Sunday Funnies: Marco Rubio And Chris Wallace Reenact Iraq Version Of ‘Who’s On First’

Last week the nation marveled to the spectacle of Jeb Bush fumbling what must have been the most highly anticipated question that he could possibly have been asked in his nascent campaign for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America: Knowing what is known now, would you have authorized an invasion of Iraq?

Bush responded that he thought his brother George had made the correct decision given the available intelligence. That, of course, was not the question he was asked. So in the days following the flub, Bush claimed to have misheard the question, but still gave multiple different answers before finally admitting that he would not have ordered an invasion if he knew what he knows now.

Marco Rubio

For Marco Rubio, that ought to have been an object lesson in tackling this otherwise softball question. But for some reason, the freshman senator managed to do in three minutes what it took Bush five days to do: make an utter ass of himself. In an exchange on the decidedly friendly territory of Fox News Sunday (video below), Rubio engaged in a painfully comical routine with host Chris Wallace wherein he repeatedly failed to grasp the nature of the question he was being asked. Here is just a portion of that train wreck:

WALLACE: Was it a mistake? Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?
RUBIO: It’s two different — it wasn’t — I —
WALLACE: I’m asking you to —
RUBIO: Yes, I understand, but that’s not the same question.
WALLACE: But that’s the question I’m asking you. Was it a mistake to go to war?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq, because at the time, he was told —
WALLACE: I’m not asking you that. I’m asking you —
RUBIO: In hindsight.
RUBIO: Well, the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there.
WALLACE: So, was it a mistake or not?
RUBIO: But I wouldn’t characterize it — but I don’t understand the question you’re asking, because the president —
WALLACE: I’m asking you, knowing — as we sit here in 2015 —
RUBIO: No, but that’s not the way presidents — a president cannot make decision on what someone might know in the future.
WALLACE: I understand. But that’s what I’m asking you. Was it a mistake?
RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he was provided as president.

Well, that clears that up. Is Rubio really that dense or was he he just desperate to avoid criticizing George Bush? Wallace gave him ample opportunity to craft a response that included support for Bush as well as the obvious acknowledgement that no president should invade a country without airtight justification. Rubio kept trying to answer a question that Wallace had not asked, despite Wallace repeatedly restating his actual question. And it isn’t as if this were a surprise, gotcha question (like what magazines do read read?). It is a question that has been in the news for a week.

Why is it so hard for Republicans to concede that wars should not be started unless there are provable threats to our national interest? This sort of obtuse defiance of common sense is what makes people convinced that the GOP is a party of war mongers who will launch into battle on the slightest whim. It reinforces the widespread impression that they are lackeys to the defense industry and others who profit off of war, including those whose profits are political rather than financial.

Elsewhere in the interview, Wallace raised Rubio’s campaign theme of “21st century ideas” and asked him to talk about them. That would ordinarily be a perfect opportunity to drop a campaign ad into an interview. However, Rubio dodged any reference to new ideas saying only that “the balance of power in the world has shifted” because of “autocratic governments in Russia and China” and “rogue states like North Korea and Iran.” Right, because none of them were around in the 20th century.

When Wallace pressed him to reveal his actual new ideas to address those allegedly new problems, Rubio eventually complied saying that “we need to cut [tax] rates” and improve the education system. Those, of course, address only domestic problems that have no bearing on the foreign affairs he had just raised. Not to mention that neither of those “ideas” can be coherently described as “new.”

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If this is a taste of what Rubio’s campaign will be offering in the coming months, it can be safely assumed that he isn’t going far. But then Bush has already flubbed some of the same questions and the rest of the GOP pack has even less foreign policy experience than these two flounders.

This election cycle promises to be an entertaining romp with plenty of twists and turns. It should be serialized as a reality TV show a la The Amazing (Presidential) Race. I, for one, can’t wait for the debates to see who is voted out of the clown car next.


10 thoughts on “Sunday Funnies: Marco Rubio And Chris Wallace Reenact Iraq Version Of ‘Who’s On First’

  1. This item has been posted to MMFA’s Rubio thread at 8:11p. CDT with you title as the tease

  2. My god, the republicans just keep proving beyond a shadow of a doubt, they are not ready for prime time. Of all the clowns in the clown car, I would think that an argument could be made that Bush, Rubio, Walker and Paul would be at the top of the list. Well, maybe not Rubio but he’s fun to talk about. Everyone else has too much baggage or no name recognition or only appeal to a small section of the republican party. But these four can’t really think they are presidential material with all the gaffs they’ve made or are making.

    Let’s recap:

    Bush has to know, as you stated, that the question would come up. Anyone in his position, you’d think, would have had a much more substantial and REHEARSED answer that would just flow off the tongue and would be so comfortable talking about it that soon it would be less of an issue. The albatross is not only still around his neck, it’s getting heavier and is really starting to stink. Even republicans might be staying home if he’s the nominee.

    Rubio is the epitome of a second stringer. He hasn’t been on the national stage long enough to recognize when he’s made a gaff or is about to. He should have been ready for the same question and now all the republican nominees can expect the same question thanks to these two losers. He doesn’t possess the gravitas and probably never will to ever be considered a serious contender for the most powerful person on the planet. He had the perfect opportunity to help the republicans issue with Hispanic voters but flip-flopped on the immigration issue sealing his fate as just another republican who refuses to see the future. There’s also the bottle of water thingy.

    Walker’s tenure as Gov of Wisconsin isn’t something he should refer to as his experience as an executive whose had to work with others. The state was hemorrhaging jobs during his union busting agenda while bordering states were growing thanks to his “leadership”. Voter apathy kept him in office. (Along with the crooks in his administration.) The Koch brothers may be all that keeps him in it for a while but will probably become his own albatross. He has also visited six foreign countries and says that is why he is more qualified than others in the arena of foreign policy. Really? I hope he says that in a national debate. Still, he actually has a decent chance to be the nominee. Clown car indeed.

    Paul should try and act like he’s not doing us a favor by letting us listen to him talk. He doesn’t have any leadership qualities I can see and seems to be in it only for what it’ll do for him. His ego is larger than even most other politicians, he’s smug and he thinks he knows everything. He has civil rights issues, is most likely a misogynist and doesn’t seem to be much different than your typical, run-of-the-mill republican. Still not sure he has written any speeches without plagiarizing them. The racial issues his father has may yet become a real thorn in his side. His foreign policy regarding wars and his reluctance to engage militarily in other countries business is his only redeeming quality. (But he really needs to kill that thing on his head. Just saying.)

    With this crop of clowns, I’m surprised Clinton doesn’t have a more substantial lead in the polls. But it’s early. More gaffs are sure to come for our entertainment.

    • Nice synopsis, Bigtoe. I think the nominee will be Walker for several reasons: the Koch bros., having won the recall, and as the last man standing. Ultimately to lose to Clinton which goes without saying.

      • ** Vote for Charlie McCarthy **
        If we must have a dummy, let us have a good one.

  3. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Don’t these people understand English? The question is pretty straight forward, “If we knew then what we know now (that there were no WMD in Iraq) would it have been wrong to invade Iraq? What is there not to understand? SERIOUSLY!

    • Jared, they are playing this game because they want to prevaricate (suggest they would not have invaded Iraq if they knew there were no WMD’s, so as to placate sensible people, while suggesting that it was entirely correct to invade Iraq). Once one of them gets into the White House, their position will become unequivocal – the invasion of Iraq was correct and a noble venture, only fucked up by that coward Obama, and we need to re-engage, in particular we have plans to “regime change” Iran. If we are so stupid as to elect one of the GOP clowns, that is PRECISELY what will happen.

  4. Rubio is correct. It was not a mistake. It was Bush’s intention all along to invade Iraq, and his people milked the intelligence until they could come up with a plausible case for it. Who cares that the truth would come out eventually. By then the deed would be done and then you could engage in the “Let’s not Monday morning quarterback, here” bullshit. Bush’s team had a fixed goal in mind (invade Iraq and depose Saddam), and they were going to do that come what may. It was just a matter of doctoring and massaging the evidence. When the intelligence people did give Cheney the lies he was asking for, he went and browbeat them and intimidated them until he got what he wanted. This is NOT supposition, rather a matter of historical fact.

    • Everyone who was paying attention at the time knew that Bush and Cheney were lying the country into a war. Two truly awful people who never should have been anywhere near positions of power.

  5. “Why is it so hard for Republicans to concede that wars should not be started unless there are provable threats to our national interest? “ I thought that the basis for war was somewhat more limited than that. I thought that, first of all, according to our Constitution, Congress has the duty to declare war, and second, that war should only be declared when there is an actual threat to our actual country, not just our “interest.” Similar to the law that says you can kill a person in self-defense, but not pre-emptively, if you happen to think that he might endanger you at some point in the future.

    The duty of Congress to declare war should be a bulwark against engaging in war carelessly. If our nation is actually under attack, it will be a simple matter for Congress to vote to declare war. But if there is not a clear cause, if the war is political rather than necessary, Congress will hesitate to vote to send people to die, on the record and in public. That’s why “authorization for the use of force” if the president feels like it later is so pernicious. You can vote for war without actually voting for war. No, declare war against a specific enemy, or do not fight.

  6. Chris Wallace forgot momentarily that this isn’t “news” he’s doing, it’s “entertainment” and when it comes to GOPers with presidential aspirations, softball questions are way too hard. Try Nerf balls first, and if that’s too tricky, just let ’em read from their own script and edit in the “questions” after. They might as well do their so-called debates that way too, since their base voters won’t know the difference anyway.

    Not to mention the fact that these people are incapable of self-awareness or admitting mistakes… ever!

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