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Bernie’s Q&A: Rathergate, Klobuchar, Vindman, Sanders, and more! (2/14) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
I read a quote today that's very striking and true. "You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out of it." I usually try to stay away from extreme, attention-getting statements, but this one isn't hyperbole. Don't American voters see what happened in Venezuela? Are they not watching the footage from Hong Kong? Obama supporters like to state that the Trump economy is just a continuation of what Obama started during his presidency. Aren't socialist Democrat policies also a continuation of the leftward lurch of Obama? -- Steve R.
Obama was a moderate compared to Sanders and Warren. Sure, Obama and liberals in general like government programs -- and government programs cost money. But he never called for free college and free health care and forgiveness of student loans, etc. As for why some American voters aren't afraid of the Sanders/Warren version of socialism: They like "free" stuff -- as long as somebody else is paying for it.
I was awaiting to see if you had any comments on the Super Bowl. Since you didn't write on it, thought I would force the issue. I thought the game was pretty d&%n good. Your thoughts on it. The halftime show was fireworks, lasers, a million people on stage featuring a couple of gals half dressed (if that), your comments on halftime. Also, did JLo just moon me on my TV or did they broadcast that to everyone? Your thoughts on quarterback Patrick Mahomes? -- Tim H.
It was a great game, I think we can all agree on that, no matter who you were rooting for. As for the halftime show: I have mixed feelings. J Lo and Shakira looked great. But is that what we want to showcase to kids, especially young girls? The first Super Bowl half time show featured Carol Channing. That was more than 50 years ago. If you want to know how American culture has changed over those years, just compare Ms. Channing to the two half dressed stars this year. Finally, Patrick Mahomet is a great quarterback. But greatness in sports (and other endeavors) is measured over time. So we'll have to wait a few more years before we decide how great he really is.
So today the Left MSM and Liberal politicians are ripping Trump for firing Lt Col Vindman as "political payback". I guess they have forgotten when Obama fired General Stanley McCrystal when a reporter embedded with his unit in Afghanistan "leaked" that they had been badmouthing Administration policies. I guess they feel "we" have just forgotten. SMH -- JM
I'm sick of the commentary on both sides. Liberals yelling about Vindman's dismissal but not so much when McCrysgtal got canned. Conservatives defending the president now but not when Obama fired a general. Principles, as I've repeatedly said, are either dead or dying.
Mr. G, Remember when everyone said, Bill Clinton? Who is this guy? Barack Obama? Who is this guy? Now we have, Amy Klobuchar? Who is this gal? Do you think she could surge to get the Nomination since she’s the most moderate Dem? She doesn’t offer up much to be attacked on and she can likely pull votes from the middle and the so-called tired of Trump voters; don’t you think? I also haven’t heard a Trump nickname for her yet either, that’s probably telling. -- ScottyG
Amy Klobuchar finished a strong third in New Hampshire ... and now the buzz is that she's catching on, that she's got momentum. But while third is pretty good, it isn't first or second. And while anything is possible, I think Klobuchar remains a long shot. As for Donald Trump: If at some point he gives her a nickname then we'll know she's a serious contender for the nomination. But if he gives her some dopey name, it will be a mistake. She's smarter than Trump, she's more civil and decent than Trump. He'll get hurt more than she will if he tries to humiliate her. And if, by some chance, she gets the nomination, she'll destroy him in the debates -- again, because she'll come off as the intelligent grownup -- and that will go a long way with moderate swing voters, especially women in the suburbs. In case you're wondering: Despite all that, I would not vote for her.
Dennis Prager has been making the argument on your website and elsewhere that what Trump said about women in the infamous Access Hollywood audio does NOT speak negatively of Trump's character. His rationale is that Trump thought his conversation was private, and that what people say in private is not indicative of their character. This strikes me as an odd argument. What are your thoughts on this topic, and do you think Prager would be taking the same position if a tape had leaked of Obama saying the exact same thing? -- George L.
It strikes me as odd too, George. And I suspect Prager would not take the same position if a tape had been leaked with Obama saying the exact same thing. But I'm not surprised by any of this. Donald Trump has a magical, mysterious hold on people. They'll defend just about anything that he does. Frankly, I find it pathetic.
Bernie. We ALL agree that our president had every right to remove Lt. Col. Vindman and his brother from their posts. But doesn't that and Trump's public trashing of Vindman over the months send a bad message to people in our government that they should just SHUT UP if they believe they are witnessing a real abuse of government power? And what do you think about Molly Hemmingway saying that Vindman should have been COURT-MARTIALED instead of reassigned??? -- Daniel D.
I'm with you, Daniel. I also think the public trashing sends a bad signal. But I expect nothing more from our president. As for Ms. Hemingway: What she said on Fox is this: "If he were in any other position in the military, he would have already been court martialed for this." That's a little different from your take on what she said. If she went further than the quote above, I'm unaware of it.
Do you think Dan Rather should have lost his job over Rathergate, or do you think CBS should have done something more similar to what NBC did to Brian Williamson (knock him down the totem pole)? Or maybe a third option? Thanks! I enjoy these sessions! -- Fred M.
I never believed Dan Rather got canned for screwing up the story. I believed at the time, and still do, that the screw up provided CBS with a good excuse to get rid of Dan because he was ranked third out of three in the evening news ratings. Had the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather been #1, I don't believe he would have lost his job. For the record, Dan didn't get fired when 4 of his colleagues did. CBS waited about a year (as I recall) until his contract ran out and didn't renew him. So what did Dan do: He sued CBS. The case went nowhere but cost him a small fortune.
You recently wrote that Republicans should NOT underestimate Bernie Sanders' chances beating Trump in a general election. I agree, and I would prefer someone who is NOT a Marxist socialist (excuse me "Democratic socialist") running the country. I think Republicans who believe Bernie will be easily defeated by Trump are being WAY TOO presumptuous.
Here's what I don't understand: What exactly is the appeal of Bernie Sanders? Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, I do recall the Soviet threat and the horrors of living under the threat of communism taking over. WHY do so many Americans NOT understand this!? So Bernie Sanders promises free college and healthcare for all, but I see free college as nothing more than free indoctrination into leftist thought, and free health care as bait so he can get Tsarnov and any number of other thugs and felons to vote for democrats (and young teenagers too, if he has his way). -- The Internationale Communist Theme Song Regards From The Emperor
Bernie's appeal? Free stuff is pretty appealing. Never mind that it isn't free. As long as YOU THINK someone else will pay for all those goodies, voters --especially young voters -- will glob onto the candidate.
Also, Bernie is for real. He tells you what he thinks. In a crazy way, that's refreshing. That said, check out my column on Bernie which I'll publish on Monday.
Here's what a college student told the Wall Street Journal about his fascination with Sanders:
"Sen. Bernie Sanders is attractive to young voters because his policies are extreme and concise. You’re struggling with student debt? He’ll make college free. Your parents worry about health insurance and medical bills? He’ll make health care free. In that way he seems to cut through all the muck of the past. What could be bolder or more straightforward? Besides, he can demonize skeptics and detractors as lackeys of the richest 1%.
—Max Calzada, Oakland University, actuarial science and theater"
For many years, and almost every other day, I read about a 'first'. For example, the first Latina police chief, the first African-American mayor, the first woman CEO, or the first openly gay Disney character. What I'm not hearing much about these days is that we have our first openly gay presidential candidate - Mayor Pete. I watch ALL the networks and peruse online content as well and I'm not seeing any flag carrying - banner waving proclamation about Mayor Pete being our first openly gay presidential candidate. I have an idea why, BUT am curious to hear your thoughts about this. -- PCE
You haven't been watching closely enough. There have been numerous references about him being the first openly gay candidate for president. After a while, they simply stop saying it. By now, they figure, everybody knows. Almost everybody, anyway. I'm curious: If you haven't heard anything about it on "ALL the networks" and "online" ... how do you know he's openly gay?
I would like to see each candidate for president or any congressional office be asked the following simple question ( I believe that millions of Americans would appreciate knowing where their candidates stand and would welcome your views on the question being posed and your own answer): on a scale of 1-100 ( 100 being perfect and 1 being Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia), how do you rate America ( and a reason or two supporting your rating)? -- Michael F.
Would make for interesting television, Michael. But it would also open the door to cable news fools to pick apart the candidate's answer. Let's say, for instance, a moderator asks your question of Joe Biden. Anything other than 100 would send Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham into a phony rage. "Why did Biden say 95?" they'd yell. "He doesn't love this country."
In a GOP contest, if Wolf Blitzer asked that question and Donald Trump said "100" ... Don Lemon would sound off about how the president thinks America is perfect, which, of course, it isn't.
So the only "acceptable" rating for Fox viewers would be somewhere between 97 and 100. The only "correct" answer for MSNBC and CNN's audience would be considerably lower -- as long as Donald Trump is president.
For some reason, Michael, your question has been haunting me all day. I keep thinking about it. And the more I do the more I come to the conclusion that I think it's a very bad idea.
How do I rate America? Great country. Lots of freedom. Hate the polarization. Wish taxes were lower. Smaller government. Not crazy about service in America.
And then I'm supposed to come up with a number from 1 to 100 to rate the country? Sorry, not for me.
Saint Bernard, I think you misunderstood last week’s question by reader Chuck S. He asked if in the Iowa caucus (where voters must literally stand/sit and publicly display their choice), how then does a journalist participate and keep their views private. He noted that, on one hand, the right to vote is important while on the other hand, to remain unbiased, a true journalist must remain politically neutral. You said, “A journalist doesn’t ‘participate.’ A journalist reports what’s going on.” What if in saying "participate" he was thinking of someone known to others at the voting place to be a journalist, who would indeed reveal their candidate preference by where they stood/sat at a caucus, as opposed to casting a secret ballot in a primary election voting booth? -- Fred E.
Thanks very much, Fred. Now I get it. Apologies to Chuck S.
I guess it does present a problem -- a potential one, anyway -- when the general public knows how a reporter will be voting. But the reporter would have to be known to more than a few people at the caucus ... otherwise they'd have no idea if he was a reporter or a truck driver. Second, a journalist can vote for any candidate and still be an honest, non partisan reporter. So even if a journalist goes to a caucus and lines up with candidate Joe Blow, it doesn't mean the journalist can't objectively cover Joe Blow. Besides, if the public didn't know, he'd still be voting for the candidate -- and that might influence how he covers news related to the candidate. But Chuck has a point: The general public shouldn't know how journalists vote.
The issue raised by Chuck and you Fred would be solved if Iowa and a few other states entered the 21st century and dumped the caucus system and replace it with primary elections.
Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.