If it’s Sunday, that means it is time for the same old GOP fame whores to show up on our television sets and push their particular talking point while simultaneously blaming President Obama for anything and everything. That was particularly the case this Sunday as all of the Sunday show regulars showed up. They were chomping at the bit to push the case for full-scale war in the Middle East. The ongoing situation with ISIS was used by the warmongering GOP lawmakers to ostensibly make the case that a long-term military mission needs to be put in place.
It was a full-on assault by the most notoriously camera addicted figures from the Republican Party. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) made an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. Rogers was the most frequent Sunday show guest in 2013 and looks well on his way to repeating in 2014. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) showed up on Fox News Sunday. McCain finished second to Rogers in 2013 and is doing his best to retake the crown in 2014. McCain good buddy Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was on CNN’s State of the Union. Graham was tied for 5th in 2013 but seems to be making a push for a top 3 showing this year.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who typically parrots Graham and McCain, appeared on Face the Nation on CBS. Ayotte made 10 Sunday show appearances in 2013 and has been seen numerous times so far this year. Another frequent guest, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who made 13 appearances in 2013, turned up at ABC’s This Week. All of these guests pretty much said the same things. Essentially, the all made sure to toe the line when it came to pushing the neo-con narrative that further military action needs to be take against ISIS and a war with American boots on the ground is an inevitability.
On This Week, McCaul used the well-worn neo-con line that we need to fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Congressman, if — if you get the kind of expansion you and General Allen then are talking about, won’t that require a new authorization from Congress?
The 2001 authorization targeted al Qaeda, not ISIS. It would be a real stretch to put this under the Iraq authorization of 2002.
So won’t Congress have to act here?
MCCAUL: We believe that the administration should be in consultation with Congress. So far, they have, under The War Powers Act. But once that period of time expires, we believe it’s necessary to come back to the Congress to get additional authorities and to update, if you will, the authored use of military force.
With respect to General Allen’s comments on regional strategy, I — I whole-heartedly agree. I believe that America, the United States shouldn’t bear this burden alone. We have regional allies, both Muslim allies and European allies, that can bring a lot of pressure on ISIS. And I don’t think you’re going to — you’re going to win this with a containment policy alone. This administration thus far has only dealt with containment. We need to expand these air strikes so that we can ultimately defeat and eliminate ISIS, because I would far prefer to eliminate them over here than have to deal with them…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that…
MCCAUL: — in the United States.
As Jason Easley pointed out, McCain told Fox News Sunday show host Chris Wallace that he wants President Obama to do “stupid stuff” in the Middle East and essentially place troops on the ground there. As one would figure from Fox News, there was no real sort of pushback from Wallace. Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, Rogers actually did get resistance and tough questions from the moderator, because Chris Jansing was filling in for outgoing host David Gregory. If this were Chuck Todd, as it will be in a month, Rogers would have been able to safely recite his talking points without worrying about follow-up questions.
State of the Union host Candy Crowley essentially let Graham spout off his talking points without any challenge whatsoever. Graham was on at the same time as Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and they were both asked questions regarding their assessments of the threat if ISIS. Graham claimed that ISIS was an immediate threat to the homeland. Instead of following up with Graham regarding that claim, Crowley just moved on to her next set of questions.
CROWLEY: Senator Graham, I am trying to kind of — kind of home in on, what is the immediate threat to the homeland? Because there are a number of people saying, it’s not — really not an immediate threat, has to be dealt with. It’s a threat to the region, but it’s not an immediate threat to the U.S.
GRAHAM: Well, I would argue that the intel that we have been provided in Congress is that there are hundreds of American citizens holding U.S. passports. There are European citizens going to the fight that can penetrate America by having European-U.S. passports.
A lot of jihadists have flocked to area. They have expressed the will to hit the homeland. That’s part of their agenda is to drive us out of the Mideast. Do they have the capability to hit the homeland — homeland? I would say yes.
It’s about time now to assume the worst about these guys, rather than to underestimating them. They’re not the J.V. team anymore. They’re the most prominent terrorist organization in the world, but they’re not the only one. They’re in competition with the other jihadist groups.
And the gold medal will be awarded to the group that can hit America. They’re fighting for status with al Qaeda, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Nusra. All of these guys are bidding for future recruits and status, and the gold medal goes to the one that can hit us here at home. To those who underestimate this threat, you do so at America’s peril.
Ayotte essentially repeated the same strategy to Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation. When Schieffer asked her what we should do against ISIS and in the Middle East, Ayotte responded with the following.
And what I think is that a containment strategy is not going to cut it. We need a strategy to defeat ISIS. As the secretary of defense has described, it is an imminent threat to us. It’s like nothing we have ever seen in terms of the sophistication of this group, the funding, the territory that they control.
And we need a strategy that is going to expand the airstrikes, going to support the Kurds further and the Iraqi forces, but in particular the Kurds, get them the military equipment that they are requesting, and also look at supporting more and more support and enhancement for the moderate opposition in Syria to deal with the sanctuaries in Syria.
We have to do that if we want to defeat ISIS, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this week. And then I would say also the political solution is important. We need an Iraqi government that is inclusive.
It would at least be a change of pace if we could see some slightly different faces saying these things. But we aren’t so lucky. Nope, instead we just get the same tired actors repeating the same bad lines, time and time again.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).