Here’s State Sen. David Rouzer (R-Studly) from North Carolina, campaigning for Congress and thumping his chest about how manly Republicans are:
Like most bullies, the GOP confuses “fear” with “respect.” We were not respected during Bush’s “kill’em all” administration. We found ourselves reviled and with good cause. We preened and strutted on the world stage like we owned it. As the only surviving world power, this was more or less true, but flaunting it was tacky. We rubbed the world’s nose in our “Exceptionalism” at a time when we should have used out power to lead.
Still, it’s not hard to understand where Rouzer is coming from. Republicans spent decades conflating “liberal” with “wimp” and “conservative” with “tough.” But then they allowed 9/11 to happen, started (and bungled) two wars against vastly inferior forces, failed to find the world’s most wanted man and alienated almost all of our traditional allies. We became a joke on the world stage but a deadly one as we lumbered about bellowing like a drunken frat boy.
Then Obama took office. His calm demeanor, intelligence and professionalism stood in stark contrast to Bush’s goofy “aw shucks!” presentation. Obama ended the war in Iraq, built a coalition to pacify Libya without starting a new ground war, crushed much of al Qaeda’s operations, killed more of their leadership in three years than Bush did in seven and, yes, he got bin Laden. He even allowed the Arab Spring to flourish without interfering with the result of the revolts being viewed with legitimacy.
These days, Republicans are considered clowns when it comes to foreign policy and that just sits poorly with them. They invested so much of their “manly” image in their “expertise” in foreign policy that being clearly and decisively upstaged by those liberal “wimps” can only result in political emasculation. Obviously intolerable. The Romney campaign was so desperate to show off how well Mitt could handle an international incident, they made what is going to go down in the history books as one of the worst campaign missteps of all time. The right spent 24 hours choking on his stupidity before they gamely followed his lead and doubled down on “If Republicans were in charge, no one would dare attack us.” This is the path Rouzer is stumbling down and it’s not a pretty sight.
In the long run, the problem for the GOP is that it has nothing new to run on. The last four years has seen the right define itself strictly as the opposition to whatever Obama says or does. Rhetorical, this has left them in the middle of a desert of worn out and truly ineffective attacks. Rouzer is scraping the bottom of the barrel for something, anything to counter the commanding presence of the Obama foreign policy.
He came up with “girly men.”
Good luck with that!