Tom Ricks watches a Mike Pence (R-IN) appearance on Fox News and comes away fearing for the lives of Iran’s brave protestors:
I just hope that Iranian protestors know not to take this clown seriously.
This problem goes to the essence of strategy: A “tough” stance that Fox’s anchors are pushing might feel good, but it likely would be unproductive. A sober stance of the sort that Obama has taken is more difficult but likely more effective in the long run.
For quite some time now I’ve been trying to emphasize the point that Pence is not an intelligent man. It’s good to see Ricks notice this as well. But I think it’s important for people in the journalism game to get a bit more interdisciplinary on this. Oftentimes people are inclined to grant the benefit of the doubt. A Ricks might say “well, this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about on national security, but maybe his energy ideas make sense.” Ask around, though, and you’ll see it’s not the case. He’s just got dumb ideas on all sorts of topics. And it’s worth aggressively making that point. It’s all well and good to “hope” that Iranian protestors recognize that he’s a “clown” and shouldn’t be taken seriously. But the odds are actually pretty good that foreigners will take the situation at face value — he’s one of the highest-ranking and most prominent members of a major political party, so surely his pronouncements should be taken seriously. Right? Because if such a high-level party leader were, in fact, a “clown” then people would hear about that. Right?