Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Most Ridiculous Moment – May 29, 2016


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.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Most Ridiculous Moment - May 1, 2016

Title: "Mocked"

It was a fun day on the Sunday talk shows. Ted Cruz demonstrated, forcefully, why no one likes him; Lindsey Graham reminded us why most people hate Donald Trump; and the pundits treated viewers to their fan fiction of a fantasy world where Republicans and Democrats in Washington are non-partisan and get things done because Barack Obama and John Boehner have a weekly round of golf.

Ted Cruz was on all three shows, where he insisted “the support we're seeing is surging,” and “Republicans are uniting behind our campaign.”

He claimed that “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and John Boehner are all the Washington cartel. It is the corruption of Washington.”
He said “Hillary is a very smart, committed liberal.” And said of Trump, “he yells, he screams, he curses, or he insults”

Cruz said Trump, of all people, was soft on illegal immigration and is weak and naive for supporting the Iran deal. Martha Raddatz asked, “If you rip it to shreds, then what do you do?”

Cruz answered, “Then what you do is you make absolutely clear to the Ayatollah Khamenei he will not acquire nuclear weapons.”

He showed off his well-known people skills by managing to insult and visibly annoy Meet The Press host Chuck Todd. Cruz spun a conspiracy theory that the media are entirely run by Democrats, and could make millions airing GOP debates, but are leaving money on the table so they can ensure Trump is the nominee. Then as soon as wins, they will turn on him, so Hillary Clinton will win the election.

He said “Even though the media stands to make millions of dollars off of the debate, you hear radio silence from the media about no debates. They're giving up millions of dollars. And the reason is your network's executives are partisan Democrats.”
And, “Suddenly you're gonna hear every day about Donald Trump's tax returns.”
On CBS, host Jon Dickerson asked Cruz if was trying to overthrow the will of the people, asking, “In a situation where delegates over people, won't that lead to riots?”
Cruz answered, “No, it won't, although Donald may do everything he can to encourage riots.”
On the same show, Lindsey Graham endorsed for electing Ted Cruz, saying “I believe Donald Trump's foreign policy is isolationism. It will lead to another 9/11,” unquote He argued for more U.S. force in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and expressed fear that Trump will hurt all Republicans, noting “Women and Hispanics hate his guts, for good reason.”

On ABC, Raddatz went to the Clinton e-mail well again, asking Bob Gates, Secretary of Defense under Bush and Obama, if he would know, just by looking a document, that it should be Top Secret. He said no, so the unsatisfied host asked again.

Chuck Todd spoke with CIA director John Brennan about travel to the dangerous land of Europe, asking “How safe will Americans be in places like Germany this summer?” Brennan pointed out authorities have stopped many attacks, prompting Todd to respond, “But there are a lot of plans.”

But the most absurd moments came in the Meet The Press panel. Tom Friedman said of foreign affairs, This is a Waylon Jennings moment,” and observed quote “one of the things that's deeply behind it is the mood in the country for the last eight, ten years has been where the children of permanently divorcing parents.” unquote, to which Todd said, “I don't know if I've heard anybody put it any better than that.”

The entire panel was in agreement in reaction to John Boehner and President Obama appearing in a skit together at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.
Todd said “And all of a sudden I'm thinking, "That's great." And I'm thinking, "Wait a minute. Where was that when America needed it?" and “We all wondered, what if they golfed together all the time?” And “What if they did share a smoke,” with Kristen Welker adding “What would that be like, if they could have actually done that?”

Todd also anticipated possible public reaction, saying “But that kind of comment gets mocked by the partisans on both sides.” and quote “we're going to get mocked right now. 'Oh, there you go. Fournier, Todd, Friedman, all you guys."
Ron Fournier agreed, saying the fact of the matter, that's what leaders do – is you set an example and you set a tone”, and “again, and again, and again, and again.”

So, Ted Cruz mathematically cannot win the nomination until a second ballot at a convention, so the party should unite around him; the media is conspiring to deny him the nomination by not broadcasting yet another debate; Germany is too dangerous visit because of terrorism, while in America this year toddlers have shot 23 people; and although it's well-known Republicans planned to obstruct the President from the start, and were rewarded with articles asking why Obama won't lead, and even now won't consider the current Supreme Court nominee, if only Obama and Boehner smoked together, there would be cooperation in Washington.

And that's the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.