In my previous post, I quoted MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd speculating that the period before the South Carolina primary—now a mere memory—would be like a Quentin Tarantino movie, with the main players pointing guns in each other’s faces. And firing.

He wasn’t wrong, and that week was fun to watch. But it was just the beginning. We’ve entered instant sequel territory now. And I’m comparing it to Tarantino’s vampire bloodfest From Dusk ‘Till Dawn. In last Saturday’s debate, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all rose from their bloody graves to begin shooting again.

And shoot they did, with more and bigger guns. The NRA should be proud. That debate bloodbath has overshadowed a few interesting things that happened the night of that South Carolina primary, which I will cover first.

Rubio delivered another “I won!” speech after not winning. But his claim was somewhat plausible, because he came in second this time. Not to be outdone, Cruz simply ignored his unexpected third-place finish and delivered something close to his standard stump speech:

“If you want a president who will repeal Obamacare (defund Planned Parenthood, defend your religious right to discriminate, and so on), choose someone who’s been fighting for that from the beginning—me.” I paraphrase of course, but I’ve stated the essence; and it was something halfway between a battle cry and a desperate plea for more troops.

Cruz’s troops really are deserting him. He lost to Trump in his base target category: evangelicals. To quote Trump, “It’s true!” That’s because Cruz’s campaign keeps getting caught playing dirty tricks on his opponents, an attitude described by many as “coming from the top down.”

Tweeting that Ben Carson’s supporters should vote for Cruz in the Iowa caucuses because Carson had dropped out (when he hadn’t) was just the beginning. Cruz’s campaign doctored a still photo of Rubio and a video of him. And got caught. The dirty tricks aren’t unexpected or even original, but the clumsiness of continually getting caught at it hints that Cruz isn’t even good at cheating.

Meanwhile, Cruz claims to be pure of heart and Christian in attitude. He is—if you consider exclusion and discrimmination to be religious rights. I do not, but sadly, a number of people in this country do. I pray that they are not in the majority.

If “the long knives” came out preceding the South Carolina primary, then “the sawed-off shotguns” have been blazing away since then. Especially at the final Republican debate before Super Tuesday.

There was plenty of screaming at that event, most from the audience. I don’t mean the occasional whoop! from a supporter, I mean the screeching that came after every Rubio or Cruz or Trump zinger had me, and many others, thinking that the screamers in the audience were paid.

There’s a good chance you’ll be reading this after Super Tuesday, which I once considered calling Ted Cruz’s alamo. (The New York Times beat me to it.) That still may be true, although as of this writing he appears to be still holding the life preserver that a win in his home state of Texas would provide. That’s a pity from the Republican standpoint, because the anti-Trump forces need fewer candidates opposing The Donald to have any chance of beating him.

Trump winning a majority of the Super Tuesday contests still won’t be the true end game anyway, but it would create a delegate count advantage nearly impossible to overcome.

Rubio was the most daring attacker gunning for Trump. By now you’ve probably seen a few clips of Trump taking repeated punches to his so-called reputation.

Rubio dredged up new criticism, such as the lawsuits pending against the bogus and now defunct “Trump University” of several years ago. Glen Beck had one of those too—nothing more than a way for fans to pay thousand$ to watch videos and maybe shake someone’s hand at some point.

A lot of former “students” feel screwed and are taking legal action to recover their “tuition.”

Rubio also reminded the audience of Trump’s four corporate bankruptcies, and his hefty fines for hiring illegal immigrant workers. If the debate had been a boxing match, you’d have watched Trump stagger around the ring after numerous solid punches to his chin.

Rubio was even able to point out that Trump repeated himself a lot. I loved it but what a non-issue! All candidates repeat themselves. Having watched as much as I do—a masochist, that’s me—I feel as if I could deliver the correct stump speeches for most of these jerks.

That Rubio repeats himself doesn’t bother me so much as the concept that he keeps repeating: Obama is not a bumbling fool, he is deliberately driving the USA down the tubes. He knows full well that he is doing this, and ruining the USA has been his plan all along. This implies that a majority of the electorate in the last two presidential elections also hate their own country and want to see it die an ugly death. Jeez.

Rubio isn’t alone in believing that bullshit. The Republican stance that the country will go to hell just a few minutes after Hillary Clinton takes the oath of office has begun to sound like the plot of every Sci-Fi movie movie in recent years. Civilization, the planet—hell, maybe even the entire universe—is at risk! Unless our team of lead actors can defeat the ultimate evil facing us all, it’s over!

Even Warren Buffet rejects these GOP predictions of doom.

This kind of fare will eventually turn you away from politics because you know it can’t be true every damn time someone screams it out. Then you realize that it was never true, even during the darkest days of the W. Administration. It’s just that dark matter that I described a few posts ago. The USA has gone through tough times and will go through plenty more, but we are survivors.

I recall Glen Beck telling people in 2009 that “next year they won’t even recognize this country!” It’s six years since that tin hat deadline and I still have the same job, the same house, and drive to work on the same roads. The more times I hear this crap, the less I listen. I can only hope that others are doing the same.

Following the debate, Trump and Rubio traded insults in their stump speeches. Rubio had The Donald dabbing his sweat mustache in the green room during breaks, and Trump had Rubio nervously guzzling water. And of course they’re all still screaming liar! liar! liar! at each other.

But that blather is just on the surface. Hillary Clinton was right when she claimed there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” At this moment there is indeed a conspiracy, and it is desperately trying to figure out how to prevent Trump from capturing the Republican nomination.

The so-called Republican Establishment is convinced that a Trump candidacy would be disasterous for the party because not only would he lose the presidential election, but the Republicans would be devastated down-ticket as well. One can hope.

We’ll have a much better grip regarding that possibility following Super Tuesday. And the conspirators even have a plan if they can’t stop him there.

Mitch McConnell has suggested that if Trump is their nominee, then the Senate races deliberately ignore him; I think “drop him like a hot rock” was the exact phrase. Its essence: grant Hillary the presidency by default and run Senate campaigns as far away from Trump’s campaign as possible. This New York Times article offers an in-depth account of that and other desperate efforts to deny Trump the Republican nomination.

So if you thought there was a war between Republicans and Obama—and you’re right, there is—that will fall away to a bloody Republican civil war. In the middle of an election. I see the result as serious losses either way. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of people.

You already know what kind of war a Republican Congress will wage against any Democratic president. We’ve been watching it for the past seven years. I say that the Democrats’ job is to make sure that the army opposing them is as small as possible, i.e., win back the Senate. You can bet they are saving film of every skirmish that goes on in the debates and in the individual campaigns.

Perhaps their best tool is McConnell & company’s refusal to even interview an Obama Supreme Court nominee to replace Scalia. They aren’t obligated to approve the nominee, but the flat “No” no-matter-who refusal is a rejection of the Senate’s constitutional duty.

The day that Chris Christie endorsed Trump, MSNBC played what seemed like five solid minutes of Christie pronouncing Trump unqualified for the office. Maine governor/horror story Paul LePage sent out a letter urging the party to disavow Trump and oppose him in every way possible.

Scarcely a day after Christie backed Trump, LePage joined right in with his own endorsement. You have to wonder how they easily could forget that they’ve been filmed talking out of the other side of their mouths.

Wow, did I ever go off the deep end in my passion. Let’s end with a laugh. The makers of The Simpsons put together a brilliant debate parody, The Debateful Eight, with no apology whatsoever to Quentin Tarantino.

Political Survivor #34

Written by

Steve Schlich is retired after 35 years of writing fiction about software: “easy to use,” “does what you want,” and the like. Hobbies include webmaster for, writing songs and short stories. In 2004, he created, a website chronicling the naughty public art in Washington, D.C. He lives happily with his wife and cats, north of San Francisco.

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