Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Republicans Really Do Like to Kill Stuff

GOP frontrunners (and guys with funny first names).
After writing this headline, I wondered if it was too inflammatory or exaggerated, so I asked Paul, who sat across the breakfast table from me, if I should use the line as written. "Why not," he said, "they do like to kill stuff."

Last night's Republican debate spawned this line of thinking.
  • When Mitt Romney was asked about the legitimacy of launching a military attack inside another sovereign nation to pursue a terrorist, his kill-them-anytime-any place answer drew enthusiastic applause from the right-wing crowd. 
  • Not to be outdone, when asked how he would handle intelligence related to the secret location of Osama Bin Laden, Newt Gingrich managed an even more red-meat reply, tossing in a historical reference to a famous South Carolinian - "Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America's enemies - kill them."
Similar examples of primitive Republican bravado and bloodlust can be cited from almost any of the countless presidential debates we have endured. And it's not just terrorists who must be killed, according to the GOP. Remember the loud cheer Governor Rick Perry received upon referencing the "ultimate justice" his state administered to 234 death row inmates? (Incidentally, Republicans love killing animals too - don't forget Sarah Palin's support for helicopter hunting in Alaska, Rick Perry's infamous association with a hunting camp [name withheld - but it rhymes with "bigger head"], and Dick Cheney's penchant for quail hunting and shooting his friends...in the face.)

I'm certainly not arguing against the capture and, if necessary, killing of terrorists, nor am I opposing the implementation of the death penalty, which I reluctantly support. I'm simply confused by those who see the sometimes necessary killing of others as causes for celebration. Republicans garner their biggest applause lines at debates when they act like big-dick shoot-em-up cowboys, and I honestly find it deplorable. 

The Republican with the most useful and legitimate foreign policy experience in the presidential race, whose name ironically is Huntsman, has dropped out of the running, but that's understandable. As our ambassador to China, Huntsman possesses first-hand knowledge of the realistic and viable options we have for interacting with our enemies, and he is is too intelligent and too serious a statesman to make the kind of unrealistic blanket statements about killing people that play well with the GOP debate crowd. 

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