Ghoulish love for premature death permeates GOP debates...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/15/2011, 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

It's bad enough that CNN surrendered what little credibility it had as a "news" organization by adopting the name and sponsorship of a mega-billionaire Koch Brothers' funded and controlled, pseudo-grass-roots organization to partner with on Monday's GOP Presidential debate in California.

Now, in the midst of this Los Angeles Times front-page headline, U.S. poverty totals hit a 50-year high, comes the loud “yes” (several, actually) from the audience at the CNN 'Tea Party' debate, applauding the prospect of simply letting those who can’t afford healthcare insurance die...

You'll recall then Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)'s controversial charge during the 2010 health care debate was that the GOP's plan was little more than "Don’t get sick…And if you do, die quickly." (Video here.)

He faced extraordinary heat from Republicans (and their friends in the media) on that point at the time, but, as he noted after Monday's debate, his criticism of the GOP seems to have been on the mark.

"What you saw tonight," he told Huffington Post who'd ask for his thoughts, "is something much more sinister than not having a healthcare plan. It's sadism, pure and simple. It's the same impulse that led people in the Coliseum to cheer when the lions ate the Christians. And that seems to be where we are heading."

Indeed, the "same impulse" to the ghoulish moment seen above during Paul's response, follows on another similar celebration of death at last week's GOP debate, this one on MSNBC, in which TX Gov. Rick Perry was applauded for having presided over 234 executions, "more than any other governor in modern times" --- a number that will grow to 235 within a couple of days unless Perry stops the execution of an African American man whose death sentence was imposed after a TX prosecutor argued that being Black "increases future dangerousness"...

The incidents call to mind, in addition to "people in the Coliseum...cheer[ing] when the lions ate the Christians," the moment in Sicko! when, after a confused elderly woman in a flimsy hospital gown is dumped curbside near a Skid Row rescue mission because she couldn't pay her hospital bill, Michael Moore asked, "Who are we? Is this what we have become?"

Answer on the Republican Party primary voters side of the aisle, in any case, would seem to be "Yes! And we're damned proud of it! Bring on more lions!"

UPDATE 09/16/11 In the body of this article, I reported that the number of executions in TX would soon grow to 235 unless Perry stops the execution of an African American man whose death sentence was imposed after a TX prosecutor argued that being Black "increases future dangerousness".

Although Perry refused to intervene, the inmate, Duane Edward Buck, was spared just hours before his scheduled execution when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a reprieve, according to Los Angeles Times.

This is not the first recent case in which the Supreme Court intervened to spare an inmate from what Perry touts as a rock solid TX system of justice.

The Times went on to report:

Last year, the court intervened at the last hour to stop the execution of an inmate [Hank Skinner] who said he was innocent and sought DNA testing of a bloody knife and other items found at the crime scene...

Texas prosecutors and judges had ruled he had no right to seek the DNA testing because his lawyer did not seek it during his trial.

The high court ruled for Skinner this March, saying he had a right under federal law to have the DNA tested.

Of course, Perry boasted during the televised debate that he doesn't lose sleep over the possibility the state may have executed an innocent inmate. That's the thing about the death penalty --- you can bury your mistakes.