Saturday, September 19, 2015

Daily Trumpeter: GOP candidates let supporters "spout crazy"

And Trump did exactly that Thursday night. Here's the story from Brian Beutler at the New Republic.

At a big, classy town hall event in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Thursday evening, Donald Trump fielded a question from an unidentified man, who announced, "We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American. … Anyway we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?"

Without specifying which part of the man’s diatribe he meant to address, Trump responded "We're going to be looking at a lot of different things. You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We're going to be looking at that and many other things."

Trump is being rightly pilloried for not dressing down the questioner, including by Republican operatives, who are happily forwarding along the unflattering news clips that followed.

Trump is being rightly pilloried for not dressing down the questioner, including by Republican operatives, who are happily forwarding along the unflattering news clips that followed.

There’s no sense in giving Trump a pass on this, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this isn’t a Trump problem. It’s a politician problem, and in particular it’s a Republican politician problem. The Republican interest in Trump’s dishonorable conduct is deeply selective.

Literally two days ago, Donald Trump played the part of conspiracy-minded provocateur on the CNN debate stage, when Jake Tapper raised the issue of his anti-vaccine activism.

Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time… . Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump—I mean, it looks just like it's meant for a horse, not for a child. And we've had so many instances, people that work for me. Just the other day, two years old, two-and-a-half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.

Among the 10 other candidates on the stage were two doctors—Ben Carson and Rand Paul—both of whom had an opportunity to condemn Trump and call his remarks dangerous. Both declined.

Those two are not the only candidates admitting, and thereby creating the impression, if not the reality, of their agreement with the crazy stuff. Check the video clip linked in the article about Santorum's response to the accusation that Obama, a "communist dictator", tried to nuke Charleston, SC. (Preview: Santorum apparently was OK with that.)

Remember McCain when he got into one of those situations in 2008?

In October 2008, Senator John McCain, who was then the Republican party’s presidential nominee, famously quieted a woman at a rally who had read all about how Obama is "an Arab" (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

"No, ma'am," McCain said after reclaiming the mic. "He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."

The crowd booed and McCain went on to lose the election. The only reason anyone remembers the altercation is because we expect Republican politicians to behave the way Trump did.

Think what you will of McCain, but in my book, he did the last honorable thing done by any GOP presidential candidate since.

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