You’ve got to feel sorry for Roy Blunt; he’s been all over the map lately trying to establish himself as a policy expert and statesman while pandering to his fringe-wing base. But no matter how hard he tries, he always ends up with his foot jammed down his throat up to the knee.
A general inventory of Blunt’s recent missteps would be too lengthy to reproduce here. They range from declaring Medicare worthless and pernicious, to his recent hilarious excuse for failing to carry out his assignment to produce an alternative, Republican health care reform plan:
I think the American people are tired of bills that nobody reads and nobody understands.
No point in doing any of that boring policy stuff while you’re in Congress, right Roy?
Most recently, Blunt attacked the Obama White House for:
…trying to silence its generals, including the commander of troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Blunt accused the administration of being weary [sic] of letting McChrystal air his recommendation for a troop increase in Afghanistan publicly, calling on President Barack Obama to make McChrystal available for testimony before Congress.
This sort of posturing is wrong on many levels. Right now, the full range of the President’s advisers, including such military luminaries as Jim Jones, General Petraeus and Admiral Mullen – and, of course, General McChrystal – are working together to develop a strategic plan for Afghanistan. When there’s an actual plan Mr. Blunt and his pals can rake it over the coals all they want.
Of course, Blunt cannot acknowledge that General McChrystal is only one of many voices that the President must listen to, and that it is not only premature to bring him before Congress, but dangerous since the President’s ability to weigh all options could be irretrievably biased by such one-sided publicity. Such a respectful and careful approach to complex foreign policy issues would not allow Blunt to indulge in the political game-playing that is all he understands about governing. So instead of concern for the good of the country and our soldiers, Roy Blunt gives us statements like this:
The Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats need to decide whether they’re going to listen to General McChrystal, a career military officer with expertise in counterinsurgency strategy, or the liberal left, which is again trying to cut and run from a difficult but critical foreign policy challenge
This is the same type of false dichotomy that has been regularly used in the past to inflame the congenitally belligerent right-wing, while browbeating those Democrats who are terrified of being seen as weak on defense. Indeed, Blunt’s use of this tired trope is already beginning to have the desired effect in some quarters. Stenny Hoyer, for one, is making tentative sounds about when McChrystal should be heard – and Blunt is already crowing about it.
As Clark pointed out earlier, Blunt also suffers from a selective memory of the past. He is just plain wrong when he tries to compare Obama’s approach to his military advisers to that of Bush:
It appears that the administration, unlike the past administration, doesn’t want the views of the generals known …
Where was Blunt when Bush (past administration, right?) pushed General Shinseki out of his job because he was too outspoken about the need for more troops to do the job in Iraq? I seem to remember that the draft-dodging Bush had more than a few problems with his generals. Funny, but I don’t remember hearing a peep from Mr. Blunt and his Republican colleagues when Bush didn’t want his generals heard.