Wednesday, June 13, 2018


So why is President Trump getting away with this? Why does none of it seem to be a political liability for him? Why aren't North Korean state media claims that Trump agreed to lift sanctions a political liability? Republicans have long claimed that Barack Obama's presidency was an eight-year "apology tour" that left America "less respected in the world." Millions of Americans believe that. Why aren't those same Americans appalled at Trump's giveaway to Kim?

The reason is obvious. Let's look at the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll:

Or this CNN poll from March:
Though Republicans control Congress, voters say they believe Democrats would do a better job of dealing with a host of key issues....

The GOP is favored on just one issue: National security, at 48% to 40% Democrats.
Or this 2017 Gallup poll, in which respondents were asked about the two major parties' "core strengths":
Republicans' largest margin on any issue tested in the survey is 22 points on the military and national defense: 57% of Americans say the Republicans would better handle the issue, as opposed to 35% who say the Democrats would.
For much of America, the notion that Republicans are tougher than Democrats on national security is simply a given. It's been a given since at least 1972. It's a belief system that's reinforced every time there's a tough-talkin' Republican president, from Ronald Reagan (never mind Iran-contra or the withdrawal from Lebanon) to George W. Bush (never mind the fact that he slept through the advance warnings of the 9/11 threat, failed to get bin Laden, and turned Iraq into a quagmire), and now Trump.

It doesn't matter that Trump and George W. Bush avoided service in Vietnam (as did Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle, Rudy Giuliani, and Ted Nugent) -- Republicans talk tough, so they are tough, by definition. They're considered tough because Democrats (though by no means all of them) expressed skepticism about the most controversial recent wars of the past sixty years, Iraq and Vietnam -- an oppositional stance that taints Democrats even though the Vietnam and Iraq wars are now widely unpopular.

Foreign policy toughness is part of the GOP's brand, for no good reason.

No comments: