LAS VEGAS – If you listened very, very closely to the fifth Republican debate last night you could’ve picked up one or two nuggets that actually reflected reality. But that made the session all the more scary.
Like the four others, thanks to Donald Trump, the debate was more akin to a Don Rickles-style celebrity roast than to a discussion of national affairs. At the roasts, entertainers insulted each other to get yuks from the audience. At the GOP debates, Trump insults his erstwhile colleagues to cover up his ignorance of issues.
What’s worse, the other GOP presidential wannabees are following Trump’s lead.
Last night was no exception. Trump sarcastically told Bush “You’re a tough guy, Jeb. I know.” Then, on stage and in tweets, Trump said he must be right on issues because he’s ahead in the polls, called opponents “weak,” said one needed “brain surgery,” and on and on.
Other GOP candidates last night accused each other of being – gasp – “liberal” and “Alinskyites,” a reference to community organizer Saul Alinsky.
But when asked about nuclear weapon policy, Trump demurred, and none of the candidates seemed aware of the fact that one reason the “mega data” collection program was discontinued was that it proved useless as a national security tool.
Now comes the scary part.
Trump said something that just might make him seem even more attractive than he already is to voters disaffected with all “mainstream” politicians. This would be unfortunate for the American people.
Speaking of the cycle of Middle Eastern wars inaugurated under George W. Bush, Trump asked a good question: “What do we have now? …We have nothing for it.”
He continued: “We have spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems, our airports … we would have been a lot better off. … We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East but to humanity … and for what? It’s not like we had victory. It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized, a total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion.”
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
All evidence shows that Trump’s statement reflects the thinking of most Americans. Moreover, it puts him in sharp contrast to other GOP presidential candidates. Senator Lindsey Graham, for instance, declared “I miss George W. Bush. I wish Bush were still president.” And Carly Fiorina said “That is exactly what President Obama has said. I’m amazed to hear that from a Republican presidential candidate.”
However, Trump is the same Republican presidential candidate who would require all Muslims in America to register and to be constantly tracked. He would ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., even those escaping terrorism and war. He would close America’s door to just about all immigrants.
What’s more, Trump advocates committing war crimes against innocent people who might be related to terrorists.
Trump is appealing to Americans to elect him because through his own, personal strength he can “make America great again.”
Hitler used justifiable outrage against the Versailles Treaty to get Germans to accept him as their strongman protector.
Trump seems to be trying to sell himself as the savior of America by using justifiable outrage at the wars initiated by members of his own political party.
Photo: John Locher/AP