Bernie’s Q&A: Roy Moore, Andrew Breitbart, Jack Tapper, Megan Rapinoe, and more (7/12) — 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.
Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Between your television, books, and website commentary, is there anyone (a public figure, aka someone we would know) who you heavily criticized, only to later...in retrospect...feel as though you had been unfair to, or far too hard on? -- Alex
Excellent question, Alex. Years ago, I was interviewed by Chris Matthews live on MSNBC for a full hour -- on the campus of the University of Miami. Donna Shalala, president of the school at the time, was in the front row. In the last minutes of the program, I took a verbal shot at her for not standing up to Bill Clinton's shenanigans in a more forceful way when she was in his administration. She had been a gracious host, allowing MSNBC to interview me on her campus. She didn't have the ability to respond -- I was on camera, she was in the audience. It was unfair on my part. I regretted my comments the second they came out of my mouth. After the show, I told her. As I recall, she smiled and said nothing.
Alabama's Roy Moore is running for the U.S. Senate again, as a Republican. Though it's doubtful he'll win the party's primary this time (his current favorability ratings are quite low), there's an interesting debate going on, mostly online, between liberal and conservative commentators. Liberals are insisting that the GOP is responsible for Roy Moore, and that he is representative of their party. They're pointing out that the last time Moore ran (just 2 years ago)...
he won the Republican primary
President Trump endorsed him (after the child molestation accusations came out)
the Republican National Committee, at the request of Trump, helped fund his campaign (again, after the accusations came out).
Conservatives, however, are reminding people that the very red state of Alabama ultimately rejected Moore last time (in the general election), and that Trump recently tweeted that Moore shouldn't run again (which seems like a disavowment by the party establishment).
What's your take? Does the GOP get to wash their hands of Moore after standing by him when he was still politically viable, or does their apparent rejection of him now absolve them? -- Rick R.
First let me say, I detest Roy Moore -- and felt that way long before the accusations came out about his alleged interest in teenage girls. I wrote about him in my 2005 book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Now to your question: Both sides have a point, don't they? The GOP should never have endorsed him. But they're right now to wash their hands of him. But liberals who say Moore is representative of the GOP, know better. He's not. Not even close. And to suggest he is is nothing but cheap politics.
What are your thoughts on CNN's Jake Tapper? Though he leans left, I think he at least tries to make a genuine attempt to be fair. He's also pretty good at pointing out double standards on both sides (which is kind of rare). -- Jen R.
Hey Jen. I'm with you. Agree on all counts.
Bernie, if we all, truly thought about it, there is one answer to so many things that concern us with our political system ... The answer - TERM LIMITS - 6 years and out. No career politicians. You vote your conscience. No worries about being re-elected and pandering to your constituents - right or wrong. Not spending your whole life raising money, and instead work for the folks. Simple? Yes. Why don't we have EVERYONE with half a brain clamoring for term limits? Never understand it. Aloha -- Mike S.
Aloha Mike. Your arguments are tempting that's for sure. But I'd rather have the voters throw the pols out when they deserve to be ousted. But my mind is open on this question. Here's another idea: You get two revolving drums, the kind they have on the Price is Right. You put all the names of every member of the House in one drum -- and every congressional district in the entire country in the other drum. You get some honest type to pick the name of a Member of the House out of one drum -- then he picks the district he or she would represent from the other drum. So you might have AOC representing a district in Idaho. Or some conservative representing the Bronx. That way the congressman or woman wouldn't have to pander to the people in the district he or she would be representing -- since no one in the district voted for him or her. You following this? Then you do the same thing with the Senate. No, I'm not high. Too bad it's unconstitutional.
If Trump cut his bombast by half, could he win on his record? This question assumes a return to moderation by the eventual Democrat nominee. -- Bob
Let me put it this way, Bob. If Trump DOESN'T cut his bombast by AT LEAST half, he stands a good chance of losing. Given the state of the economy, his approval numbers should be much higher than they are. If he looses, I've written, he will have been defeated by his own mouth.
Bernie, from what I've read/heard, it sounds like Fox News never even told you that they wouldn't be renewing your contract. They just kept you off TV for a very long time until it quietly expired. I'm curious if anyone from Fox management has reached out to you SINCE THEN, maybe to respond to your remarks/columns about parting ways with the network? Also, have any of your former colleagues (whether or not they're still with FNC) reached out to share similar stories of Fox not appreciating conservatives criticizing Trump on-air? -- James
They not only quietly let my contract expire ... when it did run out I heard absolutely nothing from Fox. While I have not heard from others, I'll name a few who were in the same boat: George Will, Erick Erickson and Col. Ralph Peters. There may be others. As for reaction from Fox: Nothing. Finally, and this is important, I have not lost one second of sleep over this. Not a nanosecond. I'm a journalist. The people who run Fox News are not. I'm comfortable with who and what I am. They can speak for themselves.
The Presidency has term limits. But I always felt that our votes alone should determine congressional term limits. However, the way incumbency and money have become main factors, l am slowly thinking it might be time to change that but realize that would take a national referendum. Tough, nobody wants to vote themselves out of power. When the country was young, nobody stayed very long in federal office because they couldn’t make a living at it and they had farms and/or businesses to run. Your thoughts? Time for a new movement push? -- Beverly
Mike S. asked the same question. Like you, I felt that our votes alone should determine congressional limits. I still do -- but, as I told Mike, I'm keeping an open mind on this -- for the reasons you and Mike put forth.
The Democrat Party better renamed the New Democratic Socialist Party has over the last 12 years been on full speed ahead to devolve the Party from its classical roots, Classical Liberalism, into a Radicalized, "fundamentally transform America," Socialism is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and the opposition MUST be destroyed because we are good and they are Evil. If by a miracle of miracles, the New Democratic Socialist Party wins the Presidency, can the country ever recover? -- Geoff M.
We recovered from two World Wars, the Great Depression and 9/11. We'll recover from Bernie Sanders, Kamal Harris or Elizabeth Warren. But before we do, they'll screw things up royally. The economy likely will tank. The people they say they want to help will be hurt the most. This isn't your father's Democratic Party. It isn't JFK's Democratic Party -- or Bill Clinton's ... or even Barack Obama's. The hard left is calling the shots FOR NOW. Let's see if they're the real base or if even Democratic voters will reject them -- and pick a so-called moderate to run against the president. The current crop of progressives, I believe, are out of touch with most of America -- and maybe even most of the Democratic Party.
Bernie, so Senator Cory Booker decides to play Knight on a White horse and escorts five previously deported women back into the U.S. and nothing is done about it?! Why did Border Patrol allow the formerly deported women back into the country and why wasn't Booker arrested? Some law had to be broken. For all the tough talk out of Trump at times why would he not have Booker made to account for this? Enough already. Be it the cowardly Antifa beating up on defenseless people with impunity, or a person spitting on a Trump family member, or a Jussie Smollet perpetrating a hate crime hoax, ticks me off that they are not prosecuted. I know many felt it was noble of Eric Trump not to press charges but that doesn't help the situation. Just enables someone else who may think of doing likewise. Grrrrrrrrrr -- John M.
I'm guessing he escorted them back and then turned them over to the authorities -- to reconsider their initial decision. I think it would have been different, John, if he rounded up deported immigrants and snuck them back into the country.
I'm with you regarding the person who spit on Eric Trump and the Smollett fiasco. Eric Trump chose not to press charges, so there's not much the authorities can do. He should have made a case of it. He'll get no points for being generous to his attacker. As for Smollett: He played with fire, given the sensitivities that surround race in this country. And he got away with it. Not good!
Observing from a distance from flyover country, I thought the left wing attack on Amazon's plan to locate in New York would have ended AOC’s starlet image. Even though she was criticized on both sides of the aisle, are you surprised at the laid back attitude by New Yorkers at losing Amazon? I was expecting recall elections, massive condemnation by labor, protest marches, etc. Or have New Yorkers just surrendered to the left? -- Tim H.
I'm not at all sure the people who voted for her are all that laid back about losing Amazon. She may even have a tough time winning reelection. As for her "starlet image": The media love her -- left and right -- because she's a shiny object that says outrageous things and that's good for ratings. But I don't think the media's fascination with AOC is necessarily matched by that of her constituents and certainly not by that of the wider general public.
I think its safe to say that today's Breitbart.com is pretty far removed from the original vision and intent of its founder, the late Andrew Breitbart. Friends of his (like Ben Shapiro) say he never would have let his site and legacy be turned into a sycophantic love-fest for a politician. What are your thoughts on Breitbart, the man? Did you two ever meet? -- Anthony
I was on a panel years ago with Andrew Breitbart. I remember being the only one who not only criticized liberal bias in the media, but also conservative bias. The audience literally hissed and booed. When later I said something conservatives liked, Andrew yelled something like, "That's the Bernie we know and love." I didn't appreciate his support. I knew what he and the others wanted. An ideologue. There are plenty in conservative media. I'm just not one of them. I don't know if Ben Shapiro is right, that Andrew would never let the site that bears his name turn into "a sycophantic love-fest for a politician." But I do know that there are plenty of sycophants out there, especially in prime time on cable TV.
Bernie: Last week I suggested that nut job Megan Rapino be tossed off the women’s soccer team because of her disgraceful behavior on the field. You responded: “But … I don’t think she should be tossed off the team or banned for life (or a day). Banning speech is too dangerous for that.” I hate to say it, but that’s one of the most uninformed answers you have recently given. If you want to stand on a street corner or any other public place you have the right to say and do just about anything as long as you don’t break the law. If you work for the government you do get some 1st amendment protection, but if you work for a non-government entity or business, the first amendment doesn’t apply. That is true for all sports organizations. You are not free to say whatever silly idea pops into your head in a private workspace. As you likely know, the women’s soccer players sued the US Soccer Federation for pay discrimination and they had every right to do so. Because the US Soccer Federation is a non-profit, non-government organization, they can enforce whatever rules they feel are appropriate for the sport. They could easily say: “If you don’t respect the flag and our country, you will not play.” It would be perfectly legal to do so, and it clearly would not be suppressing free speech because that right doesn’t exist in that setting. If I called up my boss tomorrow and called him an idiot and a jerk, how long do you think it would take for me to be thrown out the door with a boot mark on my butt? If a Cardinal told the Pope “I don’t believe in Jesus” he wouldn’t even get a chance to pack his bags before being tossed out! I suggest next time this issue is discussed, you do a bit of research into how the 1st amendment actually works. -- William W.
William, when did I say they had a First Amendment right to speak? I didn't. What I said was that I'm not a fan of banning speech -- because of where it might lead. What if a soccer player said something you agree with, but liberals didn't? What if what the player said so infuriated these liberals that they pressured the soccer higher ups to ban the player for life? How would you feel about that? We're a big, free country. We can handle speech we don't like. If you called your boss a jerk you very well might get fired. And the soccer higher ups could fire a player. I'm simply saying it's a bad idea to do so.
Calling your boss, in an office, a jerk, is not a perfect analogy to the soccer situation. If you got away with blatant, public disrespect for your boss, it could lead to anarchy. We didn't see anarchy or anything like it after Rapino made her comments. I'm still baffled as to why you think I said the First Amendment applies to this matter. You jumped to that conclusion, perhaps, because you're wrapped up in this subject. Possible?
Do you think this latest Epstein arrest will bring down (destroy) any of the heavy hitter politicians mentioned? Will Epstein plea, thus throwing them all under the bus? Can former Secret Service agents be called as witnesses? Or will this too just blow away again? -- Scotty G
Will it bring down or destroy the heavy hitter pols? I doubt it. Unless there's video of them cavorting with 14 year old girls -- or several the then underage girls saying those "heavy hitters" were also involved. But there'd have to be enough corroborating evidence -- if any even exists. Don't know about Secret Service agents called as witnesses. This may blow away ... but I suspect, not for Mr. Epstein. And if others were involved, they're sweating today.
Bernie, I read a fascinating book a few years ago called Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts The American Mind. (Dr. Tim Groseclose). He explains his research that scientifically explains that the U.S. is naturally a far majority conservative nation (I think something like 75%) but since the media is mostly liberal it influences the way we think and moves many citizens towards the left. It explains what I intuitively believed to be true and seems to be aligned with much of your writing on the topic. I was wondering if you have read the book and do you agree with the premise? -- Mike S.
Have not read the book but I'm not sure we're really an overwhelmingly conservative nation. I used to think we were center-right. I'm not so sure anymore. We'll know more after the presidential election. If Americans choose a progressive, that'll tell us a lot about where we are as a country. But -- and this is very important -- it may only tell us that Donald Trump's persona lost the election for him. The media certainly have some influence on our thinking, but with so many Americans expressing so little trust in the mainstream media, I'm just not sure how much they influence us these days.
Hi, Bernie. I've been enjoying your columns for several years, though I have not seen you on TV. I try to avoid the boob tube as much as possible for all of the reasons you have recounted in your writing. I heard an analogy about mainstream vs. the edges when traveling by kayak down a river. To whit: if you stay in the mainstream, the deeper part of the river, you will get from point A to point B safely. But if you get too close to the banks you can get caught in eddies, snags, undercurrents, rocks, etc. Your journey could come to a tragic end. If applied to politics, and to life in general, staying in the middle areas, also known as MODERATION, rather than in the fringes, aka EXTREMISM, you'll be happier and probably better off. As I was picking my blue berries on the 8th of July (my 61st birthday), I was pondering on the gifts and blessings I have in my life. I am not a victim, except of my own mistakes and shortcomings. I have a loving wife, children, and grandchildren. I am blessed. I stay in the moderate areas of life, politics, religion, work, and I am happy. I have to wonder..., why do so many people today WANT to live on the fringes and be victims? Why do they prefer to be unhappy and unthankful when, as a nation, we are so blessed? I may not agree with all that our politicians do and say, but they will have to answer for those things some day. I can only be responsible for me and my attitudes about life and everything in it. I believe in moderation in all things. Extremists, whether religious or political, Left or Right, are the cause of so much unhappiness. Do you see any way to get people on the extremes to become more moderate, more grateful, kinder, and happier? I appreciate your insights, Bernie. Thank you. -- Jake H.
Jake, my friend, you seem to be a very happy and very thoughtful guy. As to why some people want to be victims: I think it's because they derive power by telling everybody how powerless they are. Look around. We practically enshrine supposed victims. Being unhappy makes some people happy. I know. Crazy, right? In politics, the middle decides the winner. Donald Trump seems perfectly happy pandering only to his most passionate supporters ... and Democrats have been taken over by progressives. Whichever party's candidate moves to the middle in the general election -- without looking like a phony -- will win. I'm all for staying true to one's values. There's nothing wrong from straying from the middle. Just, as you say, stay away from the extremes.
Hi Bernie—- I’ll keep it light. Years ago there was talk of remaking “Casablanca” starring Ben Affleck But it never got off the ground (Thank God!) But to speculate, would you have gone to see it? Any ideas for actors to play the roles made famous by Bogart, Bergman, Rains, Lorre, Veidt, and the rest? Oh and how would you compare leadership styles of Marco Polo, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte? —-Just kidding, but yes we’re still friends. Thanks From The Emperor
A remake of Casablanca would be right up there with New Coke and the Edsel. HORRIBLE IDEA!!! Do you touch up a Rembrandt for TODAY'S audience? Do you add a few faces to Mt. Rushmore to bring it up to date? Would I go see it. I hope not. Regarding ideas to play the part of Boggie and the others: Here's my advice: DON'T. As for the leadership styles of Marco Polo and the boys ... I'll save that for some other time.
Hi Bernie. I’d like to hear your opinion on Sandy Berger. It’s acknowledged that he secretly removed classified documents, but no one seems to know why he did that, nor the contents of the documents, nor whatever became of them. I don’t expect you to know the answers to any of these questions, but perhaps you may know why the media members didn’t appear to be very interested or eager to get to the bottom of this bizarre situation. I don’t want to venture into Alex Jones territory, but something stinks here. Your thoughts are always appreciated. Best Regards—The Emperor
I read the first few words of the above question and I knew it was from The Emperor. Who else gives a crap about Sandy Berger, all these years later? You have a fascination with loose ends ... with unanswered questions from some time other than NOW. I was told that the documents had secret information about you, Emperor. I've since seen the documents and the information. Did you really do those things? And why weren't you locked up?
Since you have already written in one of your Q&A’s that you think Casablanca was one of the greatest movies ever made — maybe you even said the greatest — I would like to know why you think so. I ask because I agree with you completely. When I watch the movie now I am just as amazed as when I first watched it in 1979. -- Jim P.
First, it's a great story. And a great love story. And the writing is superb. So is the acting. But it's more than that. It's an example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. The Grand Canyon takes my breath away. Why? It's majestic, sure. But it's more than that. And honestly, Jim ... I don't need to know what the "more" is. It just is. I bet you understand. Thanks for the question.
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