Our political discussions - everywhere - have become so polarized that courtesy and respect have disappeared from the national conversation.
It's coming down to this: this year's Republican clown car is going to be a textbook case of what not to do in front of a microphone. The candidates are retreating to a very small realm of self-righteousness, and from that position, everyone different is automatically the enemy. It's kind of like train-wreck central, a montage of dreadful accidents.
Here's how you win elections:
1) Present a vision that speaks to the majority of voters. It can be something as simple as "two chickens in every pot". But it has to be something that the working class voter can understand - that his life will get better if he votes for you.
2) Behave with integrity. Create credibility. Part of that is your track record before you declared your candidacy. What experience do you bring to the office? Part of it is how you behave in the spotlight and out of it? Don't cheat on your wife, don't be rude to the waitress. Avoid going negative. When you start flinging mud, you get even more on yourself. (There is a way to respond to attacks, but that's a different discussion.)
3) Be the kind of person that others will want to trust. That goes back to what experience you've brought with you. Have you been a charity organizer? Have you served as an executive somewhere? Did you succeed?
4) Show that you care about people. (If I have to explain this one, you've spent too much time listening to Fox Noise.)
Now, when we look at the Republican candidates, we see that they are failing on all four counts. Are they presenting a vision of a world that works for the rest of us? Hell, no. It's all about rolling back the right to marry, rolling back access to health care, rolling back women's access to family planning, rolling back the rights of minorities, rolling back the rights of workers to unionize, and rolling the nation right into the next war. Instead of pointing us toward a better future, they are talking about who they want to hate next.
When we look at if they are behaving with integrity - we see that they have put forth a slate of nincompoops and liars. The Peter Principle on steroids. They have all failed upward so far beyond their levels of incompetency that they are like the coyote who has run out past the edge of the cliff and still hasn't looked down. When we look at their trustworthiness ... let's just boil it down to one question. Would you buy a used car from any of these people?
And lastly, have any of these individuals truly demonstrated an ability to care about people? "Stuff happens." Need I say more? Their responses to the Oregon shootings isn't just embarrassing, it's shameful.
Joe McCarthy was brought down when Joseph Welch asked him, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
It is time for the American people to ask that question of Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and every other pretender to respectability campaigning for the highest office in the land. And it is time for the Republican party to shut down this clown car and find a real candidate - someone fit to honor the legacies of Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.