Former Republican Senator: The GOP Presidential Field Is ‘Embarrassing’
December 05, 2011, 4:00am

By Alex Seitz-Wald –

Republican John Danforth, who served as a senator from Missouri for nearly 20 years and later as George W. Bush’s ambassador the United Nations, is not happy with the slate of Republican presidential candidates. “I’ve been watching some of these Republican debates and they’re just terrible. Terrible,” he told KTRS in St. Louis yesterday. “It’s embarrassing for me as a Republican to watch this stuff,” he added, calling out audiences for applauding the candidates’ morbid boastings. Via Fired Up Missouri:

DANFORTH: What have been the big applause lines in these debates? Well, a statement that the governor of Texas is responsible for killing 234 people on death row. Or that we favor torture. Or that we’re creating a fence on the Mexican border that electrocutes people when they try to cross it. Or when people show up at the emergency room at hospitals and they’re not insured don’t treat them. And that, I mean these are the big applause lines, people just hoop and holler when they hear all that. […]

It doesn’t have anything to do with the republican party that I was a part of. This is just totally different. And all of these people who are saying this, y’know, and claiming that, y’know, they’re for all this stuff, they also sort of ostentatiously say, “Oh, we’re very religious people. We really, we’re just very pious, Christian people.” They were for torture, and electrocution of the people on along the border and all of that. That doesn’t have anything to do with, is contrary to the Christianity that I understand.

Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest.

Since leaving public office, Danforth has often publicly criticized the Republican party, of which he remains an active and influential member, for drifting father and farther to the right. A year ago, he said that if Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) — the “most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy” — “is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.” As it goes, Dick Lugar is already facing a “tough primary challenge” from state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), and several other Republicans are also thinking of entering the race.