If you can cast your mind back a whole week, you may recall that I wrote here about how Republican candidates for president were treading on the road to self-destruction that week, from Mike Huckabee (R-AR), to Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY), over such deep topics as Beyonce and vaccinations.
(Actually it turns out, I screwed up a bit, accidentally leaving out Louisian's Republican governor Bobby Jindal, who, on his own Presidential-Hopeful Trip to England, had foolishly contended there was a non-existent "no-go" zone in Birmingham England, where Muslim supposedly never visit, a statement he was widely and deeply ridiculed, most especially in England. In fairness, I think my omission was understandable since it didn't happen the same week as the three others, but had been a whole three weeks earlier, so it didn't exactly fit in that same tiny time-frame. But still, I should have mentioned it, too...)
It's not just that Republicans are so good at self-inflicted wounds, but these trips to England -- intended to build their non-existent foreign affairs credentials -- always seem to be sinkholes for GOP candidates. Let us not forget how Mitt Romney had a string of disastrous meltdowns on his trip to London during the presidential campaign.
We can now add Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) to the list. Stumbling his way through England.
At a Q&A session with Justin Webb, a presenter for BBC Radio 4, Mr. Walker sat before the surprised audience and refused to answer several basic questions, explaining that he was going to "punt" instead. (Never mind that "punt" is an American term for our football, to kick the ball away. In England, it's a form of traveling by boat... Hint: it's always good to know where you are, especially if you want to be President of the United States.)
But things reached the ludicrous when Mr. Webb what asked he appears to have thought was a pretty easy question. “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution, do you believe in it, do you accept it?”
That's all. Do you believe in evolution?
And how did the Scott Walker handle it?
"For me, I'm gong to punt on that one, as well," the actual presidential hopeful replied.
Y'know, that's not even "punting" in England. That's jumping overboard.
Immediately upon hearing his refusal to answer such a basic question, the most surprising thing was hearing the break out in ridiculing laughter. Even the interviewer Justin Webb had difficulty containing his shock. Finally, with a look of almost disbelief, he replied to Gov. Walker that the question was one that wouldn't trouble "any British politician, right or left wing.”
That's, of course, because the answer for anyone, most especially someone who wants to be President of the United States, Commander in Chief of all American armed forces, leader of the free world, head of the most powerful nation on earth is not troubling at all. The answer is -- "Yes. I believe in evolution."
I am sure that there are some, perhaps many in today's Republican Party on the far religious right who are glad he didn't answer. Though there are likely many more who likely are rational and are bothered. But -- worse for him, should he somehow magically get the nomination, even as the vice-presidential candidate, you can rest assured that the DNC already has the clip saved and logged, under "Repeat showing as often as possible."
At some point, one would think that Republicans who want to be president would realize that England is not a great place to go. They probably choose the United Kingdom because of the similarity in culture and common language. I think at this point, though, it would be more wise to pick a country where they don't speak English. Then, you could just smile your way through. (Alas, what with English being the International language, finding one of those countries might be a challenge.)
While staying at home, out of harm's way, would be the wisest thing to do, unfortunately it's probably not an option for GOP presidential candidates. The problem for Republicans, I think, is that core to their party's belief, dating back 75 years at least, is a distrust of "others," things and people who are different, most notably foreign nations and high on the list ast well, our own State Department. The State Department, of course, was the central focus for Sen. Joe McCarthy's (R-WI) investigations in the 1950s. So, Republicans have largely prefer to stay within these borders, wearing their patriotic plastic American flag pins and railing against foreign aide. Alas, when presidential elections roll around, those interested in running suddenly discover that since they've never shown any interest in the rest of the world, they have no foreign policy experience. (It of course reached the pinnacle, when their Vice Presidential nominee claimed her foreign expertise was being able to see Russia from her front porch.) And so, they are forced to take a weekend trip overseas and pat themselves on the back as now qualified.
So, that's five Republican candidates who have now already pounded themselves in the face, all within the past three weeks!. Actually, it's now six, since yesterday was a doubly-bad day for them.
You see, a couple days ago Jeb Bush announced himself as the "e-Candidate," hip with the Internets, and made his website public. Unfortunately, there was a problem -- actually a bunch of problems. First, his Chief Technical Officer, Ethan Czahor -- the good fellow in charge of the e-Candidate's website -- was found to have a history of posting sexist and racist comments online. And then, even worse, after the e-Candidate attempted to show how e-savvy he had been as governor and posted all his emails with constituents on his website, it turned out that many of those very emails included personal, private information, including the senders' full names and medical histories and Social Security numbers! And for everyone, it of course included their email addresses. Thousands and thousand of emails. And culminating all this, yesterday that Chief Technical Officer of the supposedly tech savvy e-candidate, had to quit. Mere days after the first Jeb Bush website went live. (Jeb Bush being the e-president is turning out to be somewhat akin to his older brother being the "education president."
So, that's six Republican candidates in just a matter of three weeks who have publicly humiliated themselves. And we're only into the second week of February.
I have the perfect name for the series of candidate debates that the Republican Party will hold. It's "The Last Man Standing Tour."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor