I watched last night's Republican Presidential Debate from New Hampshire. And then I slept poorly. John Kasich and a subdued Ben Carson excepted, all of the candidates were determined to frighten me and mine. As they shouted and gesticulated, I wrote down some of their words and some of the thoughts and feelings they generated. It went something like this:
We're in danger! Obama's gutting our military! Muslims are shouting "death to America"! China! America is weak! We must build a HUGE WALL to keep out illegals! Abortion is murder! Take their oil! Chopping heads! Dying in the street! Waterboarding isn't torture, which doesn't matter, because we need more torture! Respect the police! People need to fear us again! We don't win -- we need to win again! Iranian and North Korean nukes! America must get back in the game and be strong! Tough! Win!
Well, you get the picture. The prize for most obscene statement of the night (among a wealth of obscene statements) was Ted Cruz's claim that America's possession of overwhelming airpower -- its ability to carpet bomb enemies into oblivion -- is a blessing. A blessing -- I'm assuming he meant from God, not the Dark One, but who knows?
My wife's impression? She said the candidates reminded her of low-blow fighters, or teenage boys in high school.
It's simple, really: If you want more bombing, more killing, more war, more torture, more police, more walls and lower taxes on corporations (yes -- that came up too), vote Republican in November.
My nightmare scenario: this is exactly the vision Marco Rubio had in mind when he repeatedly called America "the single greatest nation in the history of the world."
William Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, blogs at Bracing Views.