Tag Archives: MSNBC

Let’s banish partisan stereotypes

There’s a common stereotype kicked around about Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans are hard-hearted; Democrats are squishy do-gooders.

I want to take on the GOP stereotype briefly here by calling attention to something U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas said about four of his Republican colleagues who voted recently against a package that include $15 billion in aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

You’ve heard of Harvey, yes? It blew in twice over the Texas coast, ravaging communities from the Coastal Bend to the Golden Triangle. Four of McCaul’s GOP colleagues voted “no” on the aid package because it sought to raise the debt limit ceiling.

One of the four happens to be my congressman, Mac Thornberry of Clarendon.

Oh, Mac. I mean, really?

Here’s what McCaul said, according to Texas Monthly: “I don’t want to judge them,” McCaul said Monday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “I judge myself and my conscience, and when I have people dying and hurting in my home state, it was my duty and my moral obligation to help them, and I felt that that vote was a vote of conscience to help people in my state and also now in Florida. I think that’s what Americans do, and I think it’s unconscionable to vote against something like that.” 

Actually, he did “judge them.” But that’s all right with me. Judge away, Rep. McCaul.

More from Texas Monthly: “I think having to raise the debt ceiling was the issue, and the fact is that Mick Mulvaney is the director of [the Office of Management and Budget], and he was a Freedom Caucus guy when he served with us, and he told us point blank that you could not appropriate disaster relief if you didn’t raise the debt ceiling, so we were stuck with that choice,” McCaul said. “What do you with that choice? Just stand on principle and vote ‘no’? And I question that principle. Or do you vote to help people back in your home state who are hurting really badly?”

Well said, Rep. McCaul.

So, let’s end the stereotyping.

Parties change, politicians don’t

One of the nation’s more well-known Republicans has bolted his party. I’m going to presume for the purposes of this blog post that it’s because the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Trump and Joe Scarborough no longer is comfortable with that association.

Scarborough — who says he’ll register as an independent — is now host of an MSNBC talk show, “Morning Joe,” which he co-hosts with Mika Brzezinski. They’ve been in the news of late, with Donald J. Trump tweeting some nasty comments about Brzezinski, who happens to be Scarborough’s fiancée. It’s complicated, yes?

But the Scarborough’s departure from the GOP is part of a trend that swings in both directions, involving both major parties. It happens when a particular political party veers into an dramatically different direction. Such is the case with the Republican Party that nominated an inexperienced entertainer as its presidential nominee who then has behaved like someone who is clueless about political decorum, norms and custom.

Oh, and he’s also someone who continues on the same insult and innuendo barrage that got him nominated and then elected.

Scarborough is no Republican In Name Only, although I’m sure the devoted Trumpkins out there will call him a RINO as often as possible. He once voted to impeach President Clinton when he was serving in the House of Representatives from Florida. He fancies himself as a serious conservative thinker and commentator. He joins a few other long time prominent Republicans who have left the party for essentially the same reason. The noted Washington Post columnist George Will is the most notable example.

Here in Texas, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the other direction over many years as the state shifted from true blue to deep red. Democrats became Republicans because of the shift in Democratic Party ideology. I can think of several individuals: former state Rep. Warren Chisum of Pampa; the late former Gov. John Connally; former Gov. Rick Perry. They all were Democrats when they entered public life. They are far from the only Texas Democrats who would no longer feel comfortable with the party of their political “birth.”

So, now it’s Scarborough who’s bolted the GOP.

My hunch? We’re going to see more political out-migration.

Declaring war on this overused cliche

I am declaring a state of war with a phrase that is driving me stark raving mad … I’m tellin’ ya.

“At the end of the day” has emerged as the most annoying cliché in the modern English language.

I just watched an interview on MSNBC’s “Last Word” show hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell, one of my favorite TV pundits/commentators. He didn’t use that phrase. O’Donnell apparently knows better.

Oh, no. It came from his guests: foreign policy wonk John McLaughlin and Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist who is known for his expertise on Far East issues.

I heard Kristof drop “at the end of the day” twice in the span of about 15 seconds while responding to a question from O’Donnell. It’s particularly disappointing to hear it come from Kristof who, as a journalist, I am quite certain would never write that cliché in one of his NY Times columns.

(As an aside, I want to share with you that Kristof and I are “homeys” of a sort, as we both grew up in Oregon. I came of age in the Portland suburbs; Kristof grew up in the Willamette Valley.)

Here’s my theory on “at the end of the day” and its purpose for those who keep using it. It’s a setup phrase. I’ve concluded that whoever uses the phrase to preface a conclusion, it is to lend credence — a sort of gravitas — to whatever point the individual is trying to make.

“At end of the day, I am quite certain you have to stay hydrated during the hottest periods of the summer.”

Do you get it?

I do not yet know how this war I have declared will develop. I don’t have a strategy for waging it. I guess I’ll just start by pledging never to use it in this blog — except to call attention to its annoying quality; I also will pledge never to be caught dead saying it out loud.

If only these talking heads would toss the phrase into the crapper.

Trump has been called out by, um, the best

I almost don’t know how to react to this item.

Joy Reid is a TV talk show host. Her MSBNC show is called “AM Joy.” This morning she welcomed a guest to discuss Donald J. Trump’s tweet storm, namely the hideous nature of his attacks on the media.

Reid’s guest was none other than Jerry Springer, the king of daytime trash TV. Springer — of all the people on Earth — said that the president’s tweets are beneath the dignity “of any decent man.”

Roll that one around for a moment. Springer, of course, is correct. Part of me wants to applaud Springer for speaking out. Another part of me cannot get past the supreme irony of such a message coming from this guy.

I need to mention, though, that before Springer made his fortune playing host to TV guests accusing each other of engaging in behavior that boggles any reasonable mind, he once was mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio.

So, Mr. President? Take a bow. You’ve been called out by the best.

Check it out here.

How about ‘reprehensible,’ or ‘despicable’?

I am growing weary of these tepid responses from Republican officeholders to the tweets that the nation’s top Republican keeps firing into cyberspace.

Donald J. Trump’s itchy Twitter finger keeps degrading the presidency. Yes, many Republicans are speaking out. They are angry, embarrassed and dismayed at what the president is doing.

But get this, from Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of my favorite Republicans and the guy I wanted to see win the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

He calls the president’s latest tweet tirade “unacceptable.” He said it is “unfortunate.”

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said the other day that Trump’s attack on MSNBC broadcaster Mika Brzezinski was “inappropriate.”

That’s it? There’s been more of that kind of lukewarm language coming from GOP leaders.

Check out more tweets here.

I’d settle for terms like: reprehensible, despicable, disgraceful, degrading, frightening … you know, language that expresses genuine outrage.

Will any of it matter? Will that kind of response get to Donald J. Trump, making him think better of his intemperate use of a social medium?

No. It just would send a signal throughout the country that it might be dawning on Republican leaders that the guy who occupies the presidency is unfit for his high office.

Trump keeps up drumbeat of insults … arrgggh!

I am running out of ways to express my outrage at the conduct of the president of the United States of America.

It’s not enough that Donald John Trump decided to attack a broadcast journalist with a vulgar attack via Twitter. Or that he refuses to acknowledge that his conduct is unpresidential, unprofessional, undisciplined, indecent and maybe even immoral.

His fellow Republicans implore him to stop. They say it’s beneath the office he occupies. He denigrates the presidency, demeans the country he was elected to lead and lends credence to those — such as yours truly — who question his fitness to govern.

He keeps it up. Today was no different for Donald Trump. He fired off another of those idiotic, moronic and despicable tweets in which he blasts the MSNBC talk show host and her broadcast partner.

I’m out … for the time being.

Golden Rule, Mr. President?

One of the aspects of this latest feud that’s erupted between Donald J. Trump and the media involves its timing.

The president decided to go after MSBNC morning talk-show host Mika Brzezinski with a hideous tweet about her supposedly “bleeding from a face lift” while she and fiancé and fellow co-host Joe Scarborough sought to visit Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

The president is angry over “negative coverage” delivered by the MSNBC hosts. So he decided to make it personal.

Let’s consider a fairly underreported aspect of this spate uncivility. It comes just after the death of Brzezinski’s father, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to President Carter from 1977 until 1981. The elder Brzezinski, who died on May 26,  was an avid anti-communist; he fled his native Poland, which would be taken over by the communist government that followed orders set down by the Soviet Union. Zbig, as he was known to his friends, became a naturalized American and then became one of the nation’s foremost experts on the Soviet Union. He was a great man who, quite obviously was revered by his family, including his daughter Mika.

Why couldn’t the president have honored Mika Brzezinski’s grief? Why did he feel compelled to launch that Twitter tirade while she is still hurting?

Oh, I almost forgot. That would require a sense of human decency, which the president seems to lack.

I am reminded of a New Testament passage. It’s in the Gospel of Matthew, referring to the Golden Rule. The New Living Translation instructs us as Jesus Christ taught: Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

How might the president have felt had someone attacked him so directly — and so personally — so soon after the death of a loved one?

I’m guessing he’d get real angry … real fast.

POTUS meddling with media?

Try for a moment to process what MSBNC “Morning Joe” co-hosts — Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough — said today about their relationship with the president of the United States.

According to Scarborough, Donald J. Trump’s White House called Scarborough and asked him to apologize for the “negative coverage” he and Brzezinski have done on the president. In return, again according to Scarborough, the president would call his good friend who runs the National Enquirer and spike a story that the publication is going to run about Scarborough and Brzezinski.

See the story here.

So, if I have this right — and if Scarborough is telling the truth — the president of the United States is now taking time away from matters of state to engage even further in a petty and petulant quarrel with the media over “negative coverage.”

Are there any more examples needed to demonstrate that Donald J. Trump is categorically unfit to hold the office of president?

Hell freezes over: Fox News anchor defends Obama

When a TV anchor for Fox News Channel — the outfit formerly known for its “fair and balanced” mantra — comes to President Barack Obama’s defense, well, then you’ve got my attention.

So it was this week with Julie Banderas, who scolded Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel’s feeble attempt at defending Donald J. Trump’s vulgar tweet about another news talk show host, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski.

Banderas noted that Obama’s critics called him all sorts of names, heaped all sorts of unfair and inaccurate criticism on him. She told McDaniel that the former president responded with dignity and decorum. He chose not to fire off angry tweets in the wee hours of some morning to answer his critics.

Banderas said: “People used to call him a Muslim. People used to call him under-qualified, a sellout to America, a hater of Israel. I mean they called him every name in the book, but you didn’t see him lash out.”

Here is the Fox interview

“Today, the president acted like a human, and he pushed back,” McDaniel told Banderas.

Sorry, Mme. Chairwoman. A “human” doesn’t have to resort to such degrading personal attacks to make whatever point he sought to make. Someone will have to inform me on precisely what the president’s point actually was.

He tweeted something about Brzezinski “bleeding badly from a facelift.” He called her “Crazy Mika.” He attacked yet another female in public life, using language not fit for a junior high school playground, let alone from the commander in chief and head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

Chairwoman McDaniel’s use of the word “human” also should include the word “decency.” If the president had a hint of human decency buried somewhere in his DNA he would have refrained from attacking another human in such a personal and undignified manner.

Julie Banderas was absolutely correct to call the president out for his latest moronic Twitter tirade.

Twitter insult might doom health care overhaul

Donald J. Trump’s latest Twitter tantrum bodes potentially disastrous for a legislative goal he and congressional Republicans have established.

They want to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. A U.S. Senate bill is hanging by a thread. Senators postponed their vote on it until after the Fourth of July recess.

So what does the president do? He fires off a vulgar, insulting tweet this morning about two MSBNC talk show hosts, ratcheting up his idiotic war against the media. The tweet makes some bizarre reference to Mika Brzezinski “bleeding badly from a facelift.” He refers to her as “Crazy Mika” and her co-host Joe Scarborough as “Psycho Joe.”

Republicans upon whom the president depends to help him approve this ACA repeal/replace idea now are running like thieves away from Trump.

It’s fair to wonder: Is the president’s lack of discipline, decorum and dignity going to cost him a victory that — frankly, it must be said — was tenuous?

This is no way at all at how you govern.