Blake Farenthold

Blake Farenthold: Send In Chuck Norris To Fight ISIS

Rep. Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, stopped by Newsmax today to discuss President Obama’s request that Congress approve an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

Farenthold said that he would prefer an AUMF without restrictions on the use of ground troops because “if we’re going to go into this, we need to go all in.” But he added that he would rather put Chuck Norris in charge of the whole thing because the president isn’t “committed to the war on terror.”

“I’m not a big fan of President Obama’s, but he was elected president, so that makes him commander-in-chief, so we need to give him full authority to do what he does,” he said. “Quite frankly, I think Chuck Norris would be the one to send in, not President Obama.”

“You’ve got a president who I don’t think is committed to the war on terror, does not realize that the threat is from radical Islam and not just a few crazies out there. I don’t think he gets it and I don’t think his heart’s behind it, and that really worries me,” he added.

Video: The Worst Of The GOP's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

As President Obama prepares to announce the steps that he will take to provide temporary deportation relief for some undocumented immigrants, it’s important to remember why he’s taking this step. It’s not because Obama and Democrats refuse to work with Republicans to address pressing immigration problems. It’s because a small but influential segment of the Republican caucus refuses to do anything to fix the immigration system.

Today, we at People For the American Way joined with American Bridge to release a video highlighting the kind of rhetoric from congressional Republicans that has sunk any kind of attempt at bipartisan immigration reform.

Some of the examples of anti-immigrant rhetoric from GOP members of Congress will be familiar to RWW readers. And, sadly, we have plenty more where they came from.

Blake Farenthold: Have Peace Corps Volunteers, Not The Military, Fight Ebola

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, is angry that President Obama isn’t doing enough to combat the spread of Ebola. He is also angry that Obama is sending U.S. troops on a relief mission to combat the spread of Ebola.

In an interview with the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg and Chris Gacek last week, Farenthold appeared to be unaware that the U.S. military has a long record of working in disaster response and relief missions and warned that sending U.S. troops to help confront the crisis could exacerbate the outbreak.

“Can you imagine bringing this disease back to the tight confines of a military base?” he asked.

“The military is designed and set up and trained to protect this country with guns and bombs, not to protect this country from disease,” he said. “If somebody wanted to protect this country by fighting disease in Africa, they could’ve joined the Peace Corps or USAID or Doctors Without Borders. We’re using the military for something that they weren’t designed for and I think putting our soldiers in an unnecessarily risky position.”

Farenthold then accused the Obama administration of trying to politicize the Ebola outbreak, telling listeners that they can’t trust government officials to handle Ebola because of Obamacare and Benghazi: “My major concern is that every piece of evidence that I’ve seem indicates that the Obama administration is more interested in politics than good health policy. I’m also concerned that we cannot believe the Obama administration, there’s a history of this administration misleading us from ‘if you like your health care insurance you can keep it’ to ‘Benghazi attacks were caused by a YouTube video’ to ‘we accidentally lost Lois Lerner’s email.’ The government is not being straight with us.”

GOP's Base Clamors To Impeach Obama

Nearly two years into President Obama’s second term, a do-nothing Republican Congress is focusing on its next project: the 2014 midterm elections. But that effort might be complicated by increasing pressure from the party’s base to turn Congress’ energy to impeaching President Obama. The impeachment call, which has existed on the right-wing fringe since the start of Obama’s presidency, has picked up steam in recent weeks as it has been endorsed by right-wing media figures, activists and elected officials.

This has put Republican congressional leaders in a tricky spot as they attempt to placate their base without alienating moderate voters. When House Majority Whip Steve Scalise appeared on Fox News Sunday this week, he continually dodged the question. Ted Cruz similarly batted away a question about impeachment, calling it politically unfeasible. Right-wing leaders including Pat Buchanan and Tom DeLay have urged caution in the impeachment campaign, although DeLay said he would personally “love to impeach him.” Likewise, Karl Rove has warned that when it comes to impeachment, “the politics of it are all wrong.”

Even Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas, who last year distributed to every office on Capitol Hill a book on why the president should be impeached and removed from office and hired an attorney to look into impeachment, is now backtracking and warning that impeachment proceedings could benefit Democrats in the midterm elections.

Now, House Speaker John Boehner is claiming that talk of impeachment is a Democratic “scam” to win voters…an odd claim since it’s members of his own party who have been beating the drum about impeachment.

But it might be too late for Republicans to backtrack on a steady buildup of rhetoric questioning the president’s legitimacy, love of country, and authority to govern, which has led to increasing calls for impeachment from right-wing lawmakers, activists and media personalities... although nobody can quite agree on what the impeachment should be for.

  • In a radio interview last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann said that she believed the president has "committed impeachable offenses” but that first “the American people have to agree with and be behind and call for the president’s impeachment.”
  • This month, Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania said that there are “probably” the votes in the House to impeach the president for “absolutely ignoring the Constitution, and ignoring the laws, and ignoring the checks and balances.”
  • Also last year, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan said that impeaching the president would be “a dream come true.”

GOP Congressman Can't Help Himself But Mislead On Benghazi

In an appearance yesterday on “The Steve Malzberg Show,” Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas misrepresented the recent congressional testimony of Ret. Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell and the latest Benghazi “smoking gun” email.

Farenthold told Malzberg that the “smoking gun” email altered the Benghazi “talking points” against the advice of the CIA in order to help “the president’s re-election game.”

The email that Farenthold claims shows that the White House interjected a claim about anti-American demonstrations into the Benghazi “talking points” came in response to a set of CIA talking points sent nine hours earlier that already included a mention of demonstrations.

The CIA’s talking points said that the Benghazi attack was linked to the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo over an anti-Islam YouTube video: “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex.”

“The White House's shifty-sounding excuse, that the ‘demonstration’ story line came not from its spin factory but from the CIA, remains surprisingly accurate,” Davie Weigel notes.

Farenthold also twisted Lovell’s testimony on the U.S. response to the attack.

“They were pleading for help in Benghazi, and I think for political considerations the answer was no,” Farenthold said of Lovell’s testimony. “We didn’t even start to send help, as an American it bothers me that we can’t respond to a situation like that.”

As for Lovell supposedly testifying that the US could have sent more assistance during the Benghazi attack, Media Matters pointed out that Lovell told Congress that it it’s “a fact” that the military couldn’t have intervened in time:

REP. JERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I want to read to you the conclusion of the chairman of the [Armed Services] Committee, the Republican chairman Buck McKeon, who conducted formal briefings and oversaw that report. He said, quote, "I'm pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened, and how quickly it dissipated we probably couldn't have done much more than we did." Do you take issue with the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee? In that conclusion?

LOVELL: His conclusion that he couldn't have done much more than they did with the capability and the way they executed it?

CONNOLLY: Given the timeframe.

LOVELL: That's a fact.

CONNOLLY: OK.

LOVELL: The way it is right now. The way he stated it.

CONNOLLY: All right, because I'm sure you can appreciate, general, there might be some who, for various and sundry reasons would like to distort your testimony and suggest that you're testifying that we could have, should have done a lot more than we did because we had capabilities we simply didn't utilize. That is not your testimony? LOVELL: That is not my testimony.

CONNOLLY: I thank you very much.
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