Home National Politics Andrew Sullivan: Last Night’s Tea Party Debate “Indecent,” Stank of Rotting Fish

Andrew Sullivan: Last Night’s Tea Party Debate “Indecent,” Stank of Rotting Fish


I couldn’t agree more with Andrew Sullivan on last night’s Tea Party debate, and specifically with the the tea partiers in attendance cheering to let an uninsured patient die, rather than society having to pay for saving the unfortunate individual’s life. That’s not the America I grew up in, and frankly it’s not an America I’d want to live in. Which raises three questions: 1) who ARE these crazy, warped, vicious people; 2) what the h*** is wrong with them; and 3) how can any American vote for candidates who agree with, or pander to, the likes of this crowd? It’s truly disturbing, especially in the context of all their other craziness and idiocy (e.g., the moment in this debate when the crowd cheered a line about not spending money on programs we supposedly don’t want; the only problem is, almost everyone in that audience probably “wants” Social Security, Medicare, and defense, which combined make up a HUGE chunk of the federal budget).

…even if such libertarian purity does make sense, that cannot excuse the emotional response to the issue in the crowd last night. Maybe a tragedy like the death of a feckless twentysomething is inevitable if we are to restrain healthcare costs. But it is still a tragedy. It is not something a decent person cheers. Similarly the execution of hundreds, while perhaps defensible politically and even morally (although I differ), is nonetheless a brutal, awful business. You don’t delight in it. And the same is true of torture. Even if you want to defend its use in limited circumstances, it remains an absolute evil, no humane person would want to do it, and no civilized person would brag of it or dismiss any moral issue with it at all. And yet that is what Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney have repeatedly done. They are positively proud of their torture record.

The fish rotted from the head down. Last night, we got a whiff of the smell.