I didn’t watch the debate last night, only managed to follow a bit on Twitter during breaks and lunch at the Big Box.
I understand that at one point Texas Sen. Ted Cruz lamented that “ISIS is winning the propaganda war.” And if they weren’t before this debate, they probably are now — given that this was apparently a prime time special devoted to telling the American people to be terrified of a group that has so far killed fewer Americans than George Hennard.
I’ll read the full transcript in the morning (i.e., the afternoon, for people with a normal schedule), but I’m not sure it tells us much that we didn’t already know about these candidates before last night. Their nominal focus has shifted (again) to ZOMG !1! ISIS aiieeee!, but we’ve been listening to these folks on the campaign trail for many months now and last night didn’t change the pattern.
These are people who desperately want us to fear the people they hate and to hate the people they fear. Beyond that, they don’t seem to have much to say or to offer.
Perhaps the strangest report I’ve read involves this quote about America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is not something I expected to hear from the stage during a Republican debate in 2015:
What do we have now? We have nothing. We’ve spent $3 trillion and probably much more – I have no idea what we’ve spent. Thousands and thousands of lives, we have nothing. Wounded warriors all over the place who I love, we have nothing for it.
… In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.
We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.
It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.
I would applaud that rare outburst of sanity, too, if only it hadn’t come from a thuggish, bigoted demoagogue whose main influence on public life so far has been inspiring his followers to act hatefully, and violently, toward anyone with darker skin.
Here’s the transcript, via CNN and Time. Have at it.