Republicans’ arguments on Benghazi, Iraq, and many other issues would make more sense … but for that pesky time travel thing. (More)

The GOP’s Time Travel Problem

As you know, the BPI Fizzix Department began work next year on a time machine that will allow them to come back and set up a real Fizzix Department, with white boards and equations and muttering and spilled coffee. And once they get all that working, maybe their time machine will make sense of Republicans’ logic.

“How culpable she is”

For example, take Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). Here’s what he said Wednesday about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi:

Well, I think she understands how culpable she is, and she understands exactly her dereliction of duty that really results in the death of four Americans.

He then blames Clinton for “initiating the coverup” when the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens was returned to the U.S. He doesn’t explain how that “coverup” caused the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans. The White House and State Department statements that he claims are a “coverup” happened after the attacks were over. But scientific issues like the arrow of time – that cause precedes effect – don’t get in the way of GOP conspiracy theories.

“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many”

Then there’s former Vice President Dick Cheney and his Onion-esque op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, including the sentence quoted above. Even conservative Washington Examiner columist Byron York was slack-jawed:

There’s a remarkable lack of self-examination in that line.

It’s not that Cheney, with a crisis raging, should write a piece apologizing for decisions made years ago. It’s just that any article pointing out the Obama administration’s mistakes in Iraq would be far more credible if it included even a brief admission of the Bush administration’s errors, too. Instead, Cheney accuses Obama of “snatch[ing defeat] from the jaws of victory” in Iraq.

“When Mr. Obama and his team came into office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge,” Cheney writes. Well, why was there a surge? Because the Bush administration had so badly bungled the situation from 2003 to 2007, unleashing chaos and murderous forces in Iraq. More than 4,200 American troops died, and more than 30,000 were wounded in Iraq under Bush and Cheney’s administration.

Then there’s this choice bit from Bill Kristol and Frederick Kagan in The Weekly Standard:

Now is not the time to re-litigate either the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 or the decision to withdraw from it in 2011. The crisis is urgent, and it would be useful to focus on a path ahead rather than indulge in recriminations.

Again, this might make sense if Republicans had a time machine, so they could go back and undo the Bush administration’s tragic mistakes. But they don’t, and they can’t. The Iraqi government doesn’t want us to send troops, and 74% of Americans don’t want to send troops back to Iraq either. Both of those facts are direct consequences of Bush-era bungling, and refusing to “re-litigate” those bungles will not make the consequences go away.

“Roosevelt’s disastrous policies … directly led to the rise of a no-name hack named Adolph Hitler”

And finally there’s Arizona state schools superintendent John Huppenthal and his no-longer-anonymous posts on progressive blog sites:

He also argued that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “disastrous economic policies drug down the whole world and directly led to the rise of a no-name hack named Adolph Hitler who was going nowhere until Germany’s economy went into the tank.”

But the Great Depression hit Germany in 1929:

The impact on Weimar Germany was even more dire. Germans were not so much reliant on exports as they were on American loans, which had been propping up the Weimar economy since 1924. No further loans were issued from late 1929, while American financiers began to call in existing loans. Despite its rapid growth, the German economy was not equipped for this retraction of cash and capital. Banks struggled to provide money and credit; in 1931 there were runs on German and Austrian banks and several of them folded. In 1930 the US, the largest purchaser of German industrial exports, put up tariff barriers to protect its own companies. German industrialists lost access to US markets and found credit almost impossible to obtain. Many industrial companies and factories either closed or shrank dramatically. By 1932 German industrial production was at 58 per cent of its 1928 levels. The effect of this decline was spiraling unemployment. By the end of 1929 around 1.5 million Germans were out of work; within a year this figure had more than doubled. By early 1933 unemployment in Germany had reached a staggering six million.

Adolf Hitler ran in Germany’s 1932 Presidential Election in March and April, and was appointed Chancellor in January of 1933. Franklin Roosevelt was elected in November of 1932, and took office in March of 1933.

So how, exactly, President Roosevelt’s “disastrous policies … directly [lead] to the rise of a no-name hack named Adolph Hitler who was going nowhere until Germany’s economy went into the tank” …

… if the German economy “went into the tank” three years before FDR ran for office, and if Hitler ran in Germany’s presidential seven months before the U.S. election, and if Hitler was appointed Chancellor two full months before FDR’s inauguration?

It’s gotta be that time machine….

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Happy Friday!