At the 1487th Republican debate on Saturday night in some fuckin' place, South Carolina, the fuzzy combover with a belligerent leprechaun attached to it, Donald Trump, lost his goddamned mind over the presidency of George W. Bush. Asked if he still believed if, as he said in 2008, Bush should have been impeached over the Iraq "war," Trump demurred on the question itself, but used the occasion to continue what he had done at a previous debate: calling "bullshit" on the notion that Bush "kept us safe," using, you know, the worst terrorist attack in United States history as an example of making us particularly unsafe.
Trump committed the greatest heresy of his increasingly heretical run for the Republican nomination. He not only spoke of George W. Bush, but he raked Bush over the coals rather than adhering to a milquetoast, generic "mistakes were made by everyone." Trump laid it all at W.'s motherfucking feet: "Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. All right?...The war in Iraq, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, we don't even have it. Iran has taken over Iraq with the second-largest oil reserves in the world. Obviously, it was a mistake...George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East."
And there it is, the thing that Democrats are regularly excoriated for saying, that the United States bears responsibility for the clusterfuck that is the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Now, yeah, you can say that it pains you to agree with Donald Trump, but you can turn that around and say that Trump is agreeing with the critiques from the Left (leaving out his incredibly destabilizing desire to "take the oil"). It was fuckin' beautiful because the filthy fuckin' secret that Republicans want to keep repressed in the minds of their base is that George W. Bush fucked the country up, fucked it up like a group of drunk Manchester United thugs catching a single Liverpool fan in an alley.
Republicans have spent the last seven years trying to erase Bush from voters' memories. They've convinced their base that whatever anger they have about the state of the nation, President Obama should bear the blame (although that's like blaming the plumber for your leak that's flooding the house). Now, Trump wasn't trying to say that Obama shouldn't have Republicans' idiot anger directed at him. But he was bringing Bush back into the equation, ostensibly to discredit Jeb and the rest of the GOP establishment. When Jeb said that his brother built "a security apparatus to keep us safe," Trump wrecked him with "The World Trade Center came down during your brother's reign, remember that...That's not keeping us safe."
Marco Rubio tried to jump in and say that he was glad Al Gore wasn't president on 9/11/01, which should have been immediately followed up with the question, "Do you really think a President Gore would have invaded Iraq?" Instead, Trump went totally Godzilla on the whole proceeding, taking a giant shit on Tokyo while burning down everything around him with his nuclear breath: "How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center -- the World -- excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe...And George Bush-- by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn't listen to the advice of his CIA."
Prior to that, Trump uttered the gravest heresy of all: he accused George W. Bush of war crimes. "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction," Trump said as he watched Tokyo go up in flames. It's this part of his rant that has made the right-wing punditocracy lose their goddamned minds. He's a 9/11 truther, says torture apologist and Bush ball washer Marc Thiessen. How dare he say Bush was responsible for making us unsafe on 9/11, says some fucking piece of shit from the National Review. (Trump did pull back a little on Monday, saying he "didn't know" for sure if Bush lied.)
What Trump knows is that not only would his voters not abandon him, but that he alone was saying what they sincerely believe about the Bush administration but have been silenced by the GOP from saying it. The post-debate polls have showed no change in Trump's numbers. He is going to trounce everyone in South Carolina.
While Trump is still a frightening prospect who truly has no chance of winning on his platform of rank xenophobia and absolutely no concrete plans, his purpose in this race is clarifying. He is forcing the GOP into a reckoning with its most poisonous beliefs and with its suppressed past. It's about fucking time someone did, even if that someone is a gluttonous ogre who is the embodiment of the ugly depravity of capitalism.
Meanwhile, the ghostly figure of George W. Bush is campaigning for Jeb, and he looks for all the world like a man who is so lost that his soul is already damned and he's just waiting for his body to finally give out.