Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Party of Punishers

The Republicans talked a lot tonight about penalizing people--illegal immigrants, women and doctors who abort babies, gays in the military, Islamic extremists--anybody who makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable or challenges their vision of a homogenous, God-fearing, heavily armed America.

Mitt Romney wouldn't say no to waterboarding but said yes to Guantanamo. Only John McCain and Mike Huckabee on the death penalty made passing references to human decency in any form, although Huckabee was ready to put Hillary Clinton on the first rocket to Mars.

There was no discussion of health insurance, education, the environment or any other issues that involve American society caring for the young, the weak and the helpless. The main Republican concern for members of future generations was about preserving them in utero and avoiding government spending that would create debt for them as taxpayers.

The '08 battle lines between the parties have been drawn. Republicans will play on voters' fears as opposed to their hopes, on shutting out Others rather than caring for them. Judging from tonight's performance, they have the right candidates to push their agenda.

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