From the first minute of last night’s truly intolerable Democratic debate, a candidate for the world’s most powerful office started things rolling downhill with a startling assertion about last month’s horrific shootings in El Paso:
“Twenty-two people were killed, dozens more grievously injured by a man … inspired to kill by our president.” (Emphasis added)
Later in the same debate, a sitting U.S. senator from the nation’s largest state added the following over-the-top observation about these vile murders:
“People asked me … ‘do you think Trump is responsible for what happened?’ And I said, ‘Well, look, I mean, obviously, he didn’t pull the trigger. But he’s certainly been tweeting out the ammunition.’”
Let that sink in for a moment. On a debate stage on a major broadcast network, the sitting president of the United States was point-blank accused of responsibility for the vicious slaughter of 22 innocents.
Yet that wasn’t even the most slanderous charge leveled against the chief executive, not by a long shot. The “winner” in that category also emanated from the addled brain of the White House wannabe initially referenced above:
“But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House, and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country.”
In other words, our president, per Robert Francis O’Rourke and Webster’s dictionary, is “a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.” And endangers their existence.
Now, debates over the last two cycles have occasioned some fairly gnarly incidents — including a previous all-time low when candidate Donald Trump himself assured America of the ampleness of his manhood.
But these latest calumnies are so far out of the realm of acceptable political discourse that they represent a new level of debasement of the electoral process.
There was a time when some adult on the stage would have protested — in the manner of the time-outs called last night when internecine attacks got a little too heated — that these animadversions had crossed a line. Instead, the progenitor of those defamations earned shout-outs by no fewer than five of his fellows for his shameless politicization of the unthinkable tragedy in El Paso, on top of similar blood libels of the president.
Yet as shameless as the candidates’ collective deportment, the real blame must be laid at the feet of the completely immoderate moderators at the half-cattle calls, half oratorical free-for-alls now passing for debates.
Speaking of harking back to an earlier era: Can one imagine such men as Cronkite, Huntley, Brinkley, Reynolds or Reasoner — for all their liberal leanings — simply moving on to the next contrived question following an assertion that the head of the state of the Land of the Free was a racist?
Certainly, a real journalist would have stopped the proceedings and said, “Mr. O’Rourke, did I hear you correctly? Did you just suggest that the president believes that whites are superior to nonwhites and that nonwhites should be under subjugation?” Just as a disbelieving Max Frankel called time and doubled back on President Gerald Ford’s far less offensive brain fart in a 1976 debate that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”
Today, that role has been abandoned in favor of panelists’ serving as activists spurring candidates to new heights of “can-you-top-this” excess.
The premier examples at last night’s affair were Linsey Davis and Jorge Ramos, who neatly fulfilled the stereotypic functions assigned them as moderators of color: to stir up further controversy and racial division.
Every single Davis question went to questions of race, including suggestions that Trump has worsened the racial divide, that the justice system is inherently racist, and that nonwhite schools remain deliberately segregated and therefore underfunded. Each Ramos query related to the inherent racism in the president’s immigration policies.
Their questions evoked the intended rhetorical pyrotechnics, which went beyond the indictments of the commander in chief to up the ante on the Democrats’ damnation of the entire country as thinly veiled Simon Legrees.
O’Rourke again: “Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational.”
Corey Booker: “Systemic racism … is eroding our nation from health care to the criminal justice system,” not to mention “environmental injustice in communities of color.”
Pastor Pete Buttigieg one-upped the “systemic racism” charge in referring to “the generational theft of the descendants of slaves” that “puts us in two countries.”
In fact, it’s arguable that Buttigieg boasted the second-lowest moment of the night with his own “deplorables” misstep by jumping feet-first into Ramos’ leading interrogative:
Ramos: “Do you think that people who support President Trump and his immigration policies are racist?”
Buttigieg: “Anyone who supports this is supporting racism.”
Hillary Clinton — call your office.
Better yet: Where is Joseph Nye Welch when we need him? Have these Democrats, at long last, have left no sense of decorum? And is there no moderator left who truly believes in moderating to call them to account?
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