Last night was the fifth Republican debate (only six more to go!), the focus of which was terrorism, and I did end up watching it and live-tweeting it, which naturally I deeply regretted. And I regretted it even more than usual, because listening to nine aggressively vile cowards fearmongering about radical Islam and promising to be the Ultimate Murder Lord of America to Keep Us Safe absolutely sickened me to the depths of my being.
It was just a nonstop onslaught of violent rhetoric, as each candidate tried to convince US voters that s/he would be the most ruthless slayer of terrorists and civilians, the most bloodthirsty avenger, the most reflexive unleasher of mass killing in our names.
Honestly, the only people I can imagine sitting around enthusiastically talking about killing people more than these jerks are IS.
The Washington Post has the complete transcript of the debate available here.
It's tough to choose a single clip from the debate that summarizes its revolting tone. There was Ted Cruz talking about "carpet bombing" IS, and John Kasich talking about punching Russia in the nose, and Donald Trump saying, well, anything. But perhaps this moment with Dr. Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon, was the most incredible of the evening:
Questioner Hugh Hewitt: People admire and respect and are inspired by your life story, your kindness, your evangelical core support. We're talking about ruthless things tonight—carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder: Could you do that? Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?I mean. What is this question?! "Sir, do you have THE BALLS to murder children by the hundreds and thousands?" And what is this answer?! "Children with brain tumors understood I had to operate on them to save them, so children will understand FROM HEAVEN that I had to murder them in order to save us." What is this nightmare even talking about?!
Carson: Well, interestingly enough, you should see the eyes of some of those children when I say to them we're going to have to open your head up and take out this tumor. They're not happy about it, believe me. And they don't like me very much at that point. But later on, they love me. Sometimes you—I sound like him. [gestures toward Trump; he laughs, Trump smiles, and the audience laughs] You know, later on, you know, they really realize what's going on. And, by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it's actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by 1,000 pricks.
Hewitt: So you are OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilian? It's like— [audience boos]
Carson: [to the audience] You got it. You got it.
Hewitt: That is what war— Can you be as ruthless as Churchill was in prosecuting the war against the Nazis?
Carson: Ruthless is not necessarily the word I would use, but tough, resolute, understanding what the problems are, and understanding that the job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of this country and to do what is necessary in order to get it done. [audience applause]
This is what the Republican primary has become: Who is willing to be the most ruthless murderer of children? And also defund Planned Parenthood because they totes kill babies?
I have never witnessed such a repugnant display of casual suggestions of genocidal rage.
Further, the entire debate was peppered with an excessive amount of sniping, bickering, and insults, accompanied by the usual failures of serious policy suggestions. None of these people are remotely qualified to be president—in experience, competency, or temperament.
It is utterly chilling to imagine any one of them empowered with the stewardship of this nation.
Fuck this whole cruel, vile, cowardly party.