April 4, 2014

There's a line in Ocean's Eleven that goes like this: "The last guy they caught cheating in here? [casino owner Terry] Benedict not only sent him up for 10 years, he had the bank seize his house and then he bankrupted his brother-in-law's tractor dealership."

...If you think that's bad, just imagine what they would have done to him if he had supported Proposition 8 in California!

I'm being facetious of course — but only slightly. When you consider how Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich was drummed out as the company's CEO, the consequences of holding politically incorrect views about gay marriage are becoming clearer. The message is simple: We won't just drum you out of polite society — we'll take your job, too!

Such messages aren't intended solely for one person, of course. The larger purpose is to create a chilling effect — to disincentive your future opponents from participating in politics, altogether. (If you wonder why conservatives are suddenly fighting to ensure some political donations — the so-called "dark money" — remain undisclosed, fear of retribution is at the top of the list.)

Along those lines, Andrew Sullivan is speaking out:

Will [Eich] now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me — as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today — hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else — then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

The difference, of course, is that the religious right rarely claimed to be paragons of tolerance. Liberals have, generally speaking, enjoyed the positive press associated with being perceived as open minded — which makes this incident not merely authoritarian, but hypocritical, to boot. Matt K. Lewis

11:33 p.m. ET

Donald Trump sent debate audience scrambling for their dictionaries Monday night when he told them, "I wrote the Art of the Deal. I say that not in a braggadocious way."

The Marriam-Webster dictionary reported that "look-ups for braggadocio spiked during the debate … after Trump used a word that is very similar in nature and spelling. The word employed by Trump was braggadocious, which is a dialectical word from 19th century America, meaning 'arrogant.'"

The dictionary added that while Trump has used "braggadocious" in the past, it hadn't skyrocketed to the top of their lookups the way it did after the debate.

But the 19th century word wasn't the only one people were curious about — "stamina" and "temperament" also climbed the dictionary's charts Monday night. Jeva Lange

11:17 p.m. ET

Minutes after the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Hofstra University ended, the Republican nominee tweeted his displeasure with the questions asked.

"Nothing on emails. Nothing on the corrupt Clinton Foundation. And nothing on #Benghazi," he tweeted. Clinton's emails were brought up in the earlier portion of the debate, after Trump was asked if he would release his taxes. "I will release my tax returns — against my lawyer's wishes — when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted," he said. "As soon as she releases them, I will release."

Clinton was given a chance to respond, and said she "made a mistake using a private e-mail," and if able to "do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I'm not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that." The nominees both knew ahead of time the topics Holt planned to focus on. Catherine Garcia

11:08 p.m. ET

Hillary Clinton wanted to get under Donald Trump's skin during the first presidential debate — and she did. Pollster Frank Luntz crunched the numbers and found that crowds of undecided voters reacted positively during Clinton's attacks — and even more telling, they did not seem to change their minds when Trump stepped in to defend himself:

Clinton has long suggested that Trump is easily provoked — and at this point it seems, he'll have to at least wait to the next debate to prove her wrong. Jeva Lange

10:42 p.m. ET

In Monday's presidential debate, Donald Trump doubled down on his widely disputed claim that he was always against the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Trump maintained that his 2002 interview on Howard Stern's radio show, in which he said the U.S. should invade Iraq, was just light banter. And as moderator Lester Holt repeatedly noted Trump's public support of the war, Trump insisted that reporters should just call Sean Hannity, the Fox News host who openly supports Trump, recalling that he and Hannity got in fights about the war before President George W. Bush invaded.

Too bad we can't do a FOIA on Sean Hannity's 2002 diaries. Peter Weber

10:34 p.m. ET

Donald Trump's audible sniffing throughout Monday night's debate caused many to wonder if he is battling a cold, but Howard Dean took the speculation to another level.

"Notice Trump sniffling all the time. Coke user?" the former governor of Vermont and onetime Democratic presidential candidate tweeted (yes, from his verified account). Since Trump is still onstage at Hofstra University, he hasn't responded to Dean's question. Maybe it's just pneumonia? Catherine Garcia

10:18 p.m. ET

During a section of the presidential debate devoted to the topic of race, moderator Lester Holt accused Donald Trump of continually perpetuating the falsehood that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States — a theory that Hillary Clinton called "a racist lie."

But Trump repeatedly deflected Holt's question, turning the moment around to tout that he was able to get Obama's birth certificate released. Yet as Holt pointed out, Obama's birth certificate was actually released back in 2011, and Trump continued to insinuate Obama was born abroad as recently as January of this year.

Trump again sidestepped the accusations, to which Holt tried one last time to get an answer. "We're talking about racially healing in this segment," Holt said. "What do you say to Americans of color —"

"I say nothing, because I was able to get [Obama] to produce it, he should have produced it a long time before," Trump interrupted. "I say nothing."

When Clinton was given a chance to respond, she said simply, "Just listen to what you heard." Watch Trump deliver his answer, below. Jeva Lange

10:16 p.m. ET

Donald Trump's solution for improving race relations between black communities and police was summed up with three words: "law and order." He again suggested at Monday's Hofstra University debate that police reinstate "stop and frisk." "Stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men," Lester Holt said. "No, you're wrong," Donald Trump responded. "It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge," he argued, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to appeal.

Stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional, as Merriam-Webster points out.

Et tu, Webster's? Peter Weber

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