Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Truthiness of the GOP Is Debatable

I've made it a point not to obsess over the GOP debates this year. Yeah, they've been reliable car wrecks by the side of the road, making it hard not to look to spot the injured. But if there are any injuries, it's more likely than not the truth that suffers. Though Rick Perry has sorely tested that thesis.

I'm a partisan. I want more Democrats than Republicans to get elected, and I try to be explicit when discussing why. I'm reasonably good at avoiding name-calling. And yet I can't help but be shocked by the vapidity of many of the answers when I view the tape. It's shocking, is all.

I should like the messes the candidates get into, such as when Michele Backmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry explain that in spite of U.S. and international law -- which the U.S. is a signatory to -- they continue to promulgate waterboarding as a viable tool in our interrogation arsenal, in spite of, well, everything. If they were credible candidates I'd be worried. And as a partisan, I should be happy that they continue to muck up the GOP brand.

A reminder issued by Scott Pelley last night: even John McCain condemned waterboarding in his election try in 2008.

I remember when Dick Cheney warned in 2004 that if John Kerry were elected president, we were likely to get attacked again. It made no sense. Still, John Kerry didn't get elected.

Channeling Cheney, there was Mitt Romney in SC declaring that if Obama is reelected Iran will surely have the Bomb. If Mitt is elected, he'll magically make it not so. Right.

Of course, that doesn't make sense. It's just, well, truthiness, as Stephen Colbert has instructed us. Here's how you do it: sound plausible and utter it with conviction.

If I'm elected, men will wear white boxers. If Mitt Romney is elected, they'll all turn pink. And I know what I'm talking about.

See how easy truthiness is?

“We have a president right now who thinks America is just another nation,” said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. “America is an exceptional nation.”

Pink boxers, Mitt.

The candidates also attacked Obama for pulling the troops out of Iraq, which he's doing while following a status-of-forces agreement forged in the Bush administration. Of course, any of the GOP candidates could have strong-armed the Iraqis into letting the troops stay.

Yep, pink boxers.

There is not much else that was memorable at the Republican debate in SC. Seriously. With one exception: the audience applauded when Cain, Bachmann, and Perry went all waterboarding on us. That might set a record for the greatest number of weird stuff happening at debates. First, it was cheering when Rick Perry was asked about his highest-in-the-nation execution rate in Texas. Then it was shouting "Yeah!" when it was suggested that people who died because they didn't have health insurance deserved it. Finally, there was the booing of the gay soldier. Real classy.

Let's review: the GOP debate audiences have, variously, cheered executions, support the deaths of the uninsured, booed gay soldiers, and endorsed torture. I hope their moms weren't watching -- and that the voters were.

There is one conclusion I have yet to consider. Is what's on display on the stage of these debates -- and in the audiences -- emblematic of the true feelings of today's GOP? If it is, they, or we, are in trouble.

You know, like Mitt Romney's foreign policy

 Update: Today, Senator John McCain announced that he was "very disappointed" with the endorsement of waterboarding as an "enhanced interrogation technique."

"It's contrary to America's traditions," he said. "It's contrary to our ideals. That's not who we are. That's not how we operate. We don't need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice."

Also, since Mitt Romney didn't weigh in on the subject during the debate, I kept him out of the controversy. However, The Washington Post reported today that:
Mitt Romney did not weigh in during the debate, but aides later told reporters that the former Massachusetts governor does not believe waterboarding is torture and did not rule out its use in a Romney administration.
So, there you have it. Gingrich, by the way, seems to have fallen through the cracks, on torture anyway. But according to a PPP poll out today, he's the frontrunner, with 28% to Cain's 25%. Romney slips to 3rd with 18%. Remember, Gingrich was all but written off months ago, by Republicans! Yowzah.

My lead's gonna be thi-i-s-s big!

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