During the Bush era, the Left were wont to remind us that "dissent is patriotic" and being intensely critical of the president was a hallmark of a vibrant democracy, especially on matters of foreign policy and national defense. But in the Obama Era, especially in a crucial midterm election year, well, not so much.
On the July 21 Hardball, guest host Steve Kornacki brought on Mother Jones magazine writer David Corn and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart to grouse about how Republicans who have been critical of President Obama's handling of Russia vis-a-vis the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Moscow-backed political unrest in Ukraine. "There was a time when politics stopped at the water's edge. That disappeared, apparently, on January 20, 2009," Capehart whined in a segment entitled "Blame Obama First."
For his part, Corn chalked Republican rhetoric on foreign policy up to the GOP simply trying to play off a historic association the Republicans have stuck on the Democrats as being weak on national security questions. Corn insisted that with the killing of bin Laden and the toppling of Moammar Qadhafi in Libya, that no one could legitimately hit Obama as weak on defense, but that the GOP thinks "if he can be blamed for the chaos overseas, which he may not be able to control or address directly, that will affect his popularity rating and will help them in the fall, the Republicans."
At that point, Kornacki highlighted the "one Republican, however, who is not piling on Obama for being too weak on foreign policy," former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). After reading from Paul's latest online column on the matter, Kornacki found potential friction as potential 2016 presidential aspirant Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who "is trying to make friends with the neo-cons" while "his dad is going to come out and say, you know, we should be friends with Vladimir Putin."
"I'm just looking for the headlines now in 2015, 2016. Rand Paul distances self from father. I think that's going to become a standard header or something" Kornacki quipped as he concluded the segment.