Republicans, They Thirst For Death?

This banner is shamelessly pinched from American Digest, where it is meant to refer the the GOP's uncanny ability to snatch defeat from victory.

Since the last two GOP debates, however, cheers from the crowd at inopportune moments have unleashed the internet meme that Republicans applauded the executions of more than 200 men in Texas and want people without insurance to die.  

Cheering executions in Texas. I was troubled when that happened, although watching the video again, it's a minority of the crowd that applauds the executions --the clapping is muted and dies quickly; the loud applause comes at the end of Perry's remarks, where he states very solemnly that in Texas, if you take a life of one of it citizens, you're going to pay the ultimate price. That seems to be applause not for the deaths per se, but for "law and order."

Maybe you don't see a difference, but I do, even as a death penalty opponent, between "Yay, the bastard fried!" and "If you take a life, you will incur the same penalty on yourself." On second watching, I don't think the crowd was guilty of "Fry 'em!"

What surprises me is that no one has pointed out that Brian Williams' question --how do you sleep at night?-- was absurd, because Texas has an extremely weak Executive, and under the Texas Constitution, the Governor has no power to stay an execution. The most he can do is delay it for 30 days. Do we not remember this same question came up when Bush was Texas Governor?

OK, it doesn't actually surprise me that no one in media wants to point out Brian Williams was asking in utter ignorance (and the commentary at the close of the clip above is self-righteous emotionalism and dead wrong for the same reason), but doesn't the fact that Perry has zero to do with the execution rate in Texas make his answer --sort of taking credit for it-- kind of odd? I gather he supports the death penalty and didn't want to distance himself from the policy, but he should have at least pointed out the law, seems to me.

Letting people without insurance die. A WaPo blogger makes the case that the Ron Paul "death" moment didn't happen -- or at least not as it appears in meme.
The voices that can be heard in the video — perhaps two or three of them — don’t constitute an “audience” reaction. There were 1,100 people in the crowd. The episode is the clumsy work of a few loons or meatheads in the audience.
Those would be the diehard RonPaulians, whom even he finds weird. Let's just say they don't stand for the whole party.

The blogger points out that Paul didn't remotely suggest the hypothetical person should die. While technically true, and I think Ron Paul is innocent of any personal cold-heartedness, the nature of his answer to this and every single question ever asked him makes me wonder why in hell he wants to be President.

In a way, the question posed to Paul about healthcare is the same question posed to Perry about Social Security, and in fact, the only question ever posed by anybody to any Republican: You really think this federal social program is a bad idea? Why do you hate the poor and elderly?

I think every Republican present at the debate (the two Mormons possibly excepted) would agree that a federal program is rarely a good way to help people if you really want to help them, as opposed to control them and/or twist them in the wind of bureaucracy. But where the others simultaneously understand that we have to start from where we are, and have various proposals about how to do that, Paul never has an answer that explains how to get there from here.

Paul's answer to the healthcare question wasn't wrong, just beside the point. He is right that had we not created a culture of dependency on federal programs, we would have found superior, more creative and more responsive solutions at state and local levels, and would probably be a people of nobler character for it. But saying we did it wrong 70 years ago is not the same thing as knowing what we should do about it now.

And for that, Paul, being an uber-Libertarian, has a hands-off policy. He doesn't want to tell you what to do! He won't even tell the die-hard Paulistas they ought to repudiate anti-Semitism and trutherism, because he wants to leave them free. He's not responsible for what they think. Fair enough, but I wonder...why on earth does a man who never wants to tell anyone to do anything, ever, want to be Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief? Is it possible to conceive a person less temperamentally suited to the job?