What's The Penultimate Line?

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Memo to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio: YOU ARE DUMB.

IDIOTS SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS continues to operate on the presumption that the entire Republican field is awful, but the field is also narrowing. Not by people leaving the race, just by people sort of vanishing. Anyway, today we talk about the frontrunners, because two of them were in the most ridiculous, illuminating back-and-forth ever, and the third is just a weird dickhead.

"I'll tell you and the rest of the country, people understand exactly what that is. In South Carolina when I was there, the people there certainly understand it.” - Ted Cruz, not explaining what "New York values" are.

Ted Cruz' attack on Donald Trump for having "New York values" was hilarious, but his refusal to say what they were was even more hilarious. It's an old Republican attack on coastal liberals at the expense of "real America", defined as the middle of the country, either horizontally (the Midwest) or vertically (South Carolina, apparently). It's not quite as homophobic as "San Francisco liberal", which Republicans used for years as a dogwhistle, but it's in the same general ballpark.

And if Cruz had flung it at Hillary Clinton, nobody would have blinked. But he tossed it at Trump, which means Fox News even asked him about it, and they're supposed to know better than to ask wingnuts what their dogwhistles mean, because if you say what they mean, they stop being dogwhistles and start being slurs. But that's OK, because the Real Americans know what Ted means and Real Americans hate New York City!

"When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York.” - Donald Trump following his usual M.O., being effective and also full of shit.

The beautiful thing about this exchange is that embodies the absolute worst of American rhetoric. Ted Cruz essentially says that Donald Trump is allied with liberal moneyed Jews, and Donald Trump responds by invoking 9/11. It's like the irresistibly stupid force meeting the irredeemably stupid object. It's like a Dragonball Z fight only the hair's even more insane-looking.

And while I'm here, everyone would have responded beautifully and humanely to a 9/11-scale attack on their city. A tragedy like that triggers empathy in people who normally don't express it, and forces people without empathy to pretend they have some in order to fit in. So New York's reaction, while commendable, wasn't unique. But that doesn't matter, because the Thor's Hammer of Dipshittery met the Cap's Shield of Blind Jingoism. Net result? The world's most ridiculous standoff.

"In fact, if ISIS were to visit us, or our communities, at any moment, the last line of defense between ISIS and my family is the ability that I have to protect my family from them, or from a criminal, or anyone else who seeks to do us harm. Millions of Americans feel that way." - Marco Rubio, shooting off flares nobody's seeing and sounding air horns nobody's hearing.

I've got two paragraphs here, so let's devote the first to the ridiculous notion that Marco Rubio actually meant what he said. If we're down to Marco Rubio and the gun he bought on Christmas Fucking Eve (which is what prompted this explanation) in the event of an ISIS attack, guess what? We've already lost. Time to mark off five extra chunks of time on your calendar each day and start writing "Caliphate" on your checks, because Marco Rubio is not, I repeat not, going to Die Hard that shit. He's not even going to Olympus Has Fallen that shit. If we're very, very lucky, he'll only manage to Larry The Cable Guy In Delta Farce that shit.

And now, let's devote the second paragraph to the ridiculous notion that Marco Rubio actually thought that telling everyone he bought a gun on Christmas Eve to stop ISIS was a good idea that would totally win him points with the Oklahoma Militia wing of the Republican Party. They will never like him because he once expressed nuance, and they hate nuance the way they hate arugula. Without actually knowing what it is. Also, Sarah Palin just endorsed Donald Trump, so nice try, sucker.