Some of the rhetoric coming from the Republican candidates for president makes me wonder if a group of paranoid schizophrenics weren’t prematurely released from a mental institution…without their meds.
I’ve pasted one example from each candidate of that paranoia. Search in Google to find many more or just watch a cable news network for a half hour.
Newt Gingrich: “All of you should be very deeply concerned about national security. Barack Obama is the most dangerous president in modern American history,” Gingrich said.
Rick Santorum: “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob,” said the former senator from Pennsylvania. “There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor to try to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.”
Mitt Romney: “We stand near the threshold of profound economic misery. Four more years of the same political path would be disastrous,” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars today.
Ron Paul: “illegal immigrants enter the country for the express purpose of giving birth. But illegal immigrants also use emergency rooms, public roads, and public schools. In many cases they are able to obtain Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and even unemployment benefits. … We must end the perverse incentives that encourage immigrants to come here illegally, including the anchor baby incentive.” – Ron Paul, (on his congressional website, not the infamous newsletters)
I can’t imagine that rhetoric appeals to more than just the “phobic” crowd. If I were a Republican, I’d be a little paranoid about my party going over the cliff while following those nutballs. Sometimes it takes a journalist from outside of America to see the big picture, from The Globe and Mail…
Those who remain in the race for the Republican nomination, and those who have departed it, made up a group characterized by insularity, intellectual shallowness and meanness of spirit, coupled with an unshakable eagerness to pander to every holy roller, Tea Partier, gun worshipper, global warming denier, government hater, nativist and billionaire financier – or, as Yeats would say, “the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
That this crop of candidates was the best that a once-great party could muster says much about the state of presidential politics, Republican-style. It says even more about the state of conservative opinion in America.
That opinion, with all its shadings, is best characterized by a consuming anger – which explains why the campaign hasn’t been about differences or vision but about resentment and fear and perfervid rhetoric that candidates have directed at each other and at real and imagined threats ranging from Barack Obama to Muslims, China, European “socialists,” excessive government and mad Iranian mullahs. (emphasis mine)
What scares me about this sort of rhetoric is the effect it might have on unstable people who may be prone to violence. In many ways, it confirms the worst instincts of those people, giving them tacit approval to act on their paranoid fears. If there are any adults left in the Republican Party, please bring some sanity back to your party for the sake of civil society.