Home/Daniel Larison/Jindal and Rubio’s Confused Talking Points

Jindal and Rubio’s Confused Talking Points

Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio both seem to think they have discovered a clever way to attack the administration on its handling of the war on ISIS and the negotiations with Iran–by inexplicably linking the two. Here is Jindal:

What I worry about is that this president’s hesitancy in going all the way and defeating ISIS may be linked — I can’t prove that, I suspect that from his actions, his rhetoric —may be linked to his overarching desire to get a deal with Iran.

And Rubio said something similar:

Speaking before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, Rubio told radio and TV host Sean Hannity that “if we wanted to defeat them militarily, we could do it. [Obama] doesn’t want to upset Iran.”

Referring to the United States’ ongoing negotiations with Iran to contain that country’s nuclear program, Rubio continued, “In [Obama’s] mind, this deal with Iran is going to be the Obamacare of the second term, and he doesn’t want them sending military to the region because they think the region belongs to them.”

As others have noted already, this criticism makes absolutely no sense. If Obama didn’t want to “upset” Iran, he would probably be committing the U.S. to do far more against ISIS, since the Iranians loathe ISIS and have been fighting them in Iraq. If ISIS were defeated, it would deprive Iran of a hated regional enemy, so they would hardly be “upset” by this outcome. Jindal’s suspicions don’t seem to be founded on anything except a political need to find fault with whatever the administration is doing overseas. In their desire to attack Obama’s policies on two different issues, Jindal and Rubio have made a complete botch of things by trying to force the criticisms together in a clumsy, ham-fisted way. Perhaps they thought they needed to play to their audience and treat ISIS and Iran as if they both belonged to an undifferentiated Islamist blob, or perhaps they don’t want to acknowledge that the U.S. is currently fighting Iran’s enemies. Or maybe neither of them has the slightest idea what he’s talking about. Whatever the reason for their errors, Jindal and Rubio are so confused about these things that conservatives shouldn’t be looking to them for guidance on foreign policy.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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