Within microseconds of the report that Justice Antonin Scalia had died you could hear crackling bursts of jerking knees from the six dwarfs vying for the Republican presidential ring. Each tried to engage the hyper-conservative South Carolina audience with a brief, hastily gathered tribute to the fallen justice, mostly repeating the others' mournful words as respectful American mortals grasping the coattails of one of their earlier heroes, Ronald Reagan. But it hardly rose to the classic poetry of Mark Antony's paean to Julius Caesar in an appeal for a loan of Roman ears.
Indeed, from that impromptu point on, the debate stopped just short of fisticuffs in which there were few moments when somebody wasn't making a damn fool of himself. As such, it was hard to shift the harsh story line to the paid commercials in which a constipation cure interrupted the breakdown of sanity. (When I hear some of these guys, I recall the warning of Adlai Stevenson: "In America, anybody can become president. That's one of the risks you take.")
Ohio's Gov.Kasich, who is craving to be the newly honed adult in the GOP platoon, gasped with a pained smile: "I gotta tell you. This is just crazy, huh? This is just nuts, OK? Jeez. Oh, man." But even he fell into lockstep with the script that President Obama should not, for God's sake, nominate a successor to Scalia. Cruz later said he would "absolutely" filibuster any move in that direction by the president Obama. "
Here we go again.
None of this would qualify as anything but one more stonewall that has been raised by Obama's Republican enemies since he entered office more than seven years ago. But it will rise well above an annoyance in the coming months with the contenders on the right continuing to kick up rocks and mortar to strip a twice elected president of his constitutional right.
The Senate races, including the one in Ohio, have risen to towering importance for the Democrats; The country has too many enemies around the world to have to put up with this ad hoc batch of white collar Republicans.
Oh, a couple of takeaways: Rubio asserted Bush "kept America safe." The night before, Ana Navarro, a CNN contributor and Jeb! supporter, became angry on the Bill Maher show when Dubya was criticized by some others for the high human cost of the Iraq war. Her defense: George had been quite helpful in providing for the returning wounded veterans.