Bernie’s Q&A: Karl Rove, Paul McCartney, Hank Haney, AG Barr, and more (6/7) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Do you think, especially during the Bush years, that Karl Rove got a bad rap as an evil genius (cutthroat, no-holds-barred political operative)? Unlike a lot of people who've managed presidential campaigns, he has always struck me as a nice and thoughtful guy. I know that people would argue that point by referencing the infamous robocall regarding John McCain's daughter (when Bush was running against McCain in the 2000 primary), but Rove denies that was him, and and I don't know what to believe there. What are your thoughts on Mr. Rove? -- Jen R.
He's one of the relatively few contributors on Fox from whom I always learn something. Sure, he's a partisan, but unlike many of the others on Fox, he's not an ideologue. And I look forward on Thursday's to his column in the Wall Street Journal. If I were running for something -- I NEVER WILL -- I'd want Rove on my team.
Sir Bernard-Thank you for your recent in depth (hidden camera) reporting of the current state of affairs of horse racing in the U.S. I would highly recommend, to your viewing audience, the piece recently aired on HBO Real Sports. -- Matthew Q.
Thanks Matthew. I've heard from a lot of people who watched the story. The one word that keeps popping up is "disturbing."
Okay, I'll bite---what's the story about Paul McCartney calling you "Dave" way back when? -- The Emperor (Editor's note: Chris C. asked the same question)
I spent four days with McCartney in Chicago in the late 80s for a CBS News 48 Hours special. After four days we said goodbye at the door to his suite at the Ritz Carlton hotel. As I walked off down a long narrow hallway, he added a final goodbye from his door, something like "Take it easy" or "Take care" and ended with him calling me Dave. I was about 20 feet down the hallway and I slowly turned and said, "You don't know my name." To which he replied: "Yes I do." So I said, "What's my name." McCartney said, "Bernie." I then said, "So why'd you call me Dave." He said: "I call all Americans Dave." I smiled and said, "Take it easy, Ringo." Turned and walked into the sunset.
Bernie, over a decade ago your pal O'Reilly wrote "Culture Warrior." I think the battle now is much more intense than it was in the mid-60s and actually has been globalized. What are your views on this subject and given the bias in the institutions that most directly control culture in America ( the press, academia and the entertainment industry), is it inevitable that the secular progressive forces will ultimately prevail? Also do you have advice for parents and grandparents who worry about their children and grandchildren being inundated with non-traditional values and perspectives? -- Michael F.
The Left has won the culture war. They control the culture -- all the institutions you mentioned: the press, academia, the entertainment industry. I think one of the reasons Donald Trump won in 2016 is because a lot of Americans know what you know and are just as unhappy about it. Can things change? Sure. But I don't see those institutions moving rightward anytime soon.
As for what parents and grandparents can do: Teach values. Live the values you say are important. Kids will pick up on that. Culture is a powerful force -- but so is family.
Sir Bernard :
Do you believe CNN demonstrated fairness when they asked then-GoP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich about a purported conversation with his then-spouse regarding an open marriage?
If invited, would you welcome the opportunity to be on a panel of an upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential debate between the candidate of the democrat and republican party? If so or if not, what questions would you like to ask of Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden (assuming he is the Democrat candidate)?
Is it appropriate to refer to the Democrat party and their elected officials....as Democratic vs Democrat?
-- Matthew Q.
As I recall that was one of, if not THE, first question asked of Gingrich. I think it was designed to make him look bad -- not to elicit genuine, important information. I didn't like it when I heard it-- and I still don't like it.
It's moot, Matthew. Not going to happen. I'd ask the president why he's so thin-skinned; why he can't take a shot and not respond; why he's so insecure that he has to fight back with needlessly nasty responses. I ask him what it was about his childhood that made him the way he is today. As for Biden, I have a column coming up later this month with a whole bunch of questions I want reporters to ask him at the first Democratic presidential debate. Stay tuned.
I can't figure out the hard right fascination with calling the party Democrat instead of Democratic. I've heard from a few liberals that conservatives who use the word Democrat do it because the word ends with "rat." At first I thought that was ridiculous. Now, I'm not so sure.
There an old saying that some people think borders on the ridiculous that I’d like to quote now. The saying goes, “If you’re 30 and not a liberal, you have no heart. And if you’re 50 and not a conservative, you have no brains.” Of course, that statement is a quite a bit over-the-top, but it does have a germ of truth embedded in it. Young people tend to be idealistic rather than pragmatic. So, it follows that their political ideology will tend to tilt to the left; sometimes far to the left. But as we get older, and we have been frequently smacked in the face with life’s reality, we tend to tilt to the right, and again, sometimes far to the right. So, I guess that explains why in areas of the country with an older population, the Republicans tend to do well. And conversely, in areas where the population trends younger, the Democrats tend to do well. This, as well as other factors, screams for the continued need for the Electoral College, which the Democrats are feverishly looking to abolish. What are your thoughts on this matter? And do you think it’s possible/probable that the Electoral College will go by the way of the Betamax? -- Joe B.
Huh? Is Betamax dead? What about my 8-track, is that behind the curve too?
Ok, let's get serious: Your analysis is right on the money regarding the quotation. As for the Electoral College, some liberals want to abolish it because it cost them the last election. If they won because of the Electoral College it would be conservatives -- not all, of course -- saying it's time for the EC to go. But I don't think the Electoral College is going to be abolished anytime soon. But, never say never.
Regarding what led to the Special Counsel investigation, I do appreciate that we have to wait for the IG/DOJ reports, but I believe we can infer a lot from these factoids: Comey/fired; Mccabe/fired; Strokh/fired(?)/reassigned; Page/resigned; Baker/resigned; Ohr/twice demoted (for now). I cannot recall that much top-shelf brass leaving in a supposedly non-political agency. And, of course, all the Russian activity took place under the previous administration. Something is beyond rotten. Your thoughts? -- The Fantom
Fantom, this answer won't please you anymore than the last. I can wait a few days for the Inspector General's report to come out. And I can wait for the attorney general's findings too. I'd rather comment after I have hard facts as to what was actually going on. Will I be shocked if they conclude that higher ups at the FBI broke the rules? No!
Hi Bernie, In the last Q&A, you mentioned that you believe that Robert Mueller believes that President Trump did in fact commit obstruction, but didn’t name it in his report due the DOJ guidelines about indicting a sitting President, which he referred to in his press briefing. While under oath and presenting to congress AG Barr stated that he and Rod Rosenstein specifically asked Mueller three separate times if the DOJ guidelines were what prevented him in making that finding and that Mueller confirmed three times that it was not. Barr went on to say that he and Rosenstein looked at the report independent of the DOJ guidelines (as if they did not exist), and still did not come up with obstruction. We know that one of the “11 instances” of potential obstruction sited by Mueller was Trump’s obvious joke saying maybe the Russians could find Hillary’s missing emails since the FBI couldn’t. So here’s the questions: Who is lying, Barr who was under oath and had witnesses to the conversation, or Mueller, who gave a press conference and didn’t take questions? Secondly, don’t you find it a bit laughable (if not sad) that Mueller and so many journalists actually cite Trump’s joke as collusion/obstruction? Is the left really that stupid, or have they all just had their funny bones surgically removed? Thanks! -- Keith M.
Let me start at the end, Keith. Yes liberals -- some of them, anyway -- really are that stupid and a lot of them have no sense of humor when it comes to the man they detest, Donald J. Trump.
As for the rest of your question, honestly, I'm growing weary of who said what. I don't know if Barr is covering for the president or if Mueller isn't the straight shooter he's portrayed to be. Really, I just don't know. In any event, I'm more concerned right now with the NBA Finals.
Greetings Mr. Goldberg: I often hear from right wingers that they dislike the welfare system because in their opinion it often rewards bad behavior, laziness, promiscuity, illegitimacy, etc. I also hear from left wingers that conservative red states have the highest amount of people ON welfare programs, implying the hypocrisy of so many on the right who denigrate these programs. The left wingers state that left wing programs are successful because so many liberals are much richer than so many conservatives, and thus their states don't have as many people ON welfare. The odd paradox I see here is that supposedly many conservatives are receiving welfare benefits that they despise, and many liberals who say that they want the rich to "pay their fair share and spread the wealth" ARE the rich whom THEY despise. What's going on here? How do you explain red states having so many conservatives receiving the welfare benefits that they hate? How do you explain the blue states having so many wealthy liberals that hate the wealthy? Your thoughts are most appreciated. -- Best Regards from The Emperor
Your Holiness, you make my head hurt. In a good way. Insert smiley face here.
It's not crazy that some people on welfare don't like OTHER people on welfare. Race may be a factor here. I suspect you know what I mean. Some white guy in the Ozarks may not think much of a woman with 5 kids on welfare in Chicago. But they're both on welfare, right? So go figure.
And those wealthy liberals who are constantly complaining about income inequality and all that, aren't giving away their money -- and they don't hate themselves for having money. Liberals don't like conservatives with "too much" money. If they themselves have it, that's fine.
People are only human, Emperor, and humans are full of inconsistencies. George Carlin once told me this whole thing -- the world in which we live -- is one great big show. If it is, Your Holiness, just take in the show, smile at the hypocrisies, and enjoy.
In Jon Meachom's Biography of Thomas Jefferson, he says Sally Hemmings was Jefferson's wife's half sister. His wife's Father had a Slave mistress that bore him children. Jefferson took care of Sally and her Family after his wife's death. He brought Sally with him to France vwhere she could have immediately declared herself a free person but did not choose to do so. Doesn't this speak to Jefferson's character? -- Joseph V.
Sure. But don't expect everybody to think Jefferson was a great guy. If -- I repeat if -- he was having sex with a slave -- human property who may not have had a say in the matter -- that also says something about his character. Yes? One more time: IF ...
Mr. Goldberg, I, like most laughed when Di Blasio announced his candidacy for POTUS. What I was struck by was the high percentage of New Yorkers who thought it was a dumb idea and how he would be a terrible candidate. I would have loved to ask them, "why if you feel that way, did you vote for the man not once, but twice?" Moving on, why do you think the Republicans have chosen not to go after the likes of Julie Swetnick who [under the guidance of her scumbag attorney, Avenatti] perjured herself during the Kavanaugh hearings.? Know darn well the Democrats would not have let that go by. It's kinda like they went "whew, at least we got him confirmed" and decided to forget how unscrupulous the attacks on him were. -- John M.
I don't know why Republicans in Congress let all sorts of people getting away with all kinds of stuff. Why didn't they go after the IRS woman, Lois Lerner behind the move to deprive conservative organizations tax-exempt status? Take a guess who cleared up of any wrongdoing? Then FBI Chief James Comey.
Why haven't they gone after the guy who "bleached" Hillary's computer info? Why was he granted immunity? I could go on, but I don't want to get depressed.
I'm asking if you think my analysis is over the top paranoid. I'm going to paraphrase Mueller without using President Trumps name because he is not my concern...
Mueller: Citizen, my office was charged with investigating an allegation against you and your associates in collusion with foreign elements wishing to harm our nation. Our final conclusion was that there was insufficient evidence to make this judgement against you. However during this investigation, your protestation of your innocence denigrated our process and demeaned it as a WitchHunt. We therefore cannot exonerate you as your Protest of innocence obstructed us from finding out you did not commit a crime. It's unfair to accuse you without a trial so although my assignment is over we are leaving up to the system to try you for protesting us. Because 1. We do not like you because 2. You do not like us. You will have to prove you are not guilty.
Does the term Malicious Prosecution strike a chord? Or "Enemy of the State"? Isn't this what the Communist did to Innocents they perceived as their enemies in the Soviet Union?? Am I over the top in seeing this trend towards Totalitarianism in our Justice system? I don't like President Trump but I believe he is an American Citizen and deserves the Presumption of innocence like the Rest of us. If they can do this to him, they can do it to us. Am I nuts? -- Joseph V.
You may be nuts, but in this matter you're on to something. First, I do not think Mueller refused to exonerate the president because the president said bad things about Mueller. I don't think he'd be that petty. Of course, he's only human so who knows. But I agree that Mueller had no business making that very public statement about "not exonerating" the president. As you say, we're all entitled to the presumption of innocence. Donald Trump doesn't have to prove he's innocent. But what is clear to me is that Mueller believes the president broke the law, that he obstructed justice and that he now believes it's up to Congress to act. And I also think Mueller would like to see Mr. Trump impeached.
Bernie, I'd be interested in hearing your take on the recent Hank Haney/Korean LPGA players dust up. Perhaps how he said what he said could have been phrased more delicately, but when I read his quote I took it more as Hank giving high praise to the level of play demonstrated by the current field of great young female Korean golfers. -- OverTheTop
Two things: First, I think anyone who isn't careful these days with how he says anything, especially about women -- and in this case women of a particular nationality -- is just asking for trouble. Memo to everybody speaking publicly: Think before you open your mouth and then ... don't be stupid! And second: I wish we'd all ratchet down on the sensitivity. I often think we're looking for something to offend us. Here's how Haney put it after saying whoever wins the next LPGA would likely be a Korean:
“My prediction that a Korean woman would be atop the leaderboard at the Women’s US Open was based on statistics and facts. Korean women are absolutely dominating the LPGA Tour. If you asked me again my answer would be the same but worded more carefully.”
Bernie: I know the major newspapers are liberal. Even in their news stories, opinion is inserted, sometimes deftly, sometimes heavy-handed. I always thought the Associated Press was like Joe Friday in its news stories -- just the facts. I saw this lead sentence in their news story about President Trump going to Europe: "Like a bull who keeps returning to the china shop, President Donald Trump is headed back to Europe, where on previous visits he has strained historic friendships and insulted his hosts." What in the world? It's not even original with that cliche. What are your thoughts on the AP news coverage now? Does this surprise you? -- Warren M.
My first job out of college was at the AP. Back then, it was, as you say, just the facts. No more. It's disgraceful. But I suspect the AP figures it has to be provocative these days to be noticed, to stand out. When I was there, many moons ago, the whole idea was NOT to stand out. I agree with your analysis, Warren. Thanks for sending it my way.
Ok Bernie, here it goes. I’ve ruminated for 2 weeks over your answers to my questions about Hannity, Trump, and Fake news. First you said “The President is playing you Ralph” I’m from the same streets you are, no one plays me. On Hannity being “dishonest” you may be right, I disagree, but ok maybe. As far as him being a sycophant, I think that’s a little extreme. Here is my question, as the guy who literally wrote a book called “Crazies to the left, Wimps to the right” what is it that you don’t like about Trump? Can you give me one example of a legitimate criticism, except for his manner? He’s the guy fighting back on disgraceful left wing mendacity but you seem to have a big beef with the President, why? -- Ralph P.
There's no answer that I can give, Ralph, that would satisfy you. Your mind is made up on this, and so is mine. But I will say that when you write, "Can you give me one example of a legitimate criticism, except for his manner" ... it reminds me of that old line, "Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how'd you like the show.
Donald Trump is the most dishonest person I've ever met either in public or private life. He's crude. He's vulgar. He's mean-spirited -- and those are some of his good points.
I understand that these things don't bother you. Fine with me. You're not the only person to say something like, "As long as he fights the disgraceful left wing ..."
You and I care about different things, Ralph. We put priorities on different values. Free country, right?
And if you think Hannity isn't a Trump sycophant then you don't know the meaning of the word. Hannity would defend Trump if the president shot somebody on Fifth Avenue -- and would crucify Obama or Hillary if they jaywalked.
Let's agree to disagree and move on. And for the record: I"m not a Never Trumper. If he knocks off the trash talk and the rest, I'll support him.
Bernie, where do you stand on style versus substance? Will the 2020 elections be more about style or substance? Personality or policy? What policy issues matter most to you? -- Michael F.
In the United States of Entertainment, you can't minimize personality. Trump won in 2016 because of his personality. Hillary lost because of hers. But of course, substance matters. Style alone won't cut it. What matters to me? Someone with policies I agree with (substance) ... and a style that makes him or her electable.
Interesting column you wrote on impeachment in Trump's second term. So then, what are the odds of the Democrats keeping the house???? How does the map look for the house in 2020? — Mike C.
Too early to say, Mike. More than 40 GOP House members retired last time around, which gave the Democrats a big advantage. But, and forgive me for stating the obvious, if Trump wins big, the House could go GOP. If he loses, it probably stays with the Democrats. Let's revisit as we get closer to Nov 2020.
In watching this year's D-Day ceremonies, do you have any concerns that the 100 year remembrance will be treated still with the same priority, respect and reverence? Will the worlds leaders & peoples’ in 25 years still “get it”? I certainly hope so. -- Scotty G.
No concerns at all. There's something special about 100 -- birthdays, anniversaries, whatever. This assumes, of course, that our nation hasn't fundamentally changed between now and then. But I don't think even far left candidates, the ones who want to change all sorts of things about America, will be dopey enough to downplay such a historic event. If I'm wrong get back to me in 25 years. (Joke)
Being that you were such a big part of the O'Reilly Factor for so many years, I was curious if you were ever publicly berated by someone who recognized you from television, and wanted to give you a piece of their mind over a political disagreement. -- Max R.
Good question, Max. The folks who recognize me, at airports or restaurants, are invariably friendly. Every now and then someone will tell me he disagrees with me, but that's fine. However ..
I used to play pick up basketball on weekends. Everyone except me was a liberal. One of those guys was also NUTS. He once went off the rails, screaming, "You're just a typical Republican." And someone in the neighborhood saw my wife walking the dog -- before her mandatory morning coffee -- and said something like, "I don't like anything about your husband -- or anything he stands for." My wife -- who people say is the nicest person they ever met -- told the guy to "think whatever you want," and kept walking.
If he had said it to my face, I would have smiled and also just kept walking. Depending on my mood, I might have said, "Small world. I don't like anything about you, either." To this day, I've never met the guy. To be clear, I don't care if he doesn't like anything about me, but don't stop my wife on the street and berate me --- indirectly. And like I said, she hadn't even had her morning coffee. Trust me, that's a big deal.
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