Vietnam was the war of his youth. So surely a guy who thinks we ought to get “show long-term resolve” with the ex-communist Putin volunteered to fight communists in South Vietnam.
He didn’t. Neither did some other sixtyish Republicans who likewise are calling Obama a wimp over Ukraine. Besides Romney, they include the usual suspects -- Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Dick Cheney, among them.
Like Corker, these long-in-the-tooth Red bashers failed to fight Ho’s heathens in their salad days.
Romney cycled through France as a Mormon missionary, though other missionaries of his denomination went to Vietnam.
A butt cyst kept Limbaugh stateside in civvies. Corker, O’Reilly and Cheney went to college.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel went to Vietnam. Both were wounded. Both came home with a chest full of medals, including five Purple Hearts between them.
As they slam the president, the Republicans seem to have come down with a bad case of convenient amnesia over another time Putin pushed around a smaller neighbor.
Six years ago, he sent Russian troops and tanks into little Georgia. That was on President George W. Bush’s watch.
“Yet unlike today, the Putin-led excursion in 2008 completely failed to spark the panicked rhetoric that's become Fox News' trademark since Russian troops crossed over into Ukraine…,” Media Matters recalled. “Notably absent from the 2008 Georgia coverage was relentless finger pointing and blaming the White House for the extreme actions of a foreign leader thousands of miles away. There was also none of the Putin cheerleading that we hear on Fox News today.”
The fact that the GOP’s echo chamber is willing to say nice things about Putin, the ex-KGB guy, is more proof, as if proof were needed, of how deeply the president’s detractors hate him.
Here’s hoping that the ever-tightening economic screws the president put to Russia will ultimately curb Putin’s appetite for gobbling up smaller neighbors. Reuters reported that Putin admitted that sanctions were hurting Russia’s economy. But not crimping critically, he was quick to add. I’d bet the farm they are.
True, the president isn’t a combat veteran or even a military veteran. He thinks sanctions beat a shooting war. Most Americans, including most veterans, I’d wager, don’t want U.S. combat boots on the ground in Ukraine.
Anyway, it seems like more than a few politicians and well-paid pundits who have never faced an enemy on a battlefield are more apt to whoop it up for war that than politicians who have had to dodge enemy bullets.
Full disclosure time: I’m 64. I had a college deferment and a bad back. Go ahead and call it a yellow streak if you wish. But I’m glad I didn’t go to Vietnam. I didn’t cheerlead for the war and didn’t want any of my fellow Americans going to Vietnam. My candidate for president in 1972 flatly opposed the war. “I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in,” said Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D., who as a young man risked swift, violent death at the hands of the enemy many times in World War II.
McGovern earned a coveted Distinguished Flying Cross piloting a B-24 bomber against the Nazis.
“For working in that 1972 campaign, I was called a ‘McGovernite,’” columnist Mark Shields recalled. “That's OK as long as those doing the calling, the Newt Gingriches, the Dick Armeys and the Phil Gramms and the Trent Lotts and the Pat Buchanans and the Tom DeLays -- none of whom, unlike the heroic McGovern, ever answered his nation's call to service -- will agree to call themselves a ‘Nixonite.’"
Shields’ fellow newspaper scribe, the late Mike Royko of Chicago, didn’t mince words about politicians who banged on war drums when they were middle aged, yet assiduously avoided fighting in a war in their youth.
He labeled them “war wimps” -- “chest-thumping right-wingers who are always eager to send someone else to war. But when they had their chance to bloody some commies, they found it convenient to be elsewhere.”
He poured it on: “The Reagan administration has been loaded with missile-rattling heroes who spent the Vietnam War in college or other safe shelters.”
The tradition continues with Corker, Romney, Limbaugh and the rest of the latter-day Republican war wimps.
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