“You’re just scum.” So says Nikki Haley to Vivek Ramaswamy on last night’s GOP debate stage. I’ve got to admit, I liked it. It was her way of saying fuck you to him.
It’s not something that should be bandied about promiscuously in a so-called civilized political debate but people like forceful, plain-language, from the heart speech from their politicians. It goes a long way to explain Donald Trump’s appeal. He says fuck you constantly to anybody and everybody who gets under his skin. Of course, he goes way, way, way, way overboard with it, but there’s that percentage of people who admire his candor and clear disregard for niceties and soft language. They’re tired of mealy-mouthed, forked-tongue blather.
It’s something I wish the Democrats would learn. Hillary tried it with her “basket of deplorables” line in ’16, and then she immediately walked it back. Dang mang, she should have doubled down on it. It would have done her better than apologizing and recanting.
But, of course, there must be a boundary — how about this: Everybody in every presidential candidate debate gets one “Don’t be an asshole” card that they get to use when a rival candidate acts like…, well, an asshole. Haley could have used hers yesterday. And then, once each party chooses a candidate, she or he gets two “You’re full of shit” cards to use when the other side inevitably says something stupid or outright lies.
For instance, one of Trump’s GOP rivals could have pulled out their “Don’t be an asshole” card when he claimed thousands of Arab-Americans danced in the streets of New Jersey while the Twin Towers were falling. And then, should Trump bring up the 2020 election “steal” when he and Biden debate, Biden should pull out one of his “You’re full of shit” cards.
One more card: every major party candidate gets a “Fuck you” card, to be used only by permission of the debate moderator or the Federal Election commission when, for example, somebody like Trump says something like “Only I can fix it.” Biden would apply for permission to use his card, get it, and then say, “Aw, fuck you, Donald!”
Political discourse would be slightly rawer but still somewhat controlled.