Rep. Duncan D. Hunter is Doing It Wrong

Do you remember The Gitmo Cookbook? That was a conservative response to criticisms that the detainees in Guantanamo Bay were being mistreated. Supposedly, this was impossible because the prisoners were fed orange-glazed chicken, rice pilaf, and two kinds of fruit. The cookbook was a set of recipes that had been developed by navy cooks, and the idea was that you, too, could eat as well as the coddled terrorists. The leader of the “Two Kinds of Fruit” faction was San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter. He never tired of bringing up the rice pilaf as if he thought it was the most brilliant defense of torture and mistreatment ever devised. He tried to run for president beginning in 2007, and he won the enthusiastic endorsement of Ann Coulter. He got only 524 votes in the Iowa Caucuses and, since he had not sought reelection to the House, that was the end of his political career.

But he was succeeded by his son, Duncan D. Hunter who was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump. The Hunters agree with Trump about free trade and they’re also obsessed with our southern border, so they’re kind of natural Trumpistas. The younger Hunter has called for the deportation of U.S. citizens whose parents entered the country illegally, and he’s advocated using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.

Now, I bring this up just as context, because Rep. Duncan D. Hunter is upset that Donald Trump blew off multiple entreaties and refused to meet with him and his little rump of fanboys when he traveled to DC yesterday to talk to Speaker Ryan.

“I think it would have been good of him” to meet with “the first endorsers,” Hunter said, as well as those who’ve gotten on board more recently, Hunter said. “There is no reason not to have as many people on your side as you can … and he missed a real opportunity here.”

…Hunter said the complaint isn’t about his ego, contending that face time with rank-and-file lawmakers would actually have helped Trump in the long run by making it easier for them to vouch for the candidate with voters in their districts.

“If they endorse him, then go back to their districts to say they’ve met him and he’s not crazy, it goes a long way,” Hunter said. “It helps if you can say, ‘I met the guy’ … and can be beneficial for Trump, too.”

What I want to highlight are the myriad ways in which Rep. Hunter is doing politics wrong here.

First, his complaint is stupid since Trump was in DC to talk to the Republican leaders of the House, not a bunch of backbenchers. Second, if he’s trying to help Trump, I don’t see how he does that by generating a story that is critical of him. Third, if he’s trying to ingratiate himself to Trump, criticizing him is a bad plan.

But, most importantly, he seriously argued that Trump needs to meet with lawmakers so they can have a patina of credibility when they go back to their districts and try to assure their constituents that Trump isn’t crazy.

Apparently, assuring people that Trump isn’t crazy just isn’t convincing unless you can truthfully claim that you’ve met him.

That’s the message and the sage advice that Rep. Duncan D. Hunter is doling out.

And, for all of that, he gets my You’re Doing It Wrong award.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.