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October 20, 2011 12:30 PM The GOP’s ‘Thank America Last’ crowd

By Steve Benen

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) appeared on Fox News this morning to respond to reports of Moammar Gadhafi’s demise. His first instinct wasn’t to thank American troops, but rather, to thank French troops.

“Today’s not a day to point fingers,” the right-wing Florida senator said. “I’m glad it’s all working out. Ultimately this is about the freedom and liberty of the Libyan people. But let’s give credit where credit is due: it’s the French and the British that led in this fight, and probably even led on the strike that led to Gadhafi’s capture, and, or, you know, to his death.

“So, that’s the first thing. The second thing is, you know, I criticize the president, for, he did the right things, he just took too long to do it and didn’t do enough of it.”

In the mind of this rising Republican star, the American military that helped drive Gadhafi’s regime from power deserves no credit at all. Marco Rubio is comfortable crediting the French, but not American men and women in uniform.

Wow.

Remember hearing about the “blame America first” crowd? Well, say hello to the “thank America last” crowd.

Rubio, by the way, isn’t the only member. In August, when Gadhafi’s government fell, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a joint statement in which the Republicans commended the “British, French, and other allies, as well as our Arab partners, especially Qatar and the UAE.” McCain and Graham eventually said Americans can be “proud of the role our country” played, but nevertheless condemned the administration’s “failure” to act the way the GOP senators wanted.

Republicans hate the president so much, they just can’t bring themselves to credit him for the success of the mission, or even thank American servicemen and women for their service in completing the mission.

I realize Rubio is a reflexive partisan, but even for him, his comments on Fox News this morning were just cheap. When the fear of Obama getting some credit for success is stronger than the satisfaction that comes with Gadhafi’s demise, there’s a problem.

As for Rubio complaining about the way in which Obama’s policy came together, it’s worth noting that the president assembled an international coalition with surprising speed and won approval from the United Nations extremely quickly.

If Rubio and his ilk don’t want to applaud the president for getting the results they claim to have wanted, the least they can do is have the decency to acknowledge the efforts of U.S. troops. Is that really too much to ask from the right?

Update: McCain appeared on CNN this morning and said, “I think the [Obama] administration deserves credit, but I especially appreciate the leadership of the British and French in this in carrying out this success.” Shameless.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

  • mr. irony on October 20, 2011 12:32 PM:

    rubio - anchor baby

  • stormskies on October 20, 2011 12:35 PM:

    Of course .. here come the invention of the negative narratives from the corporate=repiglican media ...

  • Michael on October 20, 2011 12:39 PM:

    Military successes are only won by Republicans. If a Democrat was in charge, it wasn't really successful, and to the extent it was, someone else should get the credit.

  • Brenna on October 20, 2011 12:39 PM:

    The day this idiot gets his comeuppance can't come soon enough for me. Here's a guy whose family benefited from America's generous immigration policies. A family who depended on medicare for serious health problems. Yet he wants to take that all way ALL Americans, in the name of almighty money, higher in power than God. He's right in line with Paul Ryan in terms of scummery.

    I loathe these republicans!

  • Mic on October 20, 2011 12:40 PM:

    Moreover, as I recall, the Repugs were originally critical because they felt we were abandoning an ally (Gaddafi)! Now they "rejoice in the success..." of what they called abandoning an ally.

  • Gandalf on October 20, 2011 12:42 PM:

    At this point in time is there any reason to waste energy and breath on republican horse shit? The real focus has to be constantly on the media for not calling these miscreants out.

  • jjm on October 20, 2011 12:44 PM:

    The G in GOP we now know, stands for "GARBAGE"!

    To think the msm gives these thugs, cheats, liars, crooks and anti-patriots the run of the place is utterly disgusting.

  • Ralph Kramden on October 20, 2011 12:45 PM:

    I think in this particular instance, McCain has it mostly right. It's important to credit the Libyans first for this triumph. The Europeans led this effort, and the USA joined for a minor role. I think Obama himself would want it seen that way.

    It *is* hypocritical of Republicans to have made such a fuss over our role, though, especially if they don't see fit to credit Obama now.

  • Quaker in a Basement on October 20, 2011 12:46 PM:

    As always, the GOP is relentlessly on-message. It's surprising, though, that none of the clowns named above is willing to stray from the prepared message, even to thank American service members.

  • Ron Byers on October 20, 2011 12:46 PM:

    61% of Americans approve of Obama's handling of foreign policy. In this instance he and his team achieved what we all wanted to achieve without putting American boots on the ground and without any American occupation. The British and French dropped the bombs in support of the Libyan people. The whole thing was supported by the American military providing logistics and intelligence.

    I think congratulations are in order for everybody from President Obama to the guy on the Libyan street pulling the trigger. We can't forget that this was truly a Libyan war of independence from Gadhafi. They are the real winners.

    Has anybody else noticed how well Obama and his foreign policy team function. I think a book needs to be written about the remarkable job they are doing. Too bad no journalist wants to report success.

  • Hill Dweller on October 20, 2011 12:54 PM:

    Country First!

  • Joe Buck on October 20, 2011 1:08 PM:

    Unfortunately, President Obama brought this on himself by defying the War Powers Act. Had he officially sought congressional approval, Congress would have been forced to go along (would Republicans really be able to get away with appearing to side with Gaddafi) and it would have been their policy as much as his.

  • Kathryn on October 20, 2011 1:10 PM:

    Just called Rubio's office to register my disgust with his statement on Fox this morning. his number is 202-224-3041, that weasel lacks character in the extreme. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, this reaction from Rubio, McCain, and his Robin, Graham, would create a major flap from every news agency if Bush has been dismissed and criticized in such a fashion by Democrats. Also, hope military members take note of how they were ignored by Republican "leaders".

  • TCinLA on October 20, 2011 1:10 PM:

    I'm sure Marco Rubio and the rest of those traitors will be joining Gadhafi in that Very Hot Place. Too bad it can't be sooner rather than later.

  • DTTM on October 20, 2011 1:14 PM:

    I'm with Gandalf on this one; I loathe the Republicans for what they have done to our country, but I loathe the media even more.

    After all, it is the corporate tv/radio money machine that allows these GOP guys to spout nonsense with impunity, over and over again.

    The media is both cowed by the GOP and their corporate backers, so much so that NPR had one of their freelancer's show cancelled by one of it's stations because the freelancer had the temerity to show up at an OWS event. Fox found out about it, and the rest is history. [read about this story at Thinkprogress]

    Never mind that Mara Liasson is a paid employee of NPR, but is also contributes her political opinions on Fox; the very activity supposedly forbidden by NPR, and for which the unpaid freelancer was punished.

  • June on October 20, 2011 1:17 PM:

    @Joe Buck, surely you jest, right?

    "...(would Republicans really be able to get away with appearing to side with Gaddafi)...."

    The answer is "yes," because the convenient frame provided to them by Frank Luntz and distributed by Fox News, etc. would not be that they were siding with Gadaffi, but that they were standing on the side of Freedom and Liberty (yes, by siding with a dictator, Republicans would have no compunction about selling that line to their largely brain-dead supporters, who cannot get enough of being played for fools.)

  • Kathryn on October 20, 2011 1:17 PM:

    @Joe Buck, totally disagree with you, time was of an essence, the Senate would never have reached a consensus in time to keep Libyan people from being massacured (sp?) by Khhaddafi. There is zero reason to believe, Republicans would have quickly agreed to NATO action, zero.

  • John in TX on October 20, 2011 1:21 PM:

    Republicans hate the president so much, they just can't bring themselves to credit him for the success of the mission, or even thank American servicemen and women for their service in completing the mission.

    What's that the Right's always screaming? Something about "supporting the troops" if I recall.

    "Shameless" isn't a strong enough word for what Rubio, McCain, etc. are.

  • Objective Dem on October 20, 2011 1:25 PM:

    I want a congressman to introduce legislation to rename "French Fries" to "freedom Fries" in honor of the France's assistance.

  • rikyrah on October 20, 2011 1:27 PM:

    why doesn't anyone nail Senator Anchor Baby Rubio about the ' what about if you ain't White, don't you understand ' laws that are popping up all over the country, like the one in Alabama.

  • monocle on October 20, 2011 1:31 PM:

    Easy Steve. Even Charlie Pierce gives props to the French and Brits in this episode.

  • OldUncleDave on October 20, 2011 1:34 PM:

    I remember the good old days, when only Congress had the power "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water".

    Dude, where's my country?

  • Memekiller on October 20, 2011 1:35 PM:

    Is it even worth pointng out the hypocrisy of how anything short of absolute obedience to Bush was seen as putting party above country?

    Look, the GOP rather blatantly puts party above God and country, probably even over racism and guns. The Party is their religion. What is true and moral is dependent only on what is in the Party's intest in real time. If it furthers the faith for the sky to be blue today and pink tomorrow, that's how it is, and every one of the base will be willing to die (or send others to, at least) for whatever color the sky needs to be today.

    I'm not even sure it's a party of the rich and powerful so much as it is that sucking up to the rich and powerful furthers "the cause." and the cause is to further the cause and gain power and/or converts. America losing a war or entering a depression furthers the cause, so they're for it.

    The day to day outrages of lies, hypocrisy and deceit fall on deaf ears. The GOP is a constantly mov target of faithful true believers willing to sacrifice every principle for the principle of winning by any means necessary. It ends when they collapse,a or every single one of us is one of them.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on October 20, 2011 1:39 PM:

    The collection of Republican limp dicks still can't get over the fact that is was Obama's administration and not the cardboard cowboy that got Osama.
    Hey Marco ask your parents what the Spanish word "The Help" (Welfare) that all those Cuban refugees got with no questions asked. Was this ever offered to any other group? I think not . You made it on the back of America's pocketbook . Douchebag

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_American
    From Wikipedia
    In order to provide aid to recently arrived Cuban immigrants, the United States Congress passed the Cuban Adjustment Act in 1966. The Cuban Refugee Program provided more than $1.3 billion of direct financial assistance. They also were eligible for public assistance, Medicare, free English courses, scholarships, and low-interest college loans. Some banks even pioneered loans for exiles who did not have collateral or credit but received help in getting a business loan.

  • Holmes on October 20, 2011 1:41 PM:

    Rubio just released a statement backing off this morning's credit America last strategy. Coward.

  • square1 on October 20, 2011 1:42 PM:

    Marco Rubio has a position. His position is that the U.S. should have led more against Qaddafi. That more U.S. troops should have been in harms way. And that the U.S. should have spent more.

    This is not a position that I agree with, but if Rubio wants to argue the position, he is entitled to do so.

    A legitimate question to ask is, since Congress has the exclusive power to declare war -- and whatever you think of Obama's rationalizations about drone strikes and material support a more robust operation definitely would have required Congress to act -- why didn't Republicans in the House direct the President to lead an expedition ousting Qaddafi? Why didn't Rubio introduce a war resolution in the Senate?

    These are legitimate questions and I'd be shocked if Rubio had a good answer.

    But accusations that Rubio "thanks America last"? Really with this bullshit? These "I'm more patriotic than you are" debates are extremely stupid and childish.

    President Obama CHOSE to have the Brits and the French lead on this one. And even if Rubio's comments are politically motivated, there is nothing wrong with giving the credit, first and foremost, to the people who did the heavy lifting: In this case the Brits and the French.

  • siameesecities on October 20, 2011 1:49 PM:

    @monocle the point is the way GOP is going out of their way to NOT give Obama ANY credit at all, when generally, everything has gone according to the plan, which GOP predicted it wouldn't.

    When my wife and I first heard the news this morning, her first comment was, "This was all possible because Nush set it in blah blah blah" and I said, "No, THIS would have happened faster and better WITHOUT Obama" and she nodded.

    I'm not anything more than a slight political junkie, but it's pathetic that I can predict GOP talking points as if I have the political prowess of Rove (ew).

  • Jose Padilla on October 20, 2011 1:50 PM:

    Joe Buck: "Had he officially sought congressional approval, Congress would have been forced to go along (would Republicans really be able to get away with appearing to side with Gaddafi)"

    They wouldn't have approved it. The Republicans would ask where are we going to get the money from for "Obama's War"? They would want to cut other programs to pay for it, etc. By the time they got finished dithering, the rebels would've been defeated.

  • siameesecities on October 20, 2011 1:51 PM:

    @monocle the point is the way GOP is going out of their way to NOT give Obama ANY credit at all, when generally, everything has gone according to the plan, which GOP predicted it wouldn't.

    When my wife and I first heard the news this morning, her first comment was, "This was all possible because Nush set it in blah blah blah" and I said, "No, THIS would have happened faster and better WITHOUT Obama" and she nodded.

    I'm not anything more than a slight political junkie, but it's pathetic that I can predict GOP talking points as if I have the political prowess of Rove (ew).

  • SYSPROG on October 20, 2011 1:58 PM:

    ONE MORE TIME...how does this square with the GOP's AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM crappola? And for all you war powers people...Obama deliberately worked with NATO. The MOMENT Obama got into office the GOP stuck their heads up the a$$es and pretended NOW they were against the war and spending for the war and it was ALL OBAMA'S FAULT. Now that he's kicking ass (actually thru his whole term...remember the PIRATES???) they WILL NOT give him credit. EVER. Romney came back with his 'it's about TIME' bullpucky. Grassley this morning said 'If Obama had talked to us we would have gotten this done sooner!' They are ALL sanctimonious peckerheads.

  • Holmes on October 20, 2011 2:09 PM:

    square1, the thank America last stuff is irony.

    No one, as far as I can tell, has claimed Rubio didn't have a right to say what he wanted. No one has suggested the French and British didn't play a significant role. Hell, I haven't seen anyone even criticize Rubio's "positions". Although, I don't for a second think the Republicans(Rubio included) actually believed a word they said. It was just the opposite approach of the administration, so they pretended it was the best course of action, which they've consistently done on all policy matters, foreign and domestic, since Obama was sworn in.

    People are simply pointing out the hypocrisy of these Republicans who have pretended any criticism of American foreign policy is tantamount to treason...when a Republican is in the White House.

  • square1 on October 20, 2011 2:11 PM:

    @SYSPROG: Neither the Constitution nor the WPA contain clauses that say "in the event that Congress is governed by a bunch of jackasses, the power to declare war shall be delegated to the Executive".

    I will fully recognize that 99% of elected Republicans are clowns incapable of governing. But such a reality does not give Obama license to ignore the law.

    The fact that Obama was "working with NATO" is irrelevant. The President of the United States simply does not have the Constitutional authority to engage in a military conflict, whether waged directly or by proxy, to overthrow the head of a sovereign nation without Congress granting approval. Even more than in the case of Iraq, Libya posed no imminent threat to the U.S.

  • T2 on October 20, 2011 2:12 PM:

    For Rubio and McCain....heres info from 3 years ago:

    In a further sign of warming ties, U.S. President George W. Bush called Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi on Monday to voice satisfaction at a U.S.-Libya deal to compensate victims of terrorism, the White House said.

    Way to go GOP

  • Holmes on October 20, 2011 2:24 PM:

    T2, during the inevitable McGramp interviews on this topic over the coming house(days), the station should throw up the video of him, Graham and Lieberman playing grab ass with Gadhafi in early '09.

  • Josef K on October 20, 2011 2:29 PM:

    When the fear of Obama getting some credit for success is stronger than the satisfaction that comes with Gadhafi’s demise, there’s a problem.

    There's been a problem with our national discourse since at least 2001, when Bush v. Gore was 'decided' by the Supreme Court. I fear that gave an unconscious signal to the Republicans that they could run riot; 9/11 just gave them the public excuse to do so.

    And look where we are now.

  • T2 on October 20, 2011 2:34 PM:

    right Josef K. And it would have helped if Al Gore hadn't give up so quickly in 2001.....on the advise of his running mate.....let's see, who was that? Oh yeah, a guy named Joe LIEberman.

  • T-Rex on October 20, 2011 2:40 PM:

    Shrug. What can you say about people who cheered when the U.S. lost the 2016 Olympic Games to Brazil, just because it would have looked like a success for Obama? If they begrudge him a minor, symbolic success, they certainly won't allow him any substantive ones.

  • kevo on October 20, 2011 2:41 PM:

    The Americans I've grown up with and known along the way of my time here in our beloved nation have been much more graceful than the current batch of Republican leaders have shown themselves to be. In fact, part of being a good American is to honor those among us who've made great strides of contribution to our livelihoods and collective way of life.

    Rubio and his cohorts are ingrates, and are obviously suffering from Deranged Obama Syndrome, and they would do well the note, DOS is a primative obsolete programing language, and just as it was left in the past, so too will their bad-will and poor spoiled attitudes when the Republican party is punished at the polls in 2012. -Kevo

  • CarolO on October 20, 2011 3:10 PM:

    So upstanding of the entire Republican Senate that they can not say thank you to our American troops who also flew missions there for the last year.

  • SYSPROG on October 20, 2011 3:48 PM:

    @Square1...please read the War Powers Act again. As long as “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops” then the
    President is well within his rights. You may not LIKE it but it's the law.

    And yes, 'working with NATO' counts.

  • square1 on October 20, 2011 5:38 PM:

    @SYSPROG:

    1. I dont know what the hell you are quoting but it isnt the statute.

    2. The statute is subordinate to the Constitution. To the extent that the statute suggests that the President may wage war without Congressional authority, it is unconstitutional.

    3. Actions taken by U.S. forces, including bombing Libyan forces, providing air support for NATO air strikes, and whatever our special forces have been doing on the ground constitute actions which necessitate, at the least, under the statute, a report to Congress. The mere suggestion that a prolonged military campaign that will end up costing in excess of $1B doesn't require so much as a report to Congress flaunts not merely the letter of the law but the spirit as well.

    Anyone who knows the slightest history of how the law came to be passed knows that the principle behind it is that only Congress can declare war and, in conflicts short of war that have the potential to escalate, the President is obligated to keep Congress informed in order to provide oversight.

  • victory on October 20, 2011 8:59 PM:

    The dirty secret that will keep Rubio from ever being President......he's an Anchor Baby.

  • Rudy Gonzales on October 20, 2011 9:24 PM:

    Rubio doesn't want to give credit where it's due! Muammar Gaddafi has been confirmed dead and our leader, President Obama has followed through and effected what the previous administration never did. Our leader, president Obama, also directed Clinton to deliver this ultimatum to Pakistan with assured confrontations but strongly enough for the Pakistan government to realize we mean business. The president is making it clear he is president of everyone in America and proving beyond any shadow of doubt, he has chutzpah! To all the nay Sayers, remember this when y'all spew lies and falsehoods that we do not have a leader in the president! Especially those running against him! Our leader, president Obama, directed Clinton to deliver this ultimatum to Pakistan with assured confrontations but strongly enough for the Pakistan government to realize we mean business. The president is making it clear he is president of everyone in America and proving beyond any shadow of doubt, he has chutzpah! To all the nay Sayers, remember this when y'all spew lies and falsehoods that we do not have a leader in the president! Especially those running against him!

  • bandit on October 21, 2011 8:44 AM:

    So you're good with Iraq now because Saddam got executed?

  • Jamie on November 14, 2011 2:16 PM:

    so easy to dish out fate to others. when you don't have to live in it and to the person. who can go a day without eating you don't have kids do you try telling. them sorry kids can't feed you to day

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