On Sunday, Whiner in Chief Donald Trump attacked Fox News host Chris Wallace on Twitter over his contentious interview with Rep. Steve Scalise. On Monday, Neil Cavuto was a mensch and stood up for his colleague.
In her post about the Fox News Sunday interview, NewsHound Ellen wrote, “Scalise failed so miserably pretending that Donald Trump did nothing wrong when he tried to bribe Ukraine into doing his personal political dirty work – with our taxpayer dollars, no less – that I almost felt sorry for the guy as host Chris Wallace ripped apart almost every piece of BS.”
Apparently, Trump noticed it didn’t go so well for his guy, either. So, in typical fashion, he lied and smeared:
.@SteveScalise blew the nasty & obnoxious Chris Wallace (will never be his father, Mike!) away on Chris’s lowest rated (unless I’m on) morning show. This kind of dumb and unfair interview would never have happened in the @FoxNews past. Great job Steve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2019
The next day, Cavuto hit back in his Common Sense commentary:
CAVUTO: What makes something fake news? I would assume if the news being reported is fake or wrong and the person presenting that news knows it is fake or wrong, that is bad. But what if the news being reported is accurate, the facts are good, they just sound bad? My colleague, Chris Wallace, has discovered again the president doesn’t distinguish, apparently furious over Chris’ interview this past weekend with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. Scalise has steadfastly defended the president on this whole Ukrainian situation. The president likes Steve for that, let’s just say he doesn’t like Chris for challenging Scalise on that.
Cavuto defended the particulars of Wallace’s challenges, saying, for example, “The president never uttered the word ‘corruption’ in that July 25 call [with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky], a call that Scalise said involved only the two presidents but as Chris quickly added, yeah, and a dozen people listening in and a number of them immediately upset.”
“Passions run deep these days," Cavuto acknowledged,“but facts should run even deeper."
“It’s a pity the president didn’t stick around to catch Chris just as aggressively going after Democratic Congressman and Intelligence Committee member Jim Himes and the lack of firsthand evidence implicating the president in anything,” Cavuto continued.
Cavuto went on to note the positive coverage he has given Trump of “markets that are soaring and an economy that’s humming.” Cavuto also recalled “quite well” a 2015 interview with Trump that displeased him. “You actually called me nasty, the interview even worse. You were entitled to that opinion, Mr. President,” Cavuto said.
Reporters “are obligated to question you and always be fair to you,” Cavuto concluded. “We will, even if it risks inviting your wrath.”
Watch Cavuto do the right thing below, from the November 18, 2019 Your World.
The start of the current refusal to work across the aisle did not begin with Trump squeaking through the swing states in 2016. (And the current situation hasn’t been one of obstruction – it’s been one of angry Right Wingers trying to ram through truly horrible appointees and policies and the Dems doing anything they could to try to deal with it.)
I would argue that the collapse of cooperation began during the Reagan Administration, and could even be seen to have begun during Nixon. Because much of Reagan and both Bushes’ people were from the Nixon team. When they got power again in 1981, they immediately moved to consolidate what they had – appointing despicable people like Haig, Meese, Watt, and the risible Anne Gorsuch, and establishing the infamous litmus test for appointing Far Right judges. (The test was built after the Right Wing was disappointed by Warren Burger, who was a solid Republican but who didn’t completely rule that way on the bench. So the Right Wing worked to be sure that judicial appointees would be examined a LOT more closely.)
When Reagan’s White House was exposed for massive corruption and appropriately investigated (with many people being indicted and jailed), the Right Wing was triggered. So when Bill Clinton had the temerity to win in 1992 (really thanks to Ross Perot deliberately spoiling the race for Bush), the Right Wing went after him with guns blazing. ANYTHING Clinton did that could justify an investigation or an impeachment was leapt at, until he was finally stupid enough to lie under oath about his unfaithfulness and stupid enough to pressure others to be quiet about it. At the same time, the Republicans had regrouped under Newt Gingrich, who made clear that he didn’t just see the Democratic Party as debate opponents. He saw the Democrats as ENEMIES and he treated them as such. Once Gingrich became the Speaker, he worked to block anything and everything that Clinton tried to do unless it was completely on Gingrich’s terms. The same approach was taken by Republicans in the Senate. So hundreds of judicial appointees were effectively blocked from consideration, including Elena Kagan. Instead, the Republicans focused themselves on impeaching Clinton in an act of outright hatred. I note that Mitch McConnell voted to convict Clinton in that impeachment, and that Lindsey Graham voted in the House for three of the articles. When Clinton’s second term ended, all of his pending appointments lapsed, just as the Republicans had hoped.
When W took office after the contested 2000 election, the same angry Right Wingers who had been blocking appointees and legislation during Clinton’s years suddenly demanded that the Democrats confirm a whole raft of terrible appointees. The Dems responded by mostly caving in as usual, but they did hold the line against a few really bad judges. They still allowed despicables like Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Norton to take office and do real damage within their departments. The Dems also allowed two terrible Supreme Court appointments in Roberts and Alito to go through, despite obvious bias on both men’s parts. The real legacy of the W White House, past those court appointments, was the collapse of the US economy under the weight of graft and greed, and the creation of ISIS and other extreme militant groups in the Middle East thanks to the viciousness of our actions there.
When President Obama took office, Bemused is correct to note that the Republicans publicly stated that their intention was to block every single thing that the Democrats did. I would only note that McConnell didn’t come up with this on his own. He was instructed to do so by Newt Gingrich at the infamous leadership meeting held while President Obama’s massive inauguration was happening. The intention was to make sure that the Dems would have to fight dearly to get anything done, and that the Republicans could just lay back and campaign on whichever outcome happened. If the Dems got anything accomplished, it would be the hardest and most unpleasant roads to get there. The GOP could then campaign either that the Dems couldn’t get anything done (the preferred outcome) or that if anything got through, that the GOP didn’t vote for it. This extended to the court appointments again – and President Obama was only able to get two appointments to the Supreme Court done before the Senate switched to the GOP in 2014. Because of constant GOP obstruction in the Senate over every single court appointee, Harry Reid revised the voting rules to allow the Dems to start getting judges into long-vacant positions in 2013-14. Once the GOP took the Senate, that door was closed and it was clear that McConnell would block everything and everyone he could.
Which brings us to the current miserable epoch, when the Pence White House and McConnell have worked happily to ram through as many terrible judges as they could, including a stolen Supreme Court seat.
If I see any change at all in the current configuration, it’s not in the fact of the obstruction – it’s in the zeal with which the Right Wingers are doing it. It’s in the level of anger they are showing. I’ve heard of sore losers before, but never a sore winner. From the moment that Trump squeaked through three years ago, we’ve been seeing these guys really work to rub everyone’s noses in it.
I do find it galling to note that members of the Trump family are working within the White House and that some or all of them did NOT qualify for full security clearance. The fact that John Kennedy appointed his brother does not make it right for Trump to do it. Rather the contrary.
Another point that is usually overlooked is the fact that Mitch McConnell declared outright in 2009, that the main goal of the Republicans would be to block anything and everything proposed by the Obama administration. I feel that that little detail should be systematically brought up as the start of the demise of bipartisanship in US government. The Reps started that, not the Dems.
I would dearly like to see a register of politicians’ sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and first cousins once removed who have been co-opted by companies foreign and domestic for exactly the same purpose. The same phenomenon occurs with every prominent figure from congress to state government to city leaders, from sports and the movies to press, TV and radio personalities. Left, right and centre, it may be a little distasteful, but coattail-riding is as American a tradition as baseball.
If the Dems back off now, it will be seen as them capitulating and admitting that they somehow don’t have a case. I’d call the bluff of Pence’s childish spokesman and let’s have a full trial in the Senate. Let’s have it go on for over a month if that’s what it takes. It won’t include any whistleblowers being outed, since Chuck Grassley won’t go for that. It might well include the Bidens, but all that will show is that they didn’t break any laws and in fact that Joe Biden was enforcing the instructions of President Obama and the international community.
But it’s still a LOT more of a likelihood that Mitch McConnell will cut this whole thing off with a fast voice vote, a few high fives and a bunch of gloating.
The GOPers will scream bloody murder even though that’s been their position for weeks. Dems should then invite people to “read the articles” and spend their time talking about health care, education, infrastructure and the like.
Alternately Juan Williams was included on a panel and he was repeatedly shouted down by a coordinated chorus of hosts Hemmer and Smith plus the other two right-wing panel members when his turn came up. Later the hosts stopped him dead before he could get a full sentence out and redirected the conversation away from him. The net result is Juan never got a point fully articulated
As a side note, after witnessing AN today and their endless (insider?) spews exposing Republican Senate plans (apparently coordinated with the White House) on how to exploit an Impeachment Trial into a pro-Trump propaganda circus I’m rethinking the wisdom of the Democrats passing articles of impeachment. Apparently Republicans plan to focus a trial on promoting Trump’s fantasy conspiracy theories by selectively calling witnesses – probably pre-screened by the White House. Perhaps censure is the way to go.