Marco Rubio and the problem of words and their meanings

I’m not a historian of American politics, but I pay a fair bit of attention to what goes on, and I honestly can’t think of any primary candidate who’s gotten more media traction without winning a single contest, or really having any expectations of winning any in the near future, than Marco Rubio. This is a guy who came in third in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, and is now preparing to declare victory if he finishes as low as third in South Carolina, but nonetheless he’s regularly treated as a, if not the, front runner for the GOP nomination. Part of that has to do with his accumulation of high profile endorsements from establishment Republicans who are desperate to derail Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, but part of it seems just to be our media’s own wishful thinking. Maybe, and this is a crazy thought I just had, but maybe we should wait until the guy actually wins something before we anoint him the next POTUS?

OK, with that rant out of the way, I have to say something about this:

He saved his harshest words for Obama, who he called “the worst president in 35 years” and “a bad commander in chief.”

“He’s gutting our military. That’s not an exaggeration,” Rubio said.

“We don’t need a Department of Education,” he added, to great applause from the audience. “We need a military.”

I’m sure this is part of Rubio’s standard stump speech, because the human brain can only memorize so many lines by rote, but I would pay real money (at least $20 and maybe as much as $25), if any member of our intrepid press corps would ask Rubio how Obama is gutting the military. Because this is what “gutting our military” looks like outside of the hermetically sealed no-fact zone that is the Republican primary:

bi_graphics_millitary-budget-compare-chart-2
via BusinessInsider

This is where standard defense spending debunking requires me to point out that the United States spends vastly more on its military than it does on education, health and welfare, non-lethal foreign aid, and on and on and on, combined. But my real question is this: how much more money does Marco Rubio think the US military needs before it will be able to knock off a gang of guys who mostly carry AK-47s and drive around in Toyota pick-up trucks? Because I have to say, if ~$600 billion ain’t cutting it, maybe we should just scrap the whole operation and start over.

It’s not a lack of US military spending that prevents us from eradicating ISIS, it’s the fact that eradicating ISIS is a very complicated operation that actually doesn’t ultimately depend on our military strength. Also too, we should consider the fact that the Pentagon itself prefers to spend most of whatever money it gets on toys like trillion-dollar aircraft that don’t work and modernizing the country’s nuclear arsenal instead of spending it on things that might be slightly more relevant to defeating a group that doesn’t have an air force and can’t be nuked without causing World War III. I don’t expect Marco Rubio and his friends in the New American Century* to get that or even particularly want to get it, but for shit’s sake, can’t some reporter press him directly on the fact that it is, objectively, a huge exaggeration to say that Barack Obama has “gutted our military”?

rubio announce
Marco Rubio’s campaign is a project to bring about a new American century, if you catch my meaning

Hell, guys, PolitiFact has already done the work for you! Just go ask the guy about it, to his face! And don’t let him revert to his original programming canned stump speech when he answers! I know you’re all desperate for a “normal” Republican to challenge Trump, but that doesn’t mean you should just stop questioning whatever Rubio says.

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Author: DWD

writer, blogger, lover, fighter

3 thoughts

  1. I remember a few budget battles ago when an insufficiently large increase in military spending was painted as a cut.

    Is A New American Century related to Project For The New American Century?

    1. Not in any formal way. But Rubio has a lot of the PNAC crowd in his corner and the similarity is just too perfect to be circumstance in my opinion.

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