I tuned into the sixth Republican debate hoping to watch a spider fight a banana slug, and I was not disappointed. But I was also scared. Back in June, when Trump had yet to enter the race and governors dominated our nominating predictions, Jeb! Bush seemed like the saddest thing that could happen to the GOP. Now his warlike nepotism looks quaint. Ben Carson ventured into the realm of speculative fiction last night with his vision of a simultaneous cyberattack and electromagnetic pulse, but Trump and Cruz articulated the real doomsday scenario. Today is Friday, and the Republican nomination has become a contest between a billionaire too dumb to see the truth and a sociopath too smart to speak it. Won’t you choose the lesser evil with me?
One of the most disappointing aspects of adulthood is the shortage of real villains. As a child conditioned by Thundercats and Bubble Tape commercials, I believed that adulthood would be cleanly divided into kind, decent people and cackling devils. Imagine my disappointment. For the most part, maniacal and cruel are in short supply in the actual world, vastly outnumbered by such boring traits as inconsiderate and selfish. Genuine evil is hard to come by. That said, ordinary humans can still reach cartoonish heights of dicketry if they really put their minds to it. Today is Friday, and our link roundup is chockablock with schmucks who suck, along with a brief burst of late-stage heroism. Won’t you stroke a white cat with me?
Because I need to be able to go to sleep, I watch MSNBC as little as possible. My facade of openminded centrism is flimsy enough without the voice of Keith Olbermann in my head, analyzing politics in the exact same way he analyzed sports. I therefore barely understand who Ed Schultz is. He appears to be a liberal—sorry, “progressive”—iteration of Rush Limbaugh: a jolly but vaguely menacing fat man who yells the truth at you, assuming you already know everything that’s true. He is also the man who, on his Tuesday show, referred to conservative commentator Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut.” For the purposes of the discussion to follow, I ask you to accept two premises:
1) She is pretty tasty.
2) This is worse for Ed Schultz than it would have been for Rush Limbaugh.