About a month ago, Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) team decided to go after its former ally, David Wildstein, with a bizarre attack memo. In the document, Christie aides targeted Wildstein’s credibility by shining a light on his teenaged high school antics – in 1977.
It quickly became obvious how foolish this was. If you’re forced to go back several decades to find damning evidence against a perceived foe, literally relying on materials he or she produced as a student, then you really don’t have much.
Someone might want to tell John McCain.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday drew from a new source in arguing that President Barack Obama has been too ‘soft’ on Russia: An article Obama wrote back when he was in college. […][McCain] shifted his attention to a 1983 article called “Breaking the War Mentality,” which Obama penned for a campus magazine as a senior at Columbia University. Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg resurfaced the article on Monday in a USA Today op-ed.In his article, Obama blamed “U.S.-Soviet tensions largely on America’s war mentality and the twisted logic of the Cold War,” McCain said, quoting from Goldberg. “President Reagan’s defense buildup, according to Obama, contributed to the ‘silent spread of militarism’ and reflected our ‘distorted national priorities’ rather than what should be our goal: a ‘nuclear free world.’”
“That’s what student Obama said,” McCain added.
Now, one could certainly make the case that “student Obama” was raising a legitimate argument about Cold War geopolitics, years before the collapse of the USSR. At a minimum, it was worthy of academic debate in an academic setting.
But for McCain, it’s actually a potential political attack three decades later. In the midst of a crisis, the senator believes it’s important to invest time considering what an undergraduate said about the Soviet Union (which no longer exists) and the Cold War (which no longer exists) in 1983.
On one of the Sunday shows recently, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), commenting on U.S. policy towards Russia, said , “Now that the Olympics are over, we need to watch the behavior of the Russians. And I believe the president needs to up his game.”
Two weeks later, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) decided to blame Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Benghazi, and John McCain took the Senate floor to deliver a tirade about a college student’s paper written 31 years ago.
And these two, we’re told by the Beltway, are supposed to be some of the go-to Republicans when it comes to foreign policy.
Maybe Obama isn’t the one who needs to up his game.