You're probably going to hear quite a few iterations of the word "ghoulish" tossed around today. That's pretty much the best way to describe the response by Tea Party sociopaths in Tampa last night to the idea of letting someone die if he or she doesn't have insurance and can't afford to pay medical bills.
Chances are by now you've seen what I'm talking about, but in case you haven't yet, here it is: a hypothetical question posed by Wolf Blitzer, moderator of CNN's Tea Party debate among the GOP candidates for president, to crazy old man Ron Paul. Listen for the audience reaction; that's the gold.
Now it's worth pointing out that Blitzer -- who proved throughout the debate why you shouldn't listen to him while driving or operating heavy machinery -- predictably telegraphed his punch by making the hypothetical patient in question a guy who chose not to pay for health insurance rather than, you know, one of the millions across the country who can't afford insurance. Regardless, this is the second time in as many weeks that we've seen a crowd full of presumably fiercely pro-life Republicans unable to contain their orgiastic bloodlust at the idea of killing somebody. You'll remember that the audience at the Reagan library last week -- Simi Valley suburbanites, all of them -- just about had the largest non-gangbang porn-related mass climax in history when Texas shit-kicker action figure Rick Perry bragged about executing 234 people, at least one of whom was very likely innocent.
Here's the important thing to keep in mind, though -- the basic message of the Tea Party jackasses like the ones that grow up out of the ground in a place like Tampa: They get to decide who lives and who dies. Who's worthy to live or die.
Are you a fetus, even one that's the product of rape or incest, or who's almost doomed from the start to be unloved and to eventually choke the state system -- child protection or penal -- that many on the right believes is the only legitimate recourse? Congratulations, you live -- no matter what. Are you somebody who, ironically, committed a vicious crime as an adult or who was at least convicted of doing so, or maybe even just some poor idiot who made a really bad decision about his or her life and who now stands to pay for that mistake with that very life? Sorry, fuck you, parasite -- you die.
That's really what it comes down to: The sickening Randian "producers vs. parasites" horseshit ethos that can be distilled down to a battle-cry-ready slogan with almost no effort, one that fits really nicely on a bumper-sticker. The problem, of course, is -- who decides who's a producer and who's a parasite? I'm terrified of leaving a decision like that to people who diabolically cheer death like Romans at the Coliseum.
My favorite part of last night's monster truck rally in Tampa, though? That Wolf Blitzer actually lauded the whole thing as evidence of a substantive debate on the issues. Unless CNN actually set out to give the Tea Party and its vile philosophy enough rope to hang themselves on national television, what we witnessed was nothing more than the continued elevation of a relatively small, shockingly ignorant group of pretend freedom fighters simply because they make for good TV. They're splashed across your screen, over and over again, precisely because they're guaranteed to do ridiculous shit like shout for the deaths of those who disagree with their view of the world.
In the end, the Tea Party and its ilk amount to nothing more than the ultimate reality TV show.