GOP Sets New Bar for Disgusting Rhetoric
This post also cross-posted on Huffington Post.
When I was a kid I liked to see how far I could push my teachers, parents, friends, church minister, and girlfriends with the things I'd say. I'd say outrageous things to get a reaction. I've done the same thing in my marriage trying to get a rise out of my wife. In nearly all the cases, I've had to take it up a notch, as the people around me became immune to my comments, or simply started to ignore them.
Every once in a while, I'd say something so vile and disgusting that it would, in fact, get a rise and manage to disgust even me. This is about where the Republicans find themselves these days. Insulting foreigners, brown people, gays, veterans, and each other.
Donald Trump has been the one to set the bar in this contest. He's made comments that nearly all of the members of the party have at least thought to themselves, if not said out loud, away from microphones and behind closed doors. He's simply brought them out into the sunlight. While nearly everyone in the media and in the Republican Party thought Trump's outrageous comments would be the death of him, they've only helped him gain numbers in the polls. With each insult or vile comment, there's another leap in polling numbers. The rest of the players, rather than act with dignity and reserve, have all scurried to emulate him.
Just the other day we had presidential hopeful Marco Rubio insulting the President on FOX and Friends. When asked about The Donald and how he was not behaving in a way that is, "worthy of the office that he seeks," Rubio pivoted to going after Obama. "We already have a president now that has no class," Rubio said.
I mean, we have a president now that you know, does selfie stick videos, that invites YouTube stars there, people that, you know, eat cereal out of a bathtub. You just saw the interview he did right now, where he goes on comedy shows to talk about something as serious as Iran. The list goes on and on.
The irony that he tweeted himself saying this on FOX was obviously lost on him. What with his comments about narcissistic selfie sticks and appearing on comedy shows.
While Arsenio Hall tweeted that Rubio's, DNA should have died in a hand towel, the more polite Chris Matthews called it, "a cheap slur that works with the cheap seats in the Republican Party."
And it was a cheap slur, but that's what the GOP is striving for these days. And the cheaper, more vile, and more outrageous the better. Trump insulted a veteran, prisoner of war, and sitting senator for Pete's sake and his numbers shot through the roof.
Not to be outdone in the "I wanna be like Trump" pageant, Mike Huckabee, after calling President Obama naive to trust the Iranians and his foreign policy "the most feckless in American history," then closed with this little gem:
By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people.
Huckabee's campaign, giddy with the prospect of out-trumping Trump, even created a graphic out of the quote later that day and tweeted it.
In a single comment, Team Huckabee managed to invoke Hitler, the Nazis, and to make light of the Holocaust; not to mention minimize the murder and torture of millions of people. Well done. That's got to be worth some polling numbers among some of his voting demographic.
This is a leap even for Huckabee who, while giving a speech at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville said,
Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I'm pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.'
Let's keep in mind that this is a man who served as a governor and was a Baptist minister. Both positions ideally requiring a certain level of compassion, empathy, and diplomacy.
Watching the GOP become unhinged is not unlike watching hyperactive children trying to outdo each other with fart noises. The rest of us, the adults, look on unable to keep from laughing, but still get that sinking feeling in the pit of our stomach because we know how this will end. They'll keep going - each fart noise more gross than last - until one of them decides to escalate the competition with a real one and they all end up laughing so hard and trying to outdo the other that one of them inevitably actually poops their pants.
What's next? How far will this go? I have a few ideas, but I'm not going to share them here. I'm trying to not disgust myself these days.