Chad’s Morning Brief: Ted Cruz Really Likes Going to Iowa, Mitt Romney on Barack Obama and Failed Leadership and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of March 19, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Cruz in Iowa
Senator Ted Cruz was in Iowa on Tuesday and according to The Hill, continued to separate himself from Senator Rand Paul.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) staked out a position as a staunch defender of religious liberty and conservative positions on social issues during a Tuesday visit to Iowa.
Cruz did not directly criticize Sen. Rand Paul in his remarks, but did seek to distinguish himself from the Kentucky Republican, who has said the GOP should “agree to disagree” on social issues.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Cruz said Republicans “should continue to defend life and that we should continue to defend traditional marriage.”
Asked directly about Paul’s suggestion that the GOP should shift its focus away from social issues, Cruz said only “I’ll let him characterize his views.”
“What I can tell you is my views are that we should continue to defend life and that we should continue to defend traditional marriage,” he added.
Tuesday was Cruz’s fourth stop this year in Iowa, making him the most frequent visitor to the pivotal early primary state among potential Republican presidential contenders except for Paul.
Both men are thinking about running for president in 2016, and they’d be battling for the same or similar slices of conservative voters in Iowa.
In his keynote address for the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators’ annual state Capitol lobbying day, Cruz slammed President Obama and declared, to a warm reception from the crowd, that there “is no liberty more important than religious liberty.”
“We have never seen an administration with such hostility toward religious faith,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Cruz also defended school choice as “the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” according to the Des Moines Register.
Iowa’s GOP caucuses are typically populated with evangelical Christians and social conservative voters, and Cruz’s Tuesday pitch seemed tailored to that audience.
The Price of Failed Leadership
Mitt Romney has written an excellent opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal this morning.
Why are there no good choices? From Crimea to North Korea, from Syria to Egypt, and from Iraq to Afghanistan, America apparently has no good options. If possession is nine-tenths of the law, Russia owns Crimea and all we can do is sanction and disinvite—and wring our hands.
Iran is following North Korea’s nuclear path, but it seems that we can only entreat Iran to sign the same kind of agreement North Korea once signed, undoubtedly with the same result.
Our tough talk about a red line in Syria prompted Vladimir Putin’s sleight of hand, leaving the chemicals and killings much as they were. We say Bashar Assad must go, but aligning with his al Qaeda-backed opposition is an unacceptable option.
And how can it be that Iraq and Afghanistan each refused to sign the status-of-forces agreement with us—with the very nation that shed the blood of thousands of our bravest for them?
Why, across the world, are America’s hands so tied?
A large part of the answer is our leader’s terrible timing. In virtually every foreign-affairs crisis we have faced these past five years, there was a point when America had good choices and good options. There was a juncture when America had the potential to influence events. But we failed to act at the propitious point; that moment having passed, we were left without acceptable options. In foreign affairs as in life, there is, as Shakespeare had it, “a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
When protests in Ukraine grew and violence ensued, it was surely evident to people in the intelligence community—and to the White House—that President Putin might try to take advantage of the situation to capture Crimea, or more. That was the time to talk with our global allies about punishments and sanctions, to secure their solidarity, and to communicate these to the Russian president. These steps, plus assurances that we would not exclude Russia from its base in Sevastopol or threaten its influence in Kiev, might have dissuaded him from invasion.
Months before the rebellion began in Syria in 2011, a foreign leader I met with predicted that Assad would soon fall from power. Surely the White House saw what this observer saw. As the rebellion erupted, the time was ripe for us to bring together moderate leaders who would have been easy enough for us to identify, to assure the Alawites that they would have a future post-Assad, and to see that the rebels were well armed.
The advent of the Arab Spring may or may not have been foreseen by our intelligence community, but after Tunisia, it was predictable that Egypt might also become engulfed. At that point, pushing our friend Hosni Mubarak to take rapid and bold steps toward reform, as did Jordan’s king, might well have saved lives and preserved the U.S.-Egypt alliance.
The time for securing the status-of-forces signatures from leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan was before we announced in 2011 our troop-withdrawal timeline, not after it. In negotiations, you get something when the person across the table wants something from you, not after you have already given it away.
Able leaders anticipate events, prepare for them, and act in time to shape them. My career in business and politics has exposed me to scores of people in leadership positions, only a few of whom actually have these qualities. Some simply cannot envision the future and are thus unpleasantly surprised when it arrives. Some simply hope for the best. Others succumb to analysis paralysis, weighing trends and forecasts and choices beyond the time of opportunity.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton traveled the world in pursuit of their promise to reset relations and to build friendships across the globe. Their failure has been painfully evident: It is hard to name even a single country that has more respect and admiration for America today than when President Obama took office, and now Russia is in Ukraine. Part of their failure, I submit, is due to their failure to act when action was possible, and needed.
A chastened president and Secretary of State Kerry, a year into his job, can yet succeed, and for the country’s sake, must succeed. Timing is of the essence.
Failed leadership. That sums up this administration pretty well.
Other Top Stories:
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