It was an eventful day on the Sunday talk shows. Big topics of the day were, of course, Hillary Clinton's e-mails, Donald Trump's most recent deranged rants, and how exactly Bernie Sanders can still win the Democratic nomination. We also got what may only be
the beginning of Republican leaders being
forced to answer awkward questions about the fact that their party's nominee may be
an unhinged lunatic.
Senator Bernie Sanders was on Meet The Press and Face The Nation. Chuck Todd asked several horse race questions, and only one touching on policy: “Do you want to say that Israel is occupying Gaza?”
Todd asked several questions about Sanders' path to the nomination, finally getting getting Sanders to say “Hey, look, Chuck, California is the Big Enchilada.”
Sanders kept trying to steer the conversation back to issues such as the minimum wage, paid leave, tuition-free college, and climate change, but Todd turned to Clinton's e-mails, asking “Do you think Hillary Clinton needs a clean bill of health from the F.B.I. before she accepts the Democrat nomination?” and
“Do you think it's important for them to
find out what the F.B.I.'s going to do before the vote in Philadelphia?”and if Sanders' supporters were “rooting” for Hillary Clinton to be indicted.
On CBS, host Jon Dickerson asked Senator Senders zero questions about substance, likewise asking about about “Hillary Clinton's e- mails and her behavior.”
Sanders replied, “I have been talking about are the issues that really are the issues facing the American people, why the middle class is declining, income and wealth inequality, why kids are leaving school $50,000, $70,000 in debt.” Dickerson then asked if he will have a Super PAC if he is the Democratic nominee.
Todd also had a pointless interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will succeed Trump as the host of a celebrity game show on basic television. He repeatedly dodged the question of whether he would endorse fellow Republican Donald Trump. Schwarzenegger insisted he still a Republican, and is now focused on spending billions on infrastructure and fighting climate change.
Senator Ron Johnson popped up on CBS. Asked about Trump's plan to ban 1.6 billion Muslims from the U.S., he said, “Let's defeat ISIS. Let's defeat Islamic terror wherever it resides. And what we do need to do is just be a lot smarter in terms of how we do airport security, layered defenses. We need to beef up the number of canine units we use. No technology can be beat the benefits of the nose of a dog.”
On ABC, Senator John Barasso dodged on the Muslim ban, cutting Social Security, and forcibly deporting 11 million immigrants, saying, “We need to talk about border security and whether that's a physical wall on top of an electronic wall on top of e-verify.”
Dragging out the JV Pundit Squad on this Memorial Day weekend, Bill Bennett said he thinks that Paul Ryan will back Donald Trump, but, “I don't think it will happen at the level of those ideas. I think it will happen at the level of even deeper ideas, you know, Article One of the "Constitution," pro-life, other things.”
Bennett also added, “People have to look at the fact that Donald Trump has moved from
a certain place to another place.”
The pundits are very sad Hillary Clinton didn't has an even worse week, with the explosive revelation that she used a personal e-mail server, which has been known for some time. The New York Times' Mark Leibovich observed, “I mean I think this was a great week for Donald Trump to not say anything. And, of course, I mean so much oxygen was taken by Donald Trump to bring up Vince Foster and what he said about the Mexican judge in San Diego the other day. I mean this is a lot of oxygen being devoted to an issue that, you know, frankly, could have been spent talking about Hillary Clinton.”
It's an article of faith among pundits that whatever Donald Trump does, must be good, at least for Donald Trump.
Chuck Todd said “So far, Trump appears to be a candidate coated in Teflon. Not so much for Clinton. One difference is how each candidate deals with their vulnerabilities. Trump almost embraces the attack. While Clinton struggles to explain.”
While Jeffrey Goldberg observed, “he's not going to stop insulting Mexicans and Native Americans, as he did this week, because it's working and he goes with what works.
I think that's the simple rule.”
Conservative pundit Kellyanne Conway astutely observed of Trump, “do you know what he's got that Hillary doesn't have? He's actually the nominee of his party. And she's not.” and that President Obama said 'eventual Democratic nominee', “leaving open the possibility that it may not be Hillary Clinton. So I didn't hear him say that he's campaigning for Hillary Clinton and he's endorsed her.”
Things devolved from there, with Chuck Todd asking where does the none of the above vote go? “Does it go to Greens and Libertarians and sort of split?” With Gerald Seib adding, “You know, we shouldn't forget, there's another place the none-of-the-above vote can go, and that's to the Green party.”
Although Trump is one of the most hawkish and militaristic candidates in modern history, Chuck Todd added, “Because you look at Trump as a non-interventionist on foreign policy, and some of those Ron Paul, Rand Paul supporters have drifted toward Trump because they see the main Republican party as too hawkish.”
Robert Costa unfortunately pointed out it's all well to search for other parties, only to find they are crazy too, noting some 'Never Trump' Republicans “were inching close to the idea of maybe supporting the Libertarian ticket. But then they watched these candidates,
they watched this convention, and they realized it's an imperfect vessel.”
But the most absurd moments came with
Jon Karl's interview with Trump guru Paul Manafort.
Asked why Trump is still taking gratuitous attacks on prominent Republicans such as Susanna Martinez, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush, Manafort said quote “Governor
Romney is jealous of the fact that the first businessman to be nominated by the Republican party with record numbers, is Mr. Trump, and, uh, with a chance of winning.”
On Governor Martinez, he said “he was talking about the welfare system and how it's out of control in New Mexico.”
He blasted the pundits, saying, “They said he wasn't going to be able to win a general election, he wasn't going to be able to unite the party. All of these things are wrong. He's proven them all wrong.”
Jon Karl played footage of Trump saying “I want to debate him so badly. I'd love to debate Bernie,” then said, “this is a flip-flop. I mean you heard the tape.” Manafort said “well, what changed is he became the presumptive nominee – he became the actual nominee of the party”
Manafort denied saying Trump was unlikely to choose a woman or a minority for Vice President, because in fact that would be viewed as pandering, even though he did.
Asked if thought the Trump offices are bugged, he said quote “Certainly there are people probably would like to, because there's a lot of good work going on there.”
On Trump bringing up the suicide of Vince Foster, Manafort said “The point is, trouble follows the Clintons everywhere. People are frustrated with all of the drama around the Clinton family and the history of the Clinton family.”
So Trump is teflon, while Clinton struggles, because Trump goes with what works; this will finally be the year of the Green Party and Libertarian Party; Trump has proved he pundits wrong when they said he wouldn't win the general election; and it's Presidential to create drama by leveling long debunked accusations against the Clintons because people are frustrated with all the drama around the Clintons.
And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.