Recently, I watched the Republican presidential debates on Fox News and I was taken by how far a onetime great political party, the party that gave us Lincoln and Eisenhower, has fallen into madness and extremism. Don’t get me wrong, the Democratic Party is barely functional, and has plenty of issues, too. But watching the stage full of candidates try to out crazy one another was like watching a car wreck involving the clown car from the nearest circus. It’d be funny if not for the fact that one of these Bozos might be the next president.
The debate was won by the current front runner, the xenophobic and racist ex-reality television star, Donald (“The Donald”) trump, who dominated the stage and was by far the funniest of the clowns. The debate got off to a great start when the extraordinarily attractive Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly asked Trump about disparaging comments he’s made about women, calling them “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,” to which Trump came back with, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” It was a funny and pretty quick response, and I don’t agree with those who say Trump should apologize to O’Donnell – she’s a comedienne who has made plenty of disparaging remarks of her own – so she’s fair game. What followed was fascinating and very revealing. In answering the question, Trump went on a rant about political correctness, then closing with “and honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me …” He has since gone on the offensive against Kelly, who, in response to the attacks, keeps citing her own journalistic credentials, which, as far as I can tell, consist of being extraordinarily attractive. Kelly aside, the Trump remarks about “not being nice” to her and subsequent remarks about “blood coming out of her eyes, out of her whatever” because she had the audacity to ask him a tough question is beyond arrogance and insensitivity. It is spiteful, childish and thin skinned. It’s all funny and makes good headlines and sound bites, but are these qualities we want in a President? In the most powerful man in the world?
Trump has also been under fire for remarks about illegal immigrants from Mexico, and has refused to back down from them, making illegal immigration the center piece of his campaign. His plan is to deport all the illegals in the country today, build a wall along the entire U.S. Mexico border, and remove the birthright to citizenship that is guaranteed in the fourteenth amendment. It’s so simple! Let’s look at these ideas one by one:
1) Deporting all the illegal immigrants – there are currently estimated to be about 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., 6.5 million, or 60%, of which are from Mexico. The question is, how is President Trump going to go about rounding these people up? Who will be charged with this – local or federal law enforcement, the military, the national guard? Any effort of “rounding up and deporting” this many people will undoubtedly make mistakes, and accidently deport current American citizens. And what of the cost? And what of the great Republican principles of small government, and keeping government out of our lives? Remember all the insane and unsubstantiated rumors about Obama and death squads and sharia law that have supposedly been coming for the last seven years now – and now, you have a candidate for president saying he would as part of policy have armed law enforcement or military personnel rounding up eleven million people within our borders? Who is going to pay for this? 9% of illegal immigrants, or more than a million, are from Asia. Are we going to round them up, too? What about the 6%, or more than 700,000 who are here illegally from Canada and Europe? Or are they too light-skinned?
2) A wall along the entire border – it would have to cover 1, 989 miles of some of the most rugged and inhospitable terrain in North America. The financial cost of such an effort would be astronomical, and it would do nothing to prevent illegal immigration coming in from other countries – refugees from Asia, boat people from the Caribbean, even disgruntled Canadians. And a bit of recent history – remember the last wall? That little thing in Berlin? Every American president from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush denounced it as an affront to freedom loving people around the world. And now we’re going to build one ourselves? Ronald Reagan once said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” – so we could build a new one? I guess the Statue of Liberty doesn’t face south.
3) No birthright to citizenship – all those tea partiers and freedom loving conservatives who invoke the constitution as sacred a document as the bible are suddenly behind repealing the fourteenth amendment. I guess the second amendment, the one that gives us the right to own guns, is the only one that matters.
And by the way, speaking of guns, Trump says that the illegal immigrants are a bunch of murderers and rapists. No way we can allow these people in – they might take victims away from the murders and rapists who are already here! So far, in 2015, there has been on average more than one mass shooting a day – yet we can’t do anything about gun registration because of our sacred constitution. Yet when confronted with “anchor-babies,” the constitution becomes disposable again.
I’m tired of how selective the conservative outrage is. We have to drug test welfare recipients because they are cheating the tax payers, while at the same time no one seems to care that we are paying exponentially more to cover the loopholes and cronyism on Wall Street that constitutes corporate welfare. We have to send our military into difficult and dangerous situations in foreign lands to stamp out terrorism, while at the same time, when innocent children are massacred in a school shooting, arms are thrown up in the air and the “you can never stop bad people from doing bad things” argument is trotted out again. There have been more than 8.600 Americans killed by guns so far in 2015 – about three times as many as were killed on 9/11. We went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. What have we done about gun violence? – nothing. Not even simple, quick and unobtrusive background checks.
Back to immigration – if only there was some alternative to Trump’s crazy and expensive plan. Like the bill passed by the Senate in 2013 by a 68 to 32 margin, a rare moment of bipartisanship in recent Congressional history, that would implement the most sweeping changes in immigration laws in over a generation, including a pathway to citizenship and unprecedented resources for securing the border. But wait – the House leadership has refused to allow this bill to be voted upon. So instead we are treated to the bat-shit crazy ramblings of a second rate celebrity posing as a politician.
The Donald, though, speaks his mind! He says what he thinks – what he thinks will draw more attention to himself. He’s a breath of fresh air! – unless you are sitting downwind from him.
Eventually, I think people are going to grow tired of Trump’s antics and look to a more “serious” candidate. Like …. Scott Walker? I don’t think so. People are just beginning to realize what a bizarre idiot the man who’s only “qualification” is smiting those awful and terrifying terrorists also known as school teachers really is. Jeb Bush? It used to be assumed that Jeb was George W’s smarter brother, because, well, a chunk of concrete was smarter then George W. But now that Jeb’s been out there on the trail for a couple of months, it’s becoming evident that the score is concrete two, Bushes zero.
The only candidate who seemed to possess even a hint of sanity during the debate was Ohio governor John Kasich. He seemed serious and thoughtful and well spoken (if only when compared to the others), so he has no chance.
Marco Rubio? Get the man a glass of water. Chris Christie? The Ricks – Perry and Santorum? Mike Huckabee? Bobby Jindall? Dr. Ben Carson? Ted Cruz? Lindsey Gramm?
Democrats are licking their chops, convinced that none of these will be electable in a national election, and that by appealing to the radical base of their party, Republicans are alienating the broader main stream electorate. But I can’t help but think that if one of these clowns gets the nomination, it’s a sad indictment of where we are as a country. We deserve formidable and substantial candidates of character and intelligence from any party that puts a candidate on the ballot.
Unless, instead of President, we are electing King Clown. If that’s the case, the system is working perfectly.