It was a debate with several ugly moments. Chris Christie called President Obama a “petulant child” and vowed to “kick” his “rear end out of the White House come this fall,” evidently forgetting that the man he once hugged is leaving at the end of this year anyway. Ben Carson said “secular progressives” don’t know “there is such a thing as right and wrong.” Ted Cruz called Obama a “child” too.
But the ugliest moments belonged to Marco Rubio. The junior senator from Florida sold his soul in North Charleston, South Carolina, for a shot at winning over the supporters of Donald Trump.
It began early in the night when Rubio said, “Barack Obama does not believe that America is a great global power. Barack Obama believes that America is a arrogant global power that needs to be cut down to size.” These are lies. Since becoming a national political figure roughly a decade ago, Obama has uttered millions of words about America. In addition to his public statements, his private comments have made it into the media countless times. He’s never said anything remotely like what Rubio suggests.
If he had, Rubio would have quoted him. Obama’s view is clear: He thinks America will be a “great[er] global power” if it avoids expending large quantities of blood and treasure in countries whose internal problems America cannot solve at the point of a gun. Rubio disagrees with that view, which is fine. His problem is that in a party in which more than 60 percent of the voters don’t think Obama loves America, disagreeing is not enough. So Rubio has begun suggesting that Obama is some kind of Manchurian (or perhaps Mauritanian) candidate, actively seeking to do America ill. Earlier this month, he claimed the president has “deliberately weakened America.” Donald Trump said Obama’s passport wasn’t American. Now, to compete with Trump, Rubio is saying Obama’s heart isn’t American.