Josh Marshall has a terrific column in The Hill today, which highlights Rudy Giuliani's short-comings in foreign policy. From abandoning his seat on the Iraq Study Group (ISG) in order to make high priced speeches to his inability to distinguish Sunnis from Shiites to his failure to mention Iraq in his recently released "12 Commitments," the former New York mayor's recent collection of foreign policy gaffes is startling. But Giuliani's problems are merely part of a larger trend when it comes the GOP's 2008 field. John McCain's stroll through a Baghdad market to proclaim the area safer due to the troop surge he promoted backfired dramatically when it turned out that he was accompanied by a number of helicopters and hundreds of troops. The Arizona senator has also missed numerous votes on Iraq, while on the campaign trail. And, of course, Mitt Romney falsely claimed in front of a national TV audience in the third GOP debate that Saddam Hussein had not allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to enter Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction.
Perhaps equally alarming should be the media's failure to really challenge the GOP candidates on their failures. Marshall writes:
Given how badly Iraq has damaged John McCain over the last six months and how leery GOP base voters are of candidates who break strongly with the president on the issue, it’s really no surprise that Giuliani doesn’t want to talk about the subject at all.
My question is why reporters and even the other candidates are letting him.
Why indeed? Why has Newsday been practically the only paper to focus on Giuliani's quitting the ISG? Why did the Washington Post consider former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's mistaking Ronald Reagan's birthday the "gaffe of the night" during the third Republican debate a larger error than Romney's IAEA falsehood? These are important substantive questions that should be addressed by the media as the GOP front runners begin to release their policies for the country.