Republican politicians and presidential aspirants fell all over each other this week, trying to be as offensive, spiteful and Islamophobic as possible. Let’s review some of the lowest of the legion of low-lights.
1. Ben Carson’s truly offensive and clearly intentional metaphor.
Reports of Ben Carson’s stupidity and inability to grasp foreign policy may (or may not) have been greatly exaggerated. But reports that he is an evil mother*cker have not. In his usual semi-somnambulant state, Carson compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” this week in a piece of rhetoric that really does, no exaggeration, rival Hitler.
"If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you're probably going to put your children out of the way," Carson said at a campaign event in Mobile, Alabama. "Doesn't mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination. But you're putting your intellect into motion and you're thinking, how do I protect my children?
Hmmm, let’s see, how many dog whistles can he blow at one time?
"By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly," Carson continued obviously pleased as punch with his metaphor. "Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us? Until we know how to do that, just like it would be foolish to put your child out into the neighborhood knowing that that was going on, it is foolish for us to accept people if we cannot have the appropriate type of screening."
The fact that these horrifyingly inflammatory remarks are uttered in Carson’s soft cadence, and by a doctor no less, somehow compounds their vileness. He’s fully capable of generating lots of metaphors, but he chooses this one. In what way exactly is that not evil?
2. Donald Trump—so many awful things it is difficult to keep track.
Having surged ahead again in the polls, Trump was handed the bullhorn time and again this week and he took full advantage, milking the xenophobic vote as hard as he could. Not content with his own suggestion that perhaps closing down mosques in the U.S. would be a good idea, he upped his own sky-high ante when he said Thursday that a Muslim registry might be a good idea, telling a reporter he “would implement that—absolutely.” Pressed further about how such a thing could be accomplished, he said, “Different places. You sign up at different places. But it’s all about management. Our country has no management.’’
By Friday, after having it pointed out to him virtually everywhere that what he was suggesting is strongly reminiscent of how the Nazis treated Jews, Trump tried to walk the registry idea back a little, blaming, who else, the press. He dissembled in a post on Twitter complaining that the reporter devil made him say it.
3. Donald Trump, yeah him again, spouting crazy conspiracy stuff about the president.
With all the other insane things Trump was busy saying this week, this little gem might have flown under the radar. It’s all of a piece with Donald’s birtherist obsession about President Obama. While the Trumpster usually tries to avoid answering questions about his birther obsession these days, he still seems fully open to the idea that the president is a secret foreigner—a Muslim, of course—and quite possibly a Trojan horse who is trying to detonate extremist Islam all over America. So, yeah. Nothing crazy about that.
Speaking with right-wing radio host Michael Savage, Trump first wondered why he had not received a thank-you note for suggesting that ISIS’ oil infrastructure be bombed. Those attacks have been underway for months now, but Trump is a selective reader of international news, to put it nicely, and just wants to take credit for that idea.
“Does anybody say thank you Donald?” he asked, apparently rhetorically. “Nobody. I’ve been the only one.” Hmmm, must get exhausting thanking himself all the time for all his brilliant ideas and general greatness.
Savage asked what Trump thought of President Obama's “real reason for flooding the country with Muslims from Syria,” apparently under the impression that 30,000 Syrians, who are not all Muslim, is a flood in a country with more than 320 million people. “Obviously some people think it is evil intentions,” Trump said, “a lot of people think that.”
4. Ted Cruz has some interesting, enlightened ideas about Muslims, too.
You can put Senator Ted Cruz firmly in the not-crazy-at-all camp of people who firmly believe President Obama has evil intentions toward the country he purports to lead.
“This president is so driven by radical ideology, by political correctness,” Cruz told Fox's Sean Hannity Thursday night. “The president insists we have to endanger the safety and security of our nation. Obama, instead of defending this nation, just attacks you and me and every American who wants to keep this nation safe.”
Cruz, like others in his right-wing echo chamber, can’t believe that the president and Hillary Clinton won’t say the words “radical” and “Islam” together, which is not true, but since when has that mattered?
Cruz preceded to advance one more crazy ignorant lie while he was at it, which is that Muslims are compelled to lie; it’s in the Quran.
Wonder what compels Ted Cruz to lie and lie and lie.
5. Don’t let him fool you, John Kasich is just as nuts as the rest of the GOP field.
We need to put to rest the notion that Ohio governor John Kasich is in any way the "reasonable one.” Not even when graded on a curve. Just because Kasich is happy to point out that Trump is batsh*t, and Carson is unqualified, doesn’t mean Kasich doesn’t have a few winged creatures in his belfry. In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Kasich joined the whole gang in saying that Syrian refugees, who had nothing to do with the attack (save one of them possibly having his passport stolen by ISIS), should nonetheless be banned from our shores.
Then he did them all one better by calling for a federal agency to promote “Judeo-Christian” values.
Say what? After even Lindsey Graham (Lindsey Graham, for Pete’s sake!) mentioned that spreading Christianity also went by another name, that being “the Crusades,” Kasich tried to recast it as a nebulous agency that would promote Western values. "What is the Western ethic?” Kasich asked himself rhetorically. “Equality for women, respecting science and education, the importance of recognizing that every single life matters."
Wait, has anyone told the Republicans about these Western values?
6. Roanoke mayor just does not get why suggesting internment camps is not cool.
Republican politicians did not corner the market in Islamophobic responses to the Paris attacks that conflated Syrian refugees with terrorists. David Bower, the Democratic mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, demonstrated why American history education would be so useful when he said that his decision to cut off aid to Syrian refugees "reminded" him of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, as if that were a good thing.
Maybe he missed the day in class when it was explained that Roosevelt’s treatment of Japanese Americans was one of the more shameful incidents in American history, and that no one really brags about that anymore.
When Japanese American actor George Takei offered to invite the mayor to a musical about internment camps, and everyone in the world condemned his a*rseholish stupidity, Bower apologized. Kind of. He said he hadn’t known his statement would go viral, and that it wasn’t in his heart to be racist or bigoted.
So, yeah. He still doesn’t get it. At all. Maybe if he sees it in musical form he’ll understand.