It was enough to remind me that the Republican Party boils down to three things: tax cuts, “What Would Reagan Do?” and violence. For every problem there is a tax cut that will fix it. For every dodged question, the ghost of Reagan looms like a smiling, beneficent prophet. All you need to do is rub his tummy and Republican boilerplate comes dribbling out to fill in whatever gaping crevice is left unfilled by any actual ideas. And when Perry is asked about the two-hundred and thirty some people he’s executed on death row during his governorship, the audience bursts into applause. Torture, war, and death, and this is the “pro-life” party.
I submit to you that this moment is perhaps the most telling since George W. Bush left office; that the modern Republican party is not only intellectually bankrupt, but morally bankrupt as well. The conservative movement and the Fox News and talk radio media empire it has built up around itself is not only ethically decrepit but morally atrophid. As Andrew Sullivan noted, “any crowd that instantly cheers the execution of 234 individuals is a crowd I want to flee, not join. This is the crowd that believes in torture and executions.”
Everything Rick Perry says in the above clip is gainsaid by the state murder of Cameron Todd Willingham. Yes, the baddest of the bad guys need to be punished the worst, but you can't solve the injustice of an execution by releasing a prisoner. If the system is flawed, as all human systems must be, it's not cool to cheer it for its slaughter.
A non-bloodlust Republican Party might sit in reverent silence or even stirred a noticeable murmur in respect of human life they seem so hellbent on protecting prior to viability. But cheering? As at a pep rally?
The evil party.