As I pointed out yesterday, the Right Wing Outrage du Jour is hardcore Islamophobia, and Ben Carson and Donald Trump are sufficiently bigoted for the true GOP base. But as Steve M. reminds me, Fiorina doesn't sufficiently hate Islam enough to be the GOP nominee.
Anyone who continues to think that the questioner at Trump's rally was a plant meant to embarrass Trump is nuts. Trump thinks this sort of talk wins him votes -- he's had a couple of days to revise and polish his message, so if he thought this was harmful to him, he'd back down, but he's not doing that. And Trump is almost certainly correct in his assessment of Republican voters. Carson also knows that Islamophobia sells to the GOP voter base, so that's what he's delivering.
I don't think Fiorina will be able to keep up.
You probably don't know this, but a lot of people on the right do: A few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Fiorina made a speech that praised Islam.
It's a pretty rote speech in hindsight, filled with tech buzzwords and Silicon Valley white knight nonsense about how technology will save "emerging markets", but in the end she tells how Islam made great contributions to the sciences (which is true) and set the world stage for the era of technology we have today (which is also true).
It's possible that Fiorina is done for, certainly, but I doubt it. If she can keep the subject on her imaginary video of Planned Parenthood dismembering live babies, then she might stay in this after all.
During last week’s Republican presidential debate, Fiorina had claimed that she saw undercover videos from a Planned Parenthood that showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
However, fact checkers like FactCheck.org and The Washington Post have said that there was no such scene included in the videos that were recently released by an anti-abortion group.
“Do you acknowledge what every fact checker has found?” Fox News host Chris Wallace asked the candidate on Sunday. “As horrific as the scene is, it was only described on the video by someone who claimed to have seen it. There is no actual footage of the incident you just mentioned.”
“No, I don’t accept that at all,” Fiorina shot back. “I’ve seen the footage. And I find it amazing, actually, that all these supposed fact checkers in the mainstream media claim this doesn’t exist, they’re trying to attack the authenticity of the videotape, I haven’t found anyone in the mainstream media who has ever watched these things.”
“I mean, they will claim that somebody watched it for them,” she continued. “I will continue to dare anyone who wants to continue to defund Planned Parenthood, watch the videotapes.”
“And anyone who wants to challenge me first is going to have to prove to me that they watched it.”
This is a perfect argument for her, because she can't lose it. Anyone who challenges her on this, she will say "You didn't watch the videos, I did, you're lying." She's basically calling the media liars, and that's a winning hand every time among the GOP faithful. No Republican is going to challenge her position on this. No media will challenge her on this. As long as she can ride this, she stays in the game.
As long as she gets to frame Planned Parenthood as "who do you trust, me or the lamestream media?" she cannot lose, period. I don't know if it's good enough to get her the nomination, but it's she's going to ride this train as long as she can. Sarah Palin showed the way 7 years ago.