The last GOP debate was more than a month ago, but GOP presidential candidates have certainly been keeping busy. Frankly, it's been about 42 days of nonstop feuds, Twitter wars, attack ads, bizarre interpretations of the Constitution, and oh, so much more. Who knows how much or how little of it will be brought up Wednesday night at the third GOP debate on CNBC? After all, the last GOP debate bore no shortage of crazy, from Carly Fiorina dreaming up her own version of undercover Planned Parenthood footage to Jeb Bush confessing to smoking weed, but believe it or not, some of GOP candidates' dumbest statements have been made in the month that followed the debate.
Take a minute to consider the current GOP roster. There's Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and John Kasich, who will feature in the primetime debate, and there's Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki who will perform in the pre-show debate. And then there's Jim Gilmore, who isn't participating in either and will probably be stuck with live-tweeting commentary on Twitter again.
If you've been keeping up with their campaigns since last month, Islamophobia and obsessions with the Second Amendment probably come to mind, but if you haven't, here's a roundup of some of the worst things GOP candidates have said to familiarize yourself with before Wednesday.
1. Mike Huckabee: "It's Clear President Obama Is More Interested In Appeasing America's Homosexuals Than Honoring America's Heroes."
Do I even dare to begin elaborating on how problematic nearly everything this man says is? In response to Obama nominating the first openly gay secretary of the U.S. Army, Huckabee continued in a statement: "Obama is so obsessed with pandering to liberal interest groups he's nominated an openly gay civilian to run the Army. Homosexuality is not a job qualification. The U.S. military is designed to keep Americans safe and complete combat missions, not conduct social experiments."
As if Obama's decision was based solely on Eric Fanning's sexual orientation rather than, I don't know, his qualifications? Treating LGBT people the same way we would heterosexual people is hardly a dangerous social experiment that's ruining America. As always, thank you, Huckabee, for your open-minded input.
2. Marco Rubio: "It Was Basically A Liberal Versus Liberal Debate About Who Was Going To Give Away The Most Free Stuff."
Referring to the Democratic debate on Oct. 13, Rubio continued on Fox News:
Free college education, free college education for people illegally in this country, free health care, free everything.
Naturally, as Think Progress points out, Rubio ignored Hillary Clinton's insistence on work-study programs and Bernie Sanders' hard stance on cutting the tax deductions that concentrate wealth among the highest 1 percent.
3. Chris Christie: "[Black Lives Matter Is] Calling For The Murder Of Police Officers."
Ah, yes, the most common right-wing response to the issue of racially-charged police brutality. (That is, next to "black-on-black" crime.) Beyond the fact that statistics simply don't corroborate that police are being victimized at higher rates than before, as The Washington Post's Radley Balko points out, statements like Christie's are also problematic because:
When there's a fictional "war on cops" blaring in the background, it becomes much more difficult to have an honest discussion about police cameras, police militarization, use of lethal force policies, police discipline, police transparency, training, police accountability, and a host of other issues.
If it makes you feel any better, Chris Christie was kicked off an Amtrak quiet car on Sunday for talking too loudly on his cell phone. So, I guess if you were having a bad day, you've got that going for you now.
4. Ted Cruz: "I Encourage Every State To Follow Texas' Lead In Stopping Taxpayer Funds From Going To Planned Parenthood."
Hopefully, it goes without saying why this quote made the list. Cruz also stated:
I'm proud of Texas for leading the way in affirming the sanctity of life, and I thank Gov. Abbott for his principled commitment to protecting the lives of unborn children. ... I will continue to lead the fight in the United States Senate to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level.
The horrifying videos released this summer revealed the grim reality of Planned Parenthood's barbaric actions. For far too long, Planned Parenthood has hidden behind the guise that it provides women's healthcare. The truth is: there are real alternatives to Planned Parenthood that offer high-quality, affordable women's health care.
For all the beautiful, magical "alternatives" to Planned Parenthood that Republicans love alluding to, they can't seem to specify any.
5. John Kasich: "I'm Sorry, I Don't Have Any Taylor Swift Concert Tickets."
At the University of Richmond earlier this month, Kasich responded to a female student raising her hand with a question by assuming that she attended his town hall forum speech not to be an informed voter, but for some Taylor Swift tickets.
6. Rand Paul: "I Guess We Have A Choice Between Socialism And Corruption."
So, that's Rand Paul's insightful, cutting-edge assessment of the Democratic Party's situation. Any guess as to which Democratic candidates he's alluding to?
7. Rick Santorum: "They're All Socialists."
When asked about the Democratic debate earlier this month, Santorum offered his insights on the platforms of Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders:
I know these guys. I've served with Bernie Sanders. I've been on TV shows with Bernie. And here's the amazing thing, there's no difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. That's basically what debate showed. They're all socialists, and they all don't believe in free enterprise.
8. Lindsey Graham: "I Think [Putin] Is Walking All Over Obama In The Ukraine. "
Graham hasn't been up to too much since his performance at the last pre-show GOP debate and has garnered minimal media attention beyond some publicity for his usual criticism of Obama's actions in the Middle East.
9. George Pataki: "Twitter Is A Great American Company That Should Not Give A Platform To Terrorists Or Traitors."
In response to Edward Snowden's Twitter account, Pataki made it clear that he's no fan of the controversial figure via a heated tweet demanding Snowden's account be terminated and furiously tweeting at Snowden himself. The Guardian dubbed him "Edward Snowden's first Twitter troll."
10. Bobby Jindal: "Who Is It That Generally Commits These Evil Acts Of Mass Murder ... It's Almost Always Young Men Who Have Either No Father Figure In Their Lives, Or A Broken Relationship With Their Father."
Following the mass shooting at an Oregon community college earlier this month that renewed the national dialogue on gun control, Jindal subtly blamed the attack on the shooter's father and even abortion rights. Jindal, a staunch "gun rights" defender, further elaborated on his campaign site:
We devalue human life, we have no regard for the sanctity of human life in any regard, from the unborn, to the old, and to every single person in between, we devalue it and act as if we have almost no regard for humanity.
This killer's father is now lecturing us on the need for gun control and he says he has no idea how or where his son got the guns. Of course he doesn't know. You know why he doesn't know? Because he is not, and has never been in his son's life.
11. Donald Trump: "The People Who Knocked Down The World Trade Center, They Didn't Fly Back To Sweden."
Trump made the above statement in an interview on 60 Minutes in defense of his disturbing response to an Islamophobic supporter, who asked Trump what he would do about the Muslim "problem." Trump responded to the supporter by promising to look into the issue. "He asked a question, you don't know that he's a bigot," he told the interviewer, because, of course, asking a candidate how he proposes to get rid of a whole ethnic group is a question on the mind of any normal, level-headed person.
You're right, Trump. And the people who arguably committed genocide against Native Americans and enslaved generations of Africans didn't fly back to the Middle East.
12. Ben Carson: "I Would Not Advocate That We Put A Muslim In Charge Of This Nation."
Ben Carson has definitely had a busy month, making and defending a handful of illogical anti-Muslim statements. But his idea that somehow, in a country built on the concept of freedom of religion, a Muslim president isn't allowed by the Constitution definitely takes the cake.
He's also recently compared abortion rights to slavery, too, in case for whatever reason you were hoping his views on the issue somehow evolved since the last debate.
13. Jim Gilmore: ??
And then there's Jim Gilmore, who hasn't been able to make a GOP debate or attract any media attention whatsoever lately. But frankly, I would take his radio silence over an Islamophobic statement, any day.