(Reuters/Chris Keane/Dominick Reuter/Photo montage by Salon)

The GOP's infantile delusions are out of control: A ludicrous CNN debate, a preposterous government shutdown & Donald Trump, still leading the pack

If last week's debate wasn't proof enough, then a Republican-controlled Congress hurtling toward shutdown should be


Conor Lynch
September 20, 2015 7:59PM (UTC)

It’s official: the Republican party has truly become the party of infantile children. The second GOP debate was full of blatant lies, petty mockery, and infighting, with attacks especially directed at the new king of the GOP, Donald Trump (faithful “conservatarians” may not like this reality, but their crippling of Congress helped to create this monster).

At the very start, Trump decided that the most “presidential” thing to do was attack Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (who, unlike every other person on the stage, actually made some very good points throughout the night), saying that he shouldn’t even be on stage because of his poll numbers -- which is odd, considering Paul is on average ahead of Walker and Christie.

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Paul responded:

“I think really there’s a sophomoric quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried, I’m very concerned about having him in charge of the nuclear weapons, because I think his visceral response to attack people on their appearance -- short, tall, fat, ugly -- my goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?”

Sensible people would be extremely worried, Senator Paul, but Republicans are no longer very sensible people. Calling each other names is what gets an applause these days. Making fun of people is “entertaining,” and Republican voters are apparently swayed by the entertainment factor.

Of course, with Trump way ahead in the polls, other candidates decided that their best option was to go on the offensive. Bush called him out as a special interest who basically tried to bribe him to allow casino gambling in Florida, Walker attacked him as being nothing but an entertainer (and on his four bankruptcies), while Fiorina said: “I think woman all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said (on his comments about her facial appearance),” which he responded to condescendingly, saying “I think she’s got a beautiful face.”

Apparently nobody but Paul got the memo that they’re no longer in Junior High.

Meanwhile, over at Congress, where elementary school seems to be a better analogy, right-wing extremists are throwing a hissy fit and trying to shut down the government (which would likely cost the economy billions, as it did last time) because of a measly $500 million in funding for Planned Parenthood. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to talk sense into Congressional Republicans -- but again, a sensible Republican is a rare breed these days.

“The cold hard reality for those who don’t support Planned Parenthood is that we need a president who has a similar view and would sign our bill,” said McConnell, who is trying to prevent another government shutdown. Sen. Dan Coats similarly said: “If there was a one in 1,000 chance to shut down what Planned Parenthood is doing by shutting down the government, I would support it. But with this president, it simply isn't possible. We've proven that, unfortunately, with the past effort on the shutdown.”

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Proof, reality, facts: Wen will establishment Republicans realize that individuals like Ted Cruz, who is once again leading the effort to shut down the government, do not operate in reality. If they did, then for one thing, there would be a bipartisan effort to combat climate change -- but they do not. Like children, they care little about facts or evidence, and they tend to call each other names. They also tend to blame someone else for their problems. Sound familiar?

Indeed, throughout the GOP debate, the one underlying theme was that President Obama has basically created every single problem in the world over the past seven years. Every. Single. One.

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And guess what? Donald Trump is once again destroying his competition in various online polls. It shouldn’t comes as a surprise. Trump has a dedicated base of internet trolls, and, well, Republicans simply like the Donald. They like his cockiness, his ad hominem style, his juvenile behavior, his nativism and nationalism, his billionaire status... you get the picture.

Some believe that it may be the beginning of the end for Trump, but many pundits have concluded this before, and have been very wrong. In a Republican party, where childlike behavior is applauded, being a bully is considered a virtue, and facts are considered unimportant trivialities, you can never really guess what’s going to happen. One can only hope that the American people are smart and mature enough to see past all of the hyperbole and distortion, and see the Republican field as the farce that it is.


Conor Lynch

Conor Lynch is a writer and journalist living in New York City. His work has appeared on Salon, AlterNet, Counterpunch and openDemocracy. Follow him on Twitter: @dilgentbureauct.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Elections Elections 2016 Gop Debate Gop Primary Government Shutdown The Republican Party

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