Bernie’s Q&A: Cuomo, Tanden, Sinema, Garland, and much more! (2/26) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Bernie: Wondering what you thought of the reaction by the left to the expected death of broadcaster Rush Limbaugh. I imagined it would not be pretty but the total lack of civility was unnerving. Is there no common decency among these people at all? It's one to disagree and not like his opinions. Some of the things I read were simply barbaric. What kind of person would write such things online for all to see? Did you expect such vitriol and venom? Thanks. -- Warren
It's interesting, Warren, that the very same people who accuse Limbaugh of being hateful and nasty are more hateful nasty than he ever was. Those kinds of people were always out there but social media gave them a megaphone for their venom. They're losers and we should pity them more than despise them. But honest, that ain't easy.
Bernie. What do you think the media, print and broadcast, will look like 5 years from now? -- Len S.
There's a good chance, Len, that print won't even exist 5 years from now. Not entirely, but many papers that are around today will only be digital in 5 years. As for broadcast: Streaming is making life difficult for old media. Their best days are behind them.
If President Biden and the Democratic Congress pass targeted tax increases (aimed at the highest brackets) and targeted cuts in the increase in spending - roughly 50/50, and there's a budget surplus or at least a nearly balanced budget by the end of Biden's 1st term, will you give Biden and the Democratic Congress credit for that and will you still oppose that tax increase? Will you channel President Reagan, by saying "you can't argue with success" or something to that effect? Please don't cop-out by saying you don't answer hypothetical questions. If you do make such a cop-out, what was your take on President Clinton's 1993 budget - involving half targeted tax increases and half targeted cuts in the increase in spending - when the budget deficit was plummeting prior to the Republican takeover in 1995? BTW, I'm not saying that the budget surplus was entirely due to the 1993 budget. I'd prefer that you give a direct answer to the first question. -- Bob H.
First, Bob ... I think the federal deficit is a great big time bomb that when it goes off will cause a great deal of damage. So I'm all for balanced budgets. That said, instead of your proposed "cuts in the increase of spending" I'd prefer cuts in spending -- period ... across the board. And there are costs to tax hikes, even when they're supposedly only on rich people. When taxes go up the rich make decisions on spending and investing that also affects job creation and the economy. I know that won't sit well with you or other left wingers, but that's how I see it. One more thing, Bob: Why tell me to "please don't cop out"? Why go on to say, "If you do make such a cop-out"? Why not give me the benefit of the doubt and see how I respond to you. If I "cop out" you can come after me then.
What are your thoughts on Andrew Cuomo's situation regarding his uncovered dereliction when reporting Covid/19 statistics. His secretary (Melissa DeRosa) --who has worked very closely with the governor throughout this episode-- seems to imply that their fear of critical review by the DOJ (among others) persuaded them to obfuscate the actual situation by moving around incidents into different categories so as to reduce the impact of their policy to force nursing homes into accepting Covid/19 infected people. Now some asides....(1) Ms. Derosa has been so deeply entwined with the governor, I wonder if her revelations are some attempt to help Cuomo navigate the entire affair. It's hard, for me, to believe she went rogue after all this time so as to hang the Governor out to dry. (2) You may want to consider Marc Thiessen's latest piece (NY Post) where he notes that this misinformation may have affected the thinking of other public officials as they grappled with trying to understand, and analyze, the larger public health factors of the moment given we certainly know now how central was NY's experience and impact on the entire country. -- Andrew M.
If it were simply Fox News conservatives on Cuomo's rear end, that would be one thing. But when Democrats join in, then it's time to take this matter seriously. Cuomo will never take responsibility for what happened. So, let's see if there's an investigation -- an honest, non-partisan investigation -- and let's see what it produces. But New York is a one-party state so who knows how far this will go. As for the conspiracy theories about Ms. DeRosa ... I know nothing about that.
You grew up in New York and I grew up in fly-over-country. I suspect we have very differing views about guns. I grew up with a gun cabinet in our family room with guns on top and ammo in the lower shelf unlocked. My brothers and I would strap on our pistols, grab our shotguns and walk through our neighborhood down to the river bottoms to hunt. No one called the cops as we strolled down to shoot pheasants and ducks. In light of this and the way I want to raise my grandchildren, do you New Yorkers have the right to dictate if we in fly-over-country have the right to continue our tradition? Is this a state or federal Issue? -- Tim H.
"Do you New Yorkers have the right to dictate ..." YOU NEW YORKERS?
For the record, Tim, I haven't been a New Yorker in a very, very long time and I never dictated how you or anyone else should feel about guns or your traditions or anything else. I don't hate guns or gun owners. I don't hate people who live in the middle of the country.
You ask if guns are a state or federal issue. Remember, gun rights are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution ... so that makes it a legitimate federal issue. So Congress can pass laws affecting gun owners. But local governments may also pass laws regarding guns -- but they have to conform to the Second Amendment. Meaning ... a city or state cannot ban guns outright. That would obviously be a violation of the Second Amendment. They can, however, set certain restrictions on guns -- as long as they don't violate Supreme Court decisions.
But here's what I get from your question, Tim: You're not a fan of New York or New Yorkers. You don't want them setting policy for people who live in the middle of the country. But New Yorkers don't "dictate" -- your word -- whether you have a right to your traditions. New York, like every other state, has representatives in Congress and they're allowed to vote any way they want regarding guns or anything else.
I think you want it both ways, Tim: You want your local government to establish gun laws for the people in its jurisdiction ... but you don't hesitate to say the Constitution gives gun owners rights. Which is it? A local issue or a federal issue? The answer is it's both. You can't make it a local issue only when it serves your purposes.
I've been following the Merrick Garland confirmation hearings and can't help but feel that we dodged a bullet when his nomination was quashed by Republicans in 2016. I'm finding him to be a "full-blown loon". He is NOT the same Merrick Garland that stood next to Obama in the Rose Garden. Four years ago he seemed "objective". Today, he sounds like a partisan running for office, and he sounds foolish. I am aligned with your feelings about Trump, however I will give Trump credit where credit is due. I think Trump will be remembered for saving our Republic - years from now. Why? Because of his 3 court picks! Our constitution is under attack from 'Marxists'. Eventually the progressive 'wave' will reach the 'shores' of the Supreme Court as they try to undo parts of the constitution they don't like. After listening to Garland's partisan replies to questions today, I'm thinking that if he was appointed to the court in 2016, he would have turned into another RBG (activist judge). Given the Court we have now, I feel that Trump's appointments have reinforced the Supreme Court against the progressive revolution - thus saving our Republic. What say you to my theory? -- Uncle Pete
The little I've heard, Garland doesn't strike me as a loon, full blown or otherwise. As for Trump being remembered for "saving our Republic" -- he'll be remembered for many things, but (despite his judicial picks) saving the republic won't be one of them. You say our Constitution "is under attack from Marxists." I think that's over the top. From progressives? OK. Maybe even from "would-be" Marxists. But I do agree with you that the Trump picks for the Supreme Court do represent a bulwark against what might have turned into a progressive revolution.
I don't disagree that axing Keystone will cost jobs, but for me its a bit early to declare Joe Biden as disconnected from worker pain. The eternal Republican cut-taxes-on-rich-people plan is disconnected in my view. Amazingly both Reps & Dems did support the CARES act last March to spend $2 trillion. Now they seem to be divided on Biden's $2 trillion more in spending, which would also "pay the bills" for some workers. What do you think of the Biden "stimulus" plan? -- John R.
I Like about 10 percent of it. The other 90 percent or so, not so much. There's money in it for the arts, for a transportation system in Silicon Valley and a lot of other stuff not related to the COVID crisis. As Rahm Emanuel famously said: Never let a crisis go to waste. Looks like that's what the Democrats are doing.
Are you as amused/irritated as I am listening to Republicans complain that Neera Tanden isn't fit to run Joe Biden's Office of Management and Budget... because she has tweeted mean stuff at people? For four years, the same people ran interference for all the vitriolic stuff Trump tweeted. And he was the president! -- Jen R.
Ok, Jen, they're hypocrites. But that doesn't mean Republicans -- or Democrats, for that matter -- have an obligation to vote for her confirmation to make up for looking the other way with Trump. If I were in the Senate I'd enthusiastically vote against Tanden. She's nasty. And yes, so was Donald Trump. Democrats didn't vote for him and Republicans have no obligation to vote for her.
Sir Bernie, it seems that “America’s Governor” Cuomo has actually been LYING about his responsibility for the huge amount of nursing home deaths related to his brilliant handling of COVID-19 cases as opposed to that evil racist and incompetent Donal Trump. Apparently Cuomo also threatened another Democrat for telling the truth. Well—whaddya’ know about that!?
Just curious, what are your thoughts on Governor Cuomo and the way the media covered him? --“I Guess DeSantis Isn’t So Bad After All But Let’s Not Admit It Anyway” Regards From The Emperor
Rule of thumb, Emperor: If you're a Democrat you get away with stuff Republicans could never get away with. Why? Because those watchdogs in the media are lapdogs when it comes to covering their own. The press has become the PR arm of the Democratic Party ... and that means covering (for as long as you can) for the bad things their clients do.
Bernie, What are your thoughts on Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona? I admit that when she first took office, I was expecting her to be an attention-seeking partisan who would race in front of the cable-news cameras. But while she does have a provocative style about her, she's turned out to be a pretty independent, commonsense thinker who isn't afraid to buck her party. At least that's my view. -- Dennis M.
To the extent that I follow her, I agree. Remember, she's a Democrat in what used to be a GOP state and is now sort of purple. She has to be mindful of the folks back home -- Republicans as well as Democrats.
According to polls, Donald Trump is basically back to being just as popular with Republicans as he was before the Capitol violence on January 6th. A lot of GOP leaders who were quick to condemn Trump over the attack have since changed their tone, and are back on television sucking up to him again. Most in the party still falsely think Trump won the election, and bizarrely... more Republicans actually blame JOE BIDEN for the 1/6 attack than do Donald Trump! Joe Biden??? How can these people continue to take offense when others refer to them as a cult? -- Ben G.
Good question, Ben. Read my column that's going up Monday morning. It will explain why I'm as baffled (and troubled) as you are.
Bernie, if you were forced to choose between attending a day of CPAC or watching three straight hours of Watters World, which would you choose, and how much counseling would you require afterwards? -- John D.
As the kids say, WOW!!! And I thought Meryl Streep had a tough time in Sophie's Choice. This makes that look like a choice between apple and cherry pie. There must be something in the Human Rights Convention (I just made that up) that allows me to say "I refuse to answer that question on grounds it makes my head hurt." As for how much counseling I would need afterwards. A lot. A helluva LOT.
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