When Donald Trump first watched his new TV ad that began airing this week, he said, "Play it again. I love the feel of it." I, too, had to play it again, not because I too loved the feel, but out of amazement that this is what the front runner for the Republican nomination had chosen to put in his first TV ad of the campaign.
Forget the usual introductory bio or soaring vision for America. The ad itself pieces together the most extreme, bigoted pieces of Donald Trump's platform including banning all Muslims from entering the country and building a wall to keep out immigrants. Perhaps worse than the ad itself was the lack of any kind of reaction from the other GOP contenders for the nomination, their deafening silence speaking even louder than the ad.
The ad proclaims that banning Muslims from entering our country is the right way to keep Americans safe, and in video that turns out to be footage from Morocco, not Mexico, we're warned that closing off the border with a wall is the only immigration reform we need.
This should be a "have you no decency?" moment, but sadly, we shouldn't be surprised that no candidate has stood up to Trump's ad in any meaningful way. They're not speaking out because they are in lock step, following Trump's lead.
Marco Rubio has proposed shutting down mosques in the United States. Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz believe we should only allow Christian -- not Muslim -- refugees from Syria. Ben Carson likened refugees to "rabid dogs."
Of course, demeaning rhetoric and policies aren't just limited to the anti-Muslim comments we're hearing from the Republican candidates. Discussing immigration policy, Chris Christie compared immigrants to trackable FedEx packages. Jeb Bush compared President Obama's executive actions that protect DREAMers from deportation to those of a "Latin American dictator." Marco Rubio stated that we should "absolutely" have a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border; and he's jumped on the Trump bandwagon of over-the-top rhetoric, insisting that President Obama has "deliberately weakened America."
Silly us to expect that any candidate will call anything that Trump says or does "a bridge too far," when it is a bridge they have already crossed themselves.