Just when I thought the Republican Party couldn’t lower its standards any further, we’re treated to the spectacle of audience members cheering — cheering — at a recent Republican presidential candidate debate where Gov. Rick Perry mentioned the high number of executions in Texas.
Whatever one thinks about capital punishment, to enthusiastically applaud another’s death is nasty, callous and frightening. Sadly, those three words seem to sum up the direction that the Republican Party has been heading for 30 years. It started with the self-righteous and hypocritical “family values” campaign of the 1980s, led by philandering “do as I say, not as I do” Newt Gingrich. The process has accelerated since 9/11, when the Bush-Cheney administration’s brand of paranoia gave rise to a sprawling, secret security state that should scare the average American.