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May 04, 2010

Does Eric Cantor Have the Slightest Clue on National Security?
Posted by Patrick Barry

Eric_cantor_1The short answer is no.

In a speech that was about as divorced from reality as you might expect, today at the Heritage Foundation, Eric Cantor assailed the Obama administration’s record on national security.  The speech should serve a strong reminder that the GOP has little qualms about politicizing our security in this 2010 cycle.  Fortunately for progressives, the rebuttal is based not on wild allegations or campaign rhetoric, but clear evidence.

Cantor went wild over the White House’s nonproliferation agenda, vowing to “turn back harmful treaties like START.”  What I'm sure Cantor doesn't realize is that eliminating a pillar of the nonproliferation regime would be tantamount to turning over what has historically been a major conservative rallying cry, led by none other than President Reagan himself (whom Cantor reverently invokes in the preamble of this speech).  As Reagan’s own Secretary of State, George Schultz recently said, “[President Obama] is doing an excellent job. He has put the vision out there and keeps it out there. The nuclear posture review shows he is being careful about American national security at every step. The conference of world leaders on securing fissile material is the right thing to do. Who is going to disagree with that?” Eric Cantor, apparently.

Not content to confine his attacks to nonproliferation in general, Cantor honed in on the Administration’s policies toward Iran.  Unsurprisingly, the Congressman displayed an erratic grasp of the thrust of the administration’s Iran policy or the facts behind it. Engagement was never about cozying up to Iran, it was about clarifying the regime's intentions, which previously, were hard to isolate from the Bush administration's counterproductive saber-rattling.  “What has engagement with Iran brought us?” Cantor sarcastically queried. Oh I don’t know, why don’t we ask the Bush administration’s Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns, who observed that “observed that Iran's international isolation has increased because of Obama's engagement: “He [Obama] had to build up political capital...The reality is that Iran is more isolated today because of this strategy, and because of their own behavior, than they were a year ago.”  Even Iran hawk John McCain gets it.  “I never thought a policy of engagement with Iran's rulers would succeed, but I understand why the president pursued it,” Senator McCain said last month.

Cantor also put on his Romney-hat to condemn the Administration’s efforts to remake relations with the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.  “What does America have to be sorry for?” asked Cantor.  Not America, Congressman Cantor. Actually the Bush Administration.  For years, the Bush White House, and its conservative allies, pursued policies that sunk already-sensitive public opinion of America within the Muslim and Arab worlds to abysmal lows, with attending consequences for our national security.  America has a clear interest in seeing that dynamic reversed, even if Cantor may not.

And of course, in keeping with the playbook urging conservatives to politicize terrorism, Cantor pivoted from the botched Times Square car bombing to attacking the administration’s larger counterterrorism record.  Not only has the White House doubled efforts to go after terrorist havens overseas, scoring critical successes against the leadership of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, they have also thwarted domestic attacks , including the most significant plot since 9-11.

Which takes us to the real reason behind Congressman Cantor’s attacks.  Despite GOP allegations that the President is failing to keep the country safe, the American people believe the opposite. Accross a wide range of issues, the public strongly supports the Administration's handling of national security. Going into the 2010 election cycle, that’s got to make someone like Cantor pretty nervous.


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This article has no real arguments to present in response to Rep. Cantor's statements, only personalities.

@Julia Bertelsmann: can you read?

I understand that most of Eric Cantor's remarks have raised eyebrows. But what did you expect? Ever since the 2006 midterm elections- when the Republican Party lost its majority in the House and Senate- the GOP as a conglomerate has had virtually zero-intelligence on the most vital national-security issues of the day. Conservatives are dismayed that the Obama administration is trying terrorist suspects in the U.S. court system, even though President Bush did the same exact thing throughout his tenure. President Obama has ratcheted up the pressure on Al'Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban through an innovative drone campaign, but some Republican lawmakers (like Cantor) are acting as if the network is free to operate.

And concerning Cantor's stance on Iran, well...I hope this is just good-old comic relief. What does he propose that the President do? Bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, which would create even more instability in the Middle East? That would be a terrible blunder, creating "Obamasized" version of Bush's freedom agenda. But perhaps this is what Cantor is striving for.

Criticism of the administration has been predominately baseless. Instead of using relevant information to boost their claims, the GOP leadership is simply opposing everything the President is doing without providing rational alternatives.

Very well explained.I would say Cantor is an annoying guy.This man is as clueless as that idiot from Alaska.

Ya gotta love the internet..

I believe Julia can read, yes. What isn't clear is that Julia is capable of understanding anything outside of her cocoon of comfort.

It's called Epistemic Closure for a reason. A 2009 graduate of Harvard, Julia is now a research fellow at "The Heritage Foundation".

And the vicious cycle of welfare continues. Why should Julia, or anyone else in the neo conservative movement, pursue or even consider any alternative. Apparently, it pays well to be obstinate in the face of mountains of empirical evidence that clearly contradicts everything the Heritage foundation stands for.

Did you expect critical thinking from an individual paid not to, or from an organization that pays people to NOT be critical thinkers?

You don't "hone in" on something, you "home in" on something - as with a "homing" missile, pigeon, etc. You "hone" something to make it sharper - as in your knife or your writing skills...

Very nice topic and discussed very well. Now I can understand why the answer is no of why Eric Cantor don't have the Slightest Clue on National Security.. Very well explained. I feel Cantor is not good guy.

Eric Cantor is the Eddie Haskell of politics.

That's a very nice topic and discussed very well. And I understand why the answer is no of why Eric Cantor don't have the Slightest Clue on National Security..

Now I can understand why the answer is no of why Eric Cantor don't have the Slightest Clue on National Security..

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