Republican debate: a ghastly monster parade

I watched a little more than half the Republican monster parade, I mean debate, last night. (I couldn’t take much more than that.) Here are a couple of impressions:

Vivek Ramaswamy. He could be competing for the title of “most obnoxious man in America”

First was the center of the debate last night, Vivek Ramaswamy. He actually accomplished the impossible – strutting while standing still. I would have thought it impossible, but he is a more obnoxious version of Trump. He stood up there flashing his whitened smile (I’m certain he’s had his teeth whitened), preening, and mugging. The only times he wasn’t saying outright lies (Trump is innocent) was when he was spouting one slogan after another. In fact, he was so obnoxious that I came near to applauding former Trump confederate and right wing conservative Nikki Haley when she destroyed Ramaswamy over his call to allow Putin to annex as much of Ukraine as he wants. (Note: Haley was one of those who quickly raised her hand to affirm that she’d support Trump as the nominee even if he were a convicted criminal.) Ramaswamy was attacked for being totally inexperienced as a politician, but so was the Republican hero who loomed over the entire event: Donald Trump, who’d never served in any office before he became president. (He was so obnoxious that it’s an afterthought to recall that he said “climate change policy is a hoax”. And while tens of millions of Americans have been sweltering under an unprecedented heat wave, not a single other Republican candidate took him up on this deadly lie.)

And yet the crowd loved him. (More on that later.)

Chris Christie last night.

Second: CNN, MSNBC and that whole crowd has been parading Chris Christie across their screens as some sort of hero because he opposes Trump’s coup attempt. What is never mentioned is that Christie was sucking up to Trump for four long years, right up to that attempt. He thereby helped enable the very act that he then pulled back from. Last night his “opposition” to the coup attempt was revealed, or rather it was hidden even further. When it came to Trump and his coup attempt, Christie’s main theme was that the Republicans cannot win if they take up the “stolen election” theme. When Vivek Ramaswamy repeated once again that if he were elected and if Trump were convicted, he’d pardon him, and that he (Ramaswamy) had read the indictments and there was nothing there, Christie said very little. Neither Christie nor the other MSNBC/CNN hero, Asa Hutchinson (governor of Arkansas) pointed out the extremely strong evidence that Trump is guilty – guilty of stealing secret documents and then obstructing justice and guilty of trying to steal an election. So, the rampant denialism of simple facts was allowed to go unchallenged.

Mike Pence. He is a “hero” for not enabling one man dictatorship.

Then comes the role of Mike Pence. He was lionized by Christie and some others for having grown a backbone (which took four years) and standing up to Trump, refusing to overturn the 2020 elections. Pence himself bragged about that, how loyal he is to the Constitution, etc. etc. That is like a man who’s spent four years of marriage beating and bullying his wife but, at the very end, refusing to outright murder her, and then bragging about what a great husband and human being he is. Christie helped with that. DeSantis reluctantly agreed, but half heartedly.

Is this man smiling, grimacing or baring his fangs?

As for DeSantis himself: Everything they say about him was on display last night. Clearly he’s been practicing smiling, but this morning one colunnist said that his smile looks like a Doberman Pinscher baring its teeth. That’s about right. Or maybe a vampire about to bite your neck. His signature moment came when one of the moderators asked the candidates to raise their hands if they thought that global warming caused by human activity was real. DeSantis interrupted to complain that “we’re not a bunch of school children” and rant on from there. In that case and several others, he clearly avoided the question. But he won’t suffer in his ratings for that. No, his ratings are crumbling because he’s so unlikable.

On the actual issues: every single one of them was in agreement about denying a woman her right to control her own body as far as pregnancy is concerned. They all paraded behind the lie that Democrats and abortion rights advocates support something like “ripping a living fetus out of a woman’s body up until birth”. Of those who commented, all supported some version of Ramaswamy’s “drill, baby, drill, and mine more coal while we’re at it. Nothing need be done about cutting carbon emissions.” They all played on the law and order theme while ignoring the role of former Lawbreaker-in-Chief, Donald Trump (and his merry band of criminals).

Joe Biden in Maui, reminiscing about the time his house house on the lake was hit by lightning.

And while all this was going on, President Biden was off in Maui, reminiscing about the time his house by the lake was struck by lightening. Yes, really! If Trump or whoever it is loses, that’s all it will be – that that candidate loses, because Biden couldn’t beat a dead horse in a race.

What was most upsetting to me about this whole ghastly Halloween monster parade wasn’t even the fact Ramaswamy got most of the applause lines. Even worse was the focus group discussion that Fox held after this horror show. At one point the moderator asked something to the effect of which candidate the people liked best. Almost all the young men in the group said Ramaswamy.

Now that is truly frightening.

2 replies »

  1. Thanks, John, for your very funny and informative reflections on last night’s Republican Party Monster Parade. I missed watching it myself, but your observations sum up the gist of it, I’m sure.

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