It isn’t so shocking that Donald Trump said of ISIS, “I would bomb the shit out of ‘em.” He does after all have a track record of saying some seriously stupid things. One reward for that is an extremely long list of websites dedicated to his rhetorical malefactions.
The other reward, apparently, is becoming an early favorite to earn the GOP nomination. Seething with jealousy, Ted Cruz too has entered the fray for the heavyweight troglodyte title. Though I realize that blood sport is all about the kill, having a second contender suggest carpet bombing strains even this Curmudgeon’s ability to discern the depths of American political dysfunction.
This is genuinely stupefying.
Primaries bring out the worst in politicians being more like precinct donnybrooks or professional wrestling than an ordered process to pick the leader of the free world. It gets ugly. Really ugly. Just ask Edmund Muskie.
But this is a different species of ugly than the 1972 dirty tricks. As grotesque as presidential politics has always been, policy has been treated seriously albeit somewhat superficially. The only prominent candidate that has ever approached this level of cavalier exposition was Barry Goldwater, and that didn’t work out so well for him.
One might think these candidates had taken a leave of their senses if it were not for the admonition that one should not attribute to insanity that which is adequately explained by self-interest. And from their perspective, it is working out grandly.
I’m certainly not alone pointing out that primaries are necessarily focused on solidifying a candidate’s political base. This is a truism. Yet the radical lack of propriety gives one a sense that perhaps there is a fundamental shift in play. Clearly, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Worry about America later.
I have no quarrel with a candidate advocating aggressive pursuit of criminals, but these glib sound-bites smack more of Western-centrism or racism than policy. I must be missing something because I see no possible advantage to this hyperbole. I would love for a Trump or Cruz apologist to explain this approach to my moderate Muslim friends.
Anyone that utters such nonsense must never be handed the Football.
This would all be great political fun if the stakes were not so high—but I am finding it hard to laugh at the political class and their minions this time around. Make no mistake about it, the world order is transmuting around us and as the center of the old order, the United States matters. How we select our leadership matters. How the President conducts himself matters. The world is watching.
Well, not quite. There are those who find the United States an obstacle to their vision for the world order. There are those bitter about any number of American excesses on the world stage that are eager to witness our death throes. There are those simply jealous.
And there is Hillary.
She never dreamed of an opponent less likable than herself.