There’s been a lot of talk from the right lately about President Barack Obama and his policies hurting America’s global standing. Never mind that it’s simply untrue: The world-at-large’s opinion of America and our president stands at levels unheard of when one of their own occupied the White House. That hasn’t stopped would-be Republican presidential candidates like Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and, of course, Donald Trump from saying otherwise.
But polls and statistics are just numbers; and numbers are tough, and rarely convenient for those on the right. So let’s just disregard those Pew (ew!) numbers I hyperlinked to above, and hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Enter New Zealand’s largest newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, which released a scathing editorial last Friday addressing the detrimental impact one political party is having on America and our perception in the world.
Only it’s not Obama, or his Democrats. It’s the GOP. In an insightful, searing, and often hilarious piece, columnist Paul Thomas takes the Republicans to task for going completely off the rails when it comes to matters of national security, diplomacy, and even domestic issues. Here’s how he kicks it off:
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz called it “the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history”. Was he referring to:
• The outbreak of the Civil War.
• The assassination of Abraham Lincoln or John Kennedy or Martin Luther King.
• The 1929 Wall St crash.
• Pearl Harbour.
• The realisation that the immensely costly and destructive Iraq War was launched on the basis of a lie.
None of the above: according to Cruz, America’s darkest day was when the Supreme Court decided not to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. Thus the extension of health insurance, previously the preserve of the rich, and marriage, previously the preserve of the straight, is worse than war, depression, assassination and mass murder.
And what does fellow Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee believe will “bring death to America”:
• Bird flu.
• Climate change.
• North Korean nuclear missiles.
• Psychopathic gunmen wrapped in the Confederate flag.
Again, none of the above: Huckabee was referring to the just-announced nuclear deal with Iran. He wasn’t alone. It appears all 17 Republican presidential hopefuls believe the treaty painstakingly negotiated by the US, Russia, China, Britain and France is not merely not worth the paper it’s written on, it’s positively catastrophic.
Thomas goes on to describe the GOP as “a party of religious fundamentalism…taking their lead from Zionist Israel and Wahhabist Saudi Arabia,” and “the party of wilful ignorance: doctrinal purity is more valued than intelligence; tolerance has been supplanted by persecutory moralising; paranoia has replaced realism.”
It’s time for a reality check on the right because, no matter the official talking points, Obama’s not the problem when it comes to our standing in the global mind.