The Reid Report   |  March 04, 2014

Harsh criticism for Obama on Russia crisis

Several Republicans have criticized the White House’s response to the crisis in Crimea. But has their rhetoric crossed the line? And what would they do differently? Michael Medved discusses.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> mccain more than a decade ago calling out a radio conglomerate for the national damning of the dixie chicks . their crime, speaking out against the bush administration . senator mccain 's party's message was clear, only traitors call out their president in a time of crises. senator lindsey graham today tweeting, it started with benghazi , when you kill americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression, ukraine . that tweeted followed these reactions to the obama administration's foreign policy .

>> he has taken $480 billion out of our military and that sends a message that we're not going to maintain this weakened condition that we've ever experienced before.

>> people are looking at putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. they look at our president as one who wears monthly jeans and e kwif kates.

>> this is an effectless policy where nobody believes in america's strength anymore.

>> sounds like those rules about criticizing the president don't apply anymore. wonder what happened there. back to that idea of contradiction. here's what dana mill bag writes in the " washington post " in which he zeros in on what he calls the gop 's operation oxy moren. he writes, last wednesday i sat in a house hearing and listened to republicans describe obama exercising unparalleled use of power and operating an uber-presidency and used him of acting like a king and monarch and making the united states like a dictatorship by exercising imperial and imagine steer yal power. after events in ukraine this tyrant was said to be so weak that it's shocking. this morning, my republican colleague, joe scarborough also pointed out what you might call some thinking points for his party to consider.

>> republicans who are crowing about the democrats' failed policy in russia need to remember three things. first, it was george w. bush who claimed to have looked into putin 's eyes and seen the goodness of his soul. remember that? second, it was the george w. bush administration that did very little to stop putin from invading georgia in 2008 . and third, there remains a kwant notion that someone we still hold closely in our hearts and despite all the shabby behavior over the last quarter century politics should still end at the water's end.

>> when does the rhetoric from the right cross the line and when is it back seat quarterbacking and more importantly, what would the gop do differently?

>> michael med ved is an author and syndicated talk show host . thank you for being here.

>> thanks for having me.

>> i don't expect you to defend every single word but i want to talk about the overall theme. i want to reread this tweet that senator lindsey graham sent out. it started with benghazi , when you kill americans and nobody pays a price, you innovate this type of aggression. just in general, do you think that it's appropriate for a united states senator to blame benghazi , completely unrelated crises, for what a foreign leader, vladimir putin , is doing in ukraine ?

>> i do think the problem is that we have defiance of the united states and various red lines where we said there would be consequences where there were no consequences. president obama said there would be consequences for benghazi . there haven't been. president obama said to putin that there would be consequences if he gave asylum to snowden, and no consequences. then of course there's the matter of syria. all of this, it seems to me is valid criticism. having said that, i think the administration is catching up to this situation. i think secretary kerry did a good job today, it appears, in his visit to ukraine . the house majority leader, eric cantor , has actually supported the administration and i think that's appropriate because right now we need a strong secretary of state, we need a strong president, and it's appropriate to back president obama when he's trying to negotiate with vladimir putin .

>> i want to go back just for one second. in the case of benghazi , the people who did that are being investigated. when you talk about what is happening in russia , this is in russia 's sphere of influence, they have done something and now we have not only consequences, bipartisan consequences coming together. meaning we're not going to invade, go to war with russia over what they're doing in crimea, but there is a package of sanctions, economic assistance going to ukraine , talk about potential sanctions. we are negotiating what to do. what is it the gop wants done?

>> i think the response to ukraine , it's been a little bit tardy but it's basically reassuring. there are all kinds of other problems here where there have been no consequences and where we have drawn red lines , and it's perfectly appropriate to make this case. there was a disastrous timing with secretary hagel to announce that we were going to cut our military all the way back to troop levels before pearl harbor which attempted the japanese? that was a mistake.

>> which of those comments would you have want to see military action taken by the united states ? i don't believe it's appropriate for --

>> you're talking about military troops. that means you wanted to see some sort of robust military response.

>> i do believe that what president reagan laid out, steve clemons claimed that vladimir putin was like the ronald reagan of russia . president reagan believed in peace through strength, the best way to make sure that your military is never used is to make sure it is the most powerful in the world. it doesn't promote peace. it promotes risk. by the way, secretary hagel admitted that. i think that's a huge problem. it's precisely because i don't want those troops to be used and i don't want them in harm's way and neither does any republican, that you need to have an army that's beyond challenge and dominant in the world.

>> i believe our military in the strongest in the world and i think we've proved that over again. i don't think there's any military that can test the united states drawdown troops or not but i always appreciate you coming on, sir. thank you.