Dems should squash the ginned-up right-wing panic

Dems should squash the ginned-up right-wing panic

Beyond the appeals to anti-Muslim xenophobia that have defined the Republican Party’s post-Paris consensus, the most recent GOP primary debate was an elaborate group sermon on the importance of being afraid.

As Jeet Heer wrote in his after-analysis of the debate, the candidates “spoke of an America under siege, no longer respected in the world, with a weakened military, threatened by both homegrown terrorists as well as immigrants and refugees who might be terrorists,” and the transcript bears this out.

Before opening statements gave way to the meat of the debate, Chris Christie had cited a bomb hoax in Los Angeles as a symptom of the way President Obama had betrayed the country. Jeb Bush asserted that ISIS had the potential to “destroy us.” Marco Rubio claimed Obama had “destroyed our military,” Ted Cruz claimed the current president doesn’t understand that “the first obligation of the commander-in-chief is to keep America safe,” Ben Carson explained that “our very existence” is at stake in the election, and Donald Trump added “radical Islamic terrorism” to his overriding focus on “building up our military, building up our strength, building up our borders, making sure that China, Japan, Mexico…no longer take advantage of our country.”

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