Republicans long ago in this presidential election cycle uprooted the so-called 11th commandment that their beloved Ronald Reagan is credited with bestowing upon the party and tossed it in the political compost pile with other dead ideals.
“Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican” seems so laughable now. Former House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday in a talk to students at Stanford University had to have delivered the most crushing lines in his assessment of GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz.
Boehner called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” That is jaw-dropping, considering that Cruz, a self-avowed Christian conservative, is trying desperately to appeal to evangelicals.
Boehner went on to say: “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
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That can’t be good for Cruz’s bid to win the White House. But this campaign season has been filled with Republican candidates verbally brutalizing each other in debates, in front of audiences and TV cameras. Meaningful discussions about the issues and concerns of voters have gotten lost in the negative noise.
Consider Sen. Marco Rubio’s crass comments when he was a White House contender about Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s “small hands” and “spray on tan.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie when he was in the GOP presidential race verbally took Rubio down in the New Hampshire debate for Rubio’s robotic, “memorized 25-second speech.” Of course, Christie, who’s moved into Trump’s camp, was right.
Trump’s attacks on fellow Republicans have been legendary. He has made negative sound bites part of his campaign to undo opponents, and that seems to be working with crowds eating it up and roaring with laughter.
Trump slammed Rubio of Florida, who couldn’t even win his own state in the primaries, as “little Rubio.”
Trump wasn’t kind to former GOP presidential contender Jeb Bush, calling him “low energy.” Bush shot back at Trump correctly labeling him a “chaotic candidate.” That chaos has grown in the protests and arrests that have followed Trump’s appearances.
Trump also insulted Carly Fiorina last year before she dropped out of the presidential race. Trump said: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
Cruz this week picked Fiorina as his running mate in his long-shot hopes to bump Trump as the GOP presidential nominee during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. That selection, no doubt, will draw more verbal flames from Trump, who has made a habit of referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”
Trump also has belittled Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s eating habits, saying: “Seriously, did you ever see a guy eat like this? Every time you see him, he's eating. He's stuffing his face. I've never seen. The pizza. He ate a piece of pizza — I'm telling you, it was 4 or 5 inches long by 4 or 5 inches — and he couldn't get it in his mouth. And he's pushing it in with the fork and he's got 20 cameras around. This guy takes a pancake, and he's shoving it in his mouth. It's disgusting. Do you want this guy for your president?”
Trump in a tweet has attacked Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, saying: “Crooked Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most dishonest person to have ever run for the presidency, is also one of the all time great enablers!”
Voters can only expect the nastiness to get worse until the Nov. 8 election puts an end to it — unless Trump becomes president. Then the verbal smears will continue for four more years and become part of domestic commentary and U.S. diplomacy overseas.
Heaven help us all.