The Week All Of The 2016 Presidential Candidates Lost Their Minds

Except for Martin O'Malley.

So, this week on the campaign trail is going to go down in history -- hopefully! -- as one of those long, regrettable nights after which you wake up lamenting the things you said and did, knowing you could have done better, and now it’s time for you to pick through the wreckage and salvage what you can of your dignity.

You know, let’s have a little forbearance. It was a difficult period for all of us. We’re all so sad at what we saw happen to our friends in Paris, so angry at the sadistic death-cultists who perpetrated the deeds and so frustrated that there’s nothing to which we can lay our hands to put things right in this instant. The presidential candidates, no matter what you think of them, are human like the rest of us. And now we’ve loaded them up with some heavy psychological demands.

So, we’re hoping that some of the loopy debate answers, the hair-raising talk of interning or monitoring American citizens, and the weird you-can’t-really-mean-that lack of compassion for some of the planet’s most desperate and victimized people were all just a passing moment during which everyone’s “ever-loosening grip on the commonest courtesies slipped.”  



Because it has to be that ... right? Otherwise everyone’s gone nuts! On this week’s First To Last, we remember a week when the pure products of America went crazy.

Donald Trump
A week after drawing comparisons to monologuing dictators of yore, Trump went out and broke Godwin's Law for everyone, suggesting that he would "certainly implement" a database to track American Muslims. He's since dodged around the edges of a walkback, but continues to not rule it out unequivocally when asked to do so. He also approved of a Black Lives Matter protester getting roughed up at one of his rallies, and tweeted this wildly inaccurate graphic on racial violence. All in all, quite the week.
What a week. First, the Carson campaign dishes to The New York Times about their candidate's foreign policy deficiencies. Then, they walk it back by accusing the reporter of taking advantage of their adviser's senility. Still holding strong in second, though! Maybe we’re the crazy ones?
Clinton was always going to get questions about her cozy ties to Wall Street. So how did she prep for the question on debate night? By suggesting that Wall Street’s ducats were a rebuke to the 9/11 terrorists. (Not to worry, John Podesta did damage control while wearing his Equilibrium Capital fleece.)
We all know that Christie has no pity for the despairing cries of little Oliver Twist-like orphans, but this was the week he confessed to being afraid of them, too. How will he confront real evildoers if the world’s most defenseless children give him the vapors?
Seems to want to fight Obama outside the Capitol Hill Club? (Hey, it still keeps him in position for Trump/Carson voters to find refuge.)
Sanders and his camp didn’t say anything irresponsible or demented this week, but why did they lose their minds after CBS very understandably announced that the moderators would be asking questions pertaining to the Paris attacks? It made Sanders look not ready. Was he not ready? Kind of an important quality for the Oval’s occupant to have.
The Ohio governor usually finds a smart blend of secular wonkishness and faith-guided values. This week, he drove a little too far over into the latter lane when he suggested that the government needed to set up an agency to “beam” Judeo-Christian values around the world. After a little while, he walked it back.
As The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent pointed out, Rubio worked hard at tiptoeing around all the cray-cray this week, but he may have done the rhetorical equivalent of stepping on a Lego when, in an effort to take the heat off of mosques, he suggested that we “[close] down anyplace -- whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an Internet site -- any place where radicals are being inspired.” That’s not how presidential powers work, my man. Also, he needs to make sure his sentiments are going to come across correctly before he says anything is a "positive development."
Wrong-footed it for a hot second when he suggested that only Christians need apply for refugee status, but spent enough time afterwards pushing back on this week's Trumpsanity that we’re willing to let it slide.
Honest to God, Martin, you did good this week. We didn't want this moment to pass without pointing out that you deserve credit for making it through a very tough week without losing your head. Really. Nice work. Thank you.
Photos: Getty, Associated Press