How low will the next Republican debate go?

We have seen that there seems to be no depth of extremism to which the Republican party cannot and will not sink. The other question is how vacuous the Republican presidential primary debates can get and that too seems to have no limits. With the next Republican debate coming up tomorrow, no doubt knives are being sharpened in all the campaign headquarters.

Donald Trump has taken to suggesting that Ben Carson’s Seventh Day Adventist faith is weird and out of the mainstream. He asserted that Carson has even lower energy than Jeb Bush. Carson responded by saying that he has lots of energy and said that as a boy he attacked people with rocks and hammers and even tried to stab his friend with a knife. You’ve got to admit that is pretty high energy and one wonders how he later morphed into his current persona where he seems to be either heavily sedated or stoned out of his mind.

Lindsey Graham has seized on Carson’s remark to suggest that surely people should prefer him over the two front runners?

“Can I give you the take on this race?” Graham proposed. “On our side, you’ve got the number two guy tried to kill somebody at fourteen. And the number one is high energy and crazy as hell. How am I losing to these people?”

Graham later added, “And I’ve tried to murder no one, ever. So this should move me up a little bit.”

“Vote for me. I am not crazy and never tried to kill anyone.” Not a bad argument, that, even if it is setting the bar a little low. But Lindsey, I can answer why you are losing so badly. It is because nobody really likes you.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush seems to be still smarting from Trump’s ‘low energy’ dig and has started thumping his fist when he speaks and responding tersely and tartly to questions, while clasping Jesus more closely to his bosom. This shows what a poor campaigner he is and it should be no surprise that his campaign is struggling. When an opponent like Trump accuses you of being low-energy, your response should not be to adopt energetic poses. That makes you look even weaker and a phony. Your response should be to counterpunch by saying something like “I use my energy to think things through rather than to shoot off my mouth. You should try it some time.”

Meanwhile you can be sure that Carly Fiorina is frantically plotting some outrageous rubbish like her Planned Parenthood comments at the last debate that gave her a brief bump in the polls. She has faded rapidly since then so you can expect a real doozy as she seeks the limelight again.

Marco Rubio may be the biggest beneficiary from all this idiocy, flying under the radar and hoping to keep the spotlight away from his meager resume. He might have to defend himself from the charge of hypocrisy because he called for the firing of federal workers for not doing their jobs when it turns out that he has the worst attendance record in the US Senate.

And then we can expect to see Cruz, Christie, Kasich, and Paul flailing away, using the limited time they will get to say something memorable so that they do not continue to be seen as afterthoughts. Of these four, I put my money of Christie and Cruz to be the ones who say something really ridiculous to gain attention, the former since his campaign is floundering and he desperately needs to shift attention away from his low approval ratings back in his home state, and the latter because that is who he is. Kasich is stuck because he is trying to look like the moderate candidate though is policies are pretty conservative, and Paul is falling between too stools: not libertarian enough to satisfy his father’s supporters but having some libertarian views that right-wingers view with suspicion.

With all this theater, you can be sure of one thing. Unlike with the Democratic debate, nothing of any substance will be discussed in any depth.


  1. deepak shetty says

    “On our side, you’ve got the number two guy tried to kill somebody at fourteen.

    When I first read this , I hadnt seen Carsons statement -- so I read it as the number two guy tried to kill the number fourteen guy -- It says a lot about this set of candidates that even reading it that way did not surprise me -- only a mild curiosity about who was polling at number 14.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    My prediction for the debate: at least one candidate will use the IARC report that came out yesterday on the proven link between processed meat and cancer as an excuse to bash science and set himself or herself up as the defender of beef and bacon.

    Anyone want to pick up that bet?

  3. lorn says

    I still think that the GOP leadership will end up backing Lindsay Graham in a big way. These are still the cat-scrap days. We have better than a year of this to come and I fear we haven’t seen anything yet. I picture a huge cat fight with claws and fur flying.

    Out of this mayhem will emerge Lindsay Graham in a very professionally stage managed coming out. This will coincide with a wall-to-wall media blitz promoting him and a parallel wave of attack adds which causes his opponents to wilt. It will look like the second coming timed to sweetly follow attack ads from outside groups using deep opposition research.

    Think of the top four of his opposition all facing Swiftboat style character assassination campaigns. It will be all Lindsay Graham, all the time against a backdrop of disgrace and mudslinging. Lindsay Graham will, of course, have absolutely nothing to do with the negative ads and he will loudly ad clearly condemn them.

  4. StevoR says

    @ ^ lorn : Interesting hypothesis and seems plausible to me.


    “Vote for me. I am not crazy and never tried to kill anyone.” Not a bad argument, that, even if it is setting the bar a little low. But Lindsey, I can answer why you are losing so badly. It is because nobody really likes you.

    Meh, I like Lindsey Graham -- or at least I reckon he’s better than almost all the other Repubs running this year. Seems to me that him, Pataki and Christie are the most moderate and thus also best and more electable of the bad mob they’ve got. I’d rather one of those won the Repub nomination than any of others.

    Then again, I wanted Newt Gingrich to win about this stage in the last US election because of his visionary space program plan and advocacy so, yeah. Probably the proverbial kiss of death. Not that I can vote anyhow on account of being neither Republican nor American.

    @1. deepak shetty : “It says a lot about this set of candidates that even reading it that way did not surprise me – only a mild curiosity about who was polling at number 14.”

    According to the latest figures via Greg Laden’s blog :

    Number 14 is Lindsey Graham. (Not counting the quit candidates -- if so then Bobby Jindal.) Of course these figures and positions have changed a little bit over time so it might’ve depended on when exactly Carson said it.

  5. Mano Singham says

    StevoR @#8,

    It is no surprise that you like a warmonger like Lindsey Graham since he too wants to bomb the hell out of every Muslim country. You are twin souls.

  6. StevoR says

    @ ^ Mano Singham : Except in fact I do NOT want the hell bombed out of anywhere, let alone every Muslim nation, and have said so many times now. So you are just wrong here and are lying about me at least.

    My preference is for a peaceful resolution of global problems and a cultural shift away from Jihadism and extremism in the Muslim world where they internally reform their religion to a milder more secular and tolerant form as Christianity once did centuries ago. At least most mainstream Western Christianity anyhow -- admittedly some US and other versions have slid backwards since.

    PS. On that much required internal reformation of Islam I think you might find this Latelineinterview and book by former radical turned founder of Quilliam Foundation Maajid Nawaz and Sam Harris interesting :

    I haven’t yet read their book ‘Islam and the Future of Tolerance’ (not even sure if its out yet) but it certainly sounds like it will make a good and fascinating read and case.

  7. StevoR says

    PS. Citation badly needed on Lindsey Graham actually wanting to “bomb the hell out of every Muslim nation” -- really every one? Brunei? Kuwait? Malaysia? Kosovo? Albania? Bangladesh? Guinea? Mali? Oman? Turkey? Tunisia? Tajikistan? Western Sahara? Yemen? United Arab Emirates? Pakistan?

    You really think Graham wants to bomb all or even any of those Muslim nations? I don’t. Please show a specific statement from Graham where he says anything remotely like this!

  8. lorn says

    The point is that the main GOP leadership is going to have access to what might amount to almost a billion dollars if they pull out all the stops. With that sort of money, and loans that might multiply that amount, they can buy all the time slots available. They might even preempt regular broadcasting.

    I think Graham is as good a candidate as any on the right but Rubio has the advantages of youth and ethnicity, and he comes from a swing state. With the sky being the limit on how much they can spend means they can dominate the media space, buy reporters, buy crowds, turn CNN and FOX into 24/7 wall-to-wall campaign ads. The American people have been trained to think that if it is on TV it has to be true. The mythology is that ads can’t directly change behavior. That they merely inform and subtly alter perceptions of the product. Which makes me wonder why the major corporations spend so much on advertising.

    We may see the selling of the presidency to the highest bidder. Followed by a president so deeply in debt that he is forced to sell pardons, exemptions from prosecutions, public lands and resources … pretty much everything.

  9. StevoR says

    Incidentally, Mano Singham and others, please note that I am NOT supporting Graham here for POTUS merely for the Republican 2016 candidacy. I’m no huge fan of his but do think he is among the most reasonable and moderate out of a very bad, unreasonable and immoderate even downright appalling lot. I’m only saying Graham here is better than Trump, Carson, Cruz et al .. that’s all. Pataki or Christie are about on a par with him too. (For all the little use it is seeing as I can’t vote anyhow.) I don’t think that Graham will actually win the nomination but I hope he does because the least evil of a whole lot of much more evil greater evils.

    The person I’d like to see become POTUS is Hilary Clinton and I fully expect her to beat whoever the Repubs choose -- but just in case and for the sake of the Overton window, I’d rather she was up against a more moderate Repub than a totally extreme one.

    BTW. I also got somewhat of the wrong link in # 11 with this one :

    Having the interview simultaneously conducted with Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz and atheist Sam Harris -- and yeah, I know Harris isn’t held in great esteem by many here but I think in this case he’s certainly doing and saying, well, writing something worth reading and contemplating. Read it and judge for yourselves -- or not -- as you choose.

  10. Mano Singham says

    StevorR @12 and #14,

    Of course you like Hillary Clinton. She, like Graham is in favor of bombing Muslim countries, so your preferences are obvious.

    I am sure it will come a a relief to Muslims the world over that you don’t advocate bombing ALL their countries, just some. Which ones do you think should be bombed? It would help if you list the countries that you don’t want to bomb or the ones that do, whichever list is shorter. Then the people in those countries will be able to sleep better at night knowing that they and their children and other loved ones and their hospitals and schools and neighborhoods will not be blown to bits by people who think like you.

  11. StevoR says

    @ ^ Mano Singham : I’ve said it before on this blog already, do I really need to say it again? Alright then for the umpteenth time :

    I don’t believe any nation -- Muslim or otherwise -- should be bombed

    Not if it can possibly be avoided which means unless there’s a war happening in which they are bombing others and then being bombed back in defense.

    So that’s zero nations I want bombed -- not a single damn one.

    Nations which I do NOT want to see bombed? Well, get a globe, spin it round all the way and *every* country on it is on that list from Angola to Zimbabwe, Albania to Uzbekistan, America and Israel to Iran and Yemen along with every other land on that pale blue dot is on that list.

    Nor do I think Hilary Clinton is a “war monger” and you haven’t provided any evidence to show that she is -- or indeed answered with any evidence showing Lindsey Graham is. I don’t think that H. Clinton or L. Graham are what you are claiming them to be and you have given me no reasons or evidence here to change that opinion. I know for a fact that I am not the sort of strawmonster you have falsely painted me as here too. Wish you’d recognise that and behave accordingly.

  12. Silentbob says

    I do NOT *like* the thought of nuking or otherwise bombing Iran.

    I recognise that there’ll be a lot of casualties and “war is hell” and all that.

    But I’m also rational, logical and aware enough to know that it cannot be avoided because the alternative is far worse. The alternative is, somewhere down the line, them nuking or destroying us instead.

    Self defence. It is, as I’ve already noted before us or them. They’ve declared war, they are fighting us — we can deny that until they slit our throats or we can get real and fight back.

    If we choose to fight back — as we will because the appeasers can’t keep winning the argument forever; just as the Climate Change Deniers and Creationists and pro-Tobacco lobby cannot because the facts and reality are against them — then its best that we win as quickly and as decisively and as humanely as possible.

    If the choice is a land invasion of Iran that will cause hundreds of millions of casualties on BOTH sides or a massive air bombing incl. with daisy-cutters, neutron bombs or nukes that will cause relatively fewer deaths — say tens of milions instead of hundreds on their side alone rather than on *both* sides — then the aerial bombardment is ethically & practically the best option.

    StevoR — April 6, 2012 (source)

  13. Silentbob says

    We are at war with Iran already. Despite the failure of some on the Left to recognise and accept reality. We have been since the Ayatollah took over in the Iranian revolution in the 1970’s. Either we take them out or they will keep attacking us — economically and militarily and perhaps if they are allowed to build them with nuclear weapons.

    It *is* us or them. Sooner or later either Iran will take us out or we’ll take Iran out.

    I’d rather it were us doing the taking out and not being taken out.

    Don’t y’all agree?

    Or would you rather see your country destroyed and your families and friends massacred with what’s left of the West submitting to the Jihadists and being a conquered province of their misogynist, homophobic, capita sharia law Kaliphate?

    It never fails to amaze me how anyone who supposedly believes in progressive values, feminism, human rights, cultural tolerance and generally treating other humans decently can possibly have the slightest time of day for the Muslim ideology which is opposed to all those things far more even than the US Christian Right-wing.

    Muslims, folks, would slit your appeasing throats with as much bloodthirsty joy as they’d chop my head off. hey dont care for science or athesim or compassionate humanism at all and will kill those who do.

    StevoR — April 6, 2012 (source)

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