The foreign policy genius of a GOP visionary

THE FOREIGN POLICY GENIUS OF A GOP VISIONARY…. Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, moving closer to a possible presidential campaign, has been running around lately saying the opposite of whatever President Obama says. It’s kind of childish, but then again, so is Newt.

But he was in rare form yesterday when asked, at the National Press Club in D.C., about U.S. policy towards Libya.

QUESTION: What would have been the steps you would have taken early on?

GINGRICH: I would have studied Eisenhower and Reagan and studied the things they did. I mean there are lots of — there are lots of ways to not necessarily use American troops and have an enormous impact on a country the size of Libya.

STAFFER: We have to go.

QUESTION: Can you list one or two?

GINGRICH: Take — take a look at Eisenhower and Reagan.

Remember, we’ve been led to believe this guy offers intellectual firepower for Republicans on the national level.

I mean, really. This is some of the laziest thinking on foreign policy imaginable. I suspect even Romney and Pawlenty could do better than this. Faced with an enormous national security challenge, we should expect President Gingrich to sit in the Oval Office and bark to his aides, “Quick, someone get me a history textbook! I need to figure out what other Republicans presidents might have thought!”

Please.

Besides, if memory serves, “What Would Reagan Do?” may not be the ideal question when it comes to the Middle East. I seem to recall Reagan quickly running away, for example, after the Marine barracks’ bombing in Beirut in 1983, which isn’t exactly in line with contemporary GOP standards.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.