Recently a public figure outlined these steps for dealing with ISIS in Iraq. Can you guess who it was?

First, we must support the Iraqi forces…

Second, we must give these forces the consistent advantage of American air power, to cover their operations and to strike with fierce precision…

Third, we must make better use of the limited forces we have by giving them a greater range of action.

Fourth, we should provide more support to the Kurds, giving them decisive military power against ISIS.

And finally, our strategy in Iraq has to restart the serious diplomatic efforts that can help that country move in the right direction. Only Iraq’s Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds can decide if they will live together and share power and resources in a way that will serve their interests, assuring the survival of their country.

Other that some questions about that third point, one might have assumed that this came from President Barack Obama. But it didn’t. It came from a Republican candidate for president who – in that same speech – called Obama’s strategy, “a halting, ineffective effort against them” that “has only emboldened these terrorists, leaving the pandemic unchecked.”

Similarly, another Republican candidate for president wrote about what needs to be included in any plan to reform our healthcare system:

1. Fix the decades-old problems of rising medical-care and health-insurance costs,

2. Support economic growth,

3. Ensure affordable coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and

4. Remove the fear that something as simple as changing jobs could result in loss of coverage.

Of course, he fails to note that we already have healthcare reform (i.e., Obamacare) that is doing all that…and more.

So what’s going on here? Aren’t we living in an era of massive partisan polarization? Yes! But for Republicans, that polarization comes mostly in the form of fear-mongering rhetoric. As Steve Benen has been saying for awhile, the obstructionist strategy they adopted has led them to be post-policy. Republicans want to avoid talking about actual policies because they have none…and when they do, they are often cheap imitations of what that “appeasing unpatriotic Muslim socialist tyrant” in the White House is already doing.

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