There’s nothing like bombing the shit out of something to bump up your approval ratings. As shown below, Donald Trump is familiar with the concept. And it almost always works – even the historically unpopular Trump got a small boost from the pre-disclosed (to the Russians of course) cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase. Fivethirtyeight has Trump’s composite approval/disapproval ratings now at 41.5% approval against 52.5% disapproval – still a negative 11 point spread. The numbers may be somewhat skewed by the outlier Ipsos poll which has Trump with a favorable 2 point spread.
Last night’s GOP debate in Las Vegas focused largely on issues of national security – not a surprise with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the helm.
Red’s favorite topic was when WB asked the estimable candidates about enforcing a No-Fly Zone in Syria and whether they would order a Russian plane shot down. As always, Red translates the responses for you.
Chris Christie – Hell yes, I would shoot down a Russian plane. I call Putin and tell him, “No flying, fuckhead.” And then when he ignores that we shoot. And unlike the other weenies on this stage, I would insist on shooting down the planes myself – you know because I was a tough ass New Jersey prosecutor. How does that work? Every time a Russian jet entered the NFZ, I would be on the line immediately, targeting that sucker, remotely pushing the button to launch the missile and then celebrating afterwards with a double-meat bacon cheeseburger. Fuck Yeah!
Rand Paul – If you want World War III, here’s your candidate. [Pointing to Christie] If you are not absolutely bat shit crazy – like most of the respected candidates on this stage – and would prefer a big wussy in the White House, look no further. I am the biggest wussy on this stage and proud of it.
Jeb!!!!????$ – I have called for the NFZ and I would shoot down a plane with my sainted mother in it if it was violating the NFZ. Sorry, Dad.
Donald Trump – I too would shoot down a plane with Jeb!!!!$$$$?’s mother in it. But I like Putin bombing the shit out of Syria. I back it 100%. I would back it 1000% if that were possible, and believe me percentages well in excess of 100 will be the norm when I am elected president. 100% will be old hat. No one will be talking about 100% when I am President. 500% will be the absolute minimum.
Ben Carson – We shoot down Russian planes absolutely. Then afterwards, I deal with the possibility of nuclear conflagration in my thoughtful, deliberate and respectful way as we descend into chaos and world war.
John Kasich – Why are you asking this question? Why am I even still here? Is Red spelling my name correctly?
Ted Cruz – After I finish carpet bombing Syria and explaining in excruciating detail why that is not a war crime, there will be no real need for a NFZ. In fact tourist groups will want to fly over Syria to see the glowing sand.
Carly Fiorina – I would insist on a NFZ and shoot down anything that flies. But I would not call Putin first – who by the way I talked with earlier today. Others on this stage talk about making America great again. But what is their plan? I have a plan. You know what would make this country great again – World War III. I promise you that we will have WWIII if I am elected president.
Marco Rubio – Thank god we are not talking about immigration.
Gov. Greg Abbott (TP-Texas) continues to posture on the issue of allowing Syrian refugees into Texas. Abbott must know that he is powerless to stop legitimately admitted refugees into the State, but that message would not play well with his Tea Party base. So instead, Abbott grandstands making spurious claims about his authority. But under the Refugee Act of 1980, a state governor cannot legally block refugees. Each state has a refugee coordinator, which is funded by the federal government. The coordinator works with relief agencies and directs federal funds for refugees. So while Abbott may be able to throw a wrench or two into the works, there is absolutely nothing he can do to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to Texas.
What our poor idiot governor is really doing is playing into the hands of ISIS. ISIS and the ongoing civil war in Syria have resulted in a flood of refugees overwhelming Europe. ISIS has seemed essentially powerless to stop this incredible population drain. That is until now. It seems clear to Red that ISIS intended the latest attacks in Paris to provoke the exact response we are seeing. Cut off the willingness of Europe, the US and others to accept refugees out of the fear that a few jihadists might slip through, and you will begin to see the end of people fleeing from ISIS because there is nowhere to go. ISIS wins. And that is to say nothing of the moral bankruptcy of abandoning thousands of families who are suffering because of the aftermath of W. Bush’s foolish Iraq warmongering.
Maybe the rise of ISIS was not exactly foreseeable, but that Iraq would descend into chaos unless we kept a major, major military presence there was inevitable. If Red hears, “The Surge worked and Obama lost the war,” one more time his head might explode. The Surge working only because, the die-hard Iraqis were smart enough to realize that they could wait us out and that there was no way the US was ready for a decades long occupation of Iraq. What has happened was more or less inevitable, but was also greatly aided by the civil war in Syria. And as much as we might like to, we cannot simply wash our hands of this mess. Taking legitimate refugees is a part of American tradition and responsibility that we cannot now turn our backs on. Unless, of course, you want ISIS to win.