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Bernie’s Q&A: Trump, Clinton, Warren, The Godfather, the Fox News Curse, and more! (8/9) — 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):
Since I don’t quite relate to the Left side’s way of thinking, can you decipher yet if the DNC is positioning its favorite candidate after these second rounds of debates? Is there an early HRC equivalent yet? -- ScottyG
Not sure I follow. Positioning its favorite candidate? But if you mean does the DNC HAVE a favorite candidate, and will the DNC PUSH that candidate, I don't think so. Not yet anyway. I think the DNC wants to see how it all shakes out.
Bernie—Watching the Democratic debates, it’s easy to forget that just a few years ago the Republican Party also promoted a similar motley crew of disorganized wannabes. It reminds me of a Junior High debate team at the school for the deaf and blind! Does any other country in the world select their leaders in such a chaotic manner? -- William W.
It's called Democracy, and democracy is sloppy. But I'm with you on the motley crew part of your question. I've never heard so much bashing of corporations, CEOs, people with money, success ... as I have at the Democratic debates. And one of these clowns may actually become president.
One of my favorite comedy albums of all time was Robert Klein's Mind Over Matter. Even after over 40 years it seems something comes up to remind me of one of Klein's tracks. In this case his Watergate shtick. Did the democrats' Mueller strategy remind you at all of Nixon's plan to have an old 'hard of hearing' senator named John Stennis be the designated person to listen to the tapes? -- Michael E.
I get your point, but I wasn't laughing during the Mueller hearings. I felt sorry for the guy. He served his country well for many years. But he looked weak and tired. Maybe Robert Klein could make something funny out of that. I can't.
I actually think Trump gave a decent and positive response to the dreadful mass shootings recently in El Paso and Dayton, yet the mainstream media and some members of the Democrat Party are blaming Trump for these shootings because of his divisive behavior. Strange how these same people avoid blaming Bernie Sanders or Barack Obama when scum bags shot cops and Republican softball players. And the Dayton shooter was an avowed socialist who supported Elizabeth Warren. But I don’t hear the media (or Republicans) blaming her. Why do you think that is? -- The Emperor
Listen to my Off the Cuff which went up on Wednesday of this week. It's on this very subject. Democrats would blame Donald Trump for an avalanche in Norway. So everyone knew they'd blame him for the mass shootings. But his hands aren't totally clean. He is divisive and his rhetoric is way too hot. As for why progressives both in and out of the medias don't blame fellow progressives: First, they shouldn't. It's not Elizabeth Warren's fault that the troubled young man in Ohio shot all those people. Second, we all know why they'll blame Donald Trump and not one of their own; it's how the "game" is played these days.
My first real introduction of you came from a CSPAN interview many years ago. It was a great interview outside of the fact one caller directly or indirectly called you a Nazi which you handled professionally. I tried to call in after that but didn’t make it through. So sorry for the decades old question. “Mr. Goldberg, what is in the mind of a person who calls someone a Nazi for simply pointing out media bias” -- Tim H.
Editor's Note: Below is the clip Tim is referring to:
Hey Tim. I remember that CSPAN interview very well. In fact, I recently watched it. It's interesting that liberals tell us they're the smart ones, they're the ones with an open mind, and then when you say something they don't want to hear, they call you a Nazi, or imply that you're like the Nazis. Not all liberals, of course. But a lot of the white, college educated ones. Thanks for remembering that interview so accurately.
Hi Bernie—-I read from you and Ben Shapiro and others that if Trump would simply shut his big fat mouth and quit putting juvenile rants on Twitter and simply run on the strong economy and allow the leftist democrats to implode on their own fatuous petards, that Trump could win another term in 2020. That’s sound advice if you ask me. So...Why the hell doesn’t he just shut up and run the country!? Yeah I know he’s thin-skinned, but I find it difficult to believe that nobody on his staff understands this fact! WHY doesn’t somebody...ANYBODY...give him the same advice that you and Ben Shapiro give out? This should be a no-brainer. What gives? -- The Emperor
You nailed it, Emperor. His people may be giving him that advice but Donald Trump is either unwilling or incapable of following it, despite the fact, as you say, it's a no-brainer. I'm pretty sure he's incapable of changing his destructive behavior. Incapable!!!
Do you think former director Comey was uninformed, incompetent or grossly negligent when he decided to unleash the Bureau on then-Presidential candidate Trump? -- Matthew Q.
I'm anxious to find out. We know he leaked information, through a pal at Columbia. We know the IG referred to matter to William Barr, and Barr, probably correctly, didn't press criminal charges. But I suspect there's more to come. And I can't wait to hear what it is. Comey -- and others -- may still be in trouble.
Bernie, the last line in Monday's column surprised me a bit: ".....occasional times he's actually telling the truth." Would one then conclude that in your opinion, most times he's not? -- Fred V.
Doesn’t Trump now have leverage and shouldn’t have any fear of NRA repercussions should he support heavier gun laws like outlawing so-called assault weapons. They’ll have no other choice in 2020 besides Trump. He’s in a win win if he does something serious on AW’s and high capacity magazines. It’s time to get really serious, no? -- Scotty G.
Republicans, in general, are afraid to do almost anything about guns because there are enough gun people out there who won't vote for a candidate even if he wants to ban surface to air missiles. I believe people have a right to own guns as the Second Amendment has been interpreted. But I don't think the Republic would collapse if Congress passed a law, and the president signed it, banning so-called assault weapons.
As the foremost expert on media bias, if it is fair game to limit freedom of speech and assembly, mustn't we also discuss similar limits on the press? Does the press have some kind of fiduciary duty in exercising its freedom (akin to a prosecutor withholding exculpatory evidence, a now hot topic unto itself)? -- Michael F.
The Constitution gives the press rights, but no obligations. The press can be unfair. It can be biased. The courts have defined only a few restrictions on press freedom -- libel being one of them. There are few limits on speech, too -- but as we all know, you can't falsely yell fire in a crowded theater. That's how the Founders wanted it. Despite the abuses, I think they had it right.
So you are not sure if Trump is a racist ? And in some of last weeks Q&A you stated you are tired of the R word. And since most people here seem to be tired of the race card being used. I guess because they don't see anything happening as actually racist. I will ask you Bernie simple questions. What if anything in the last 10-15 years have you seen that actually qualifies as racist ? And if not pushing it. Do you think Trumps Birtherism antics towards Obama was a racist play ? If not what was it ? -- Franklyn
The reason I say I don't know if he's a racist is because I don't know what's in his heart, as that saying goes. But I also added, Franklyn, that he may be. My main point, which I think I made clear, is that he goes after anyone who goes after him. And if that person is black or Hispanic or anything else, he'll go after that person. As I said, he's an equal opportunity offender. I mean there are about a million examples of him bashing white folks who bashed him. As for his Birtherism antics: I think it was one more example of stupid things he's done. He listens to some whack job on TV and repeats what he hears. Was it racist? Honest, I don't know. But as I say, it was stupid.
Two mass shootings, two very different levels of outrage. Several Democratic candidates for POTUS jumped on the 'it's Trumps fault", Bozo and Booker being the most vocal. Local government personnel are saying Trump is not welcome. Orange man bad. Amazingly however we are hearing little about the Dayton massacre. No angst from Bozo or Booker, why is that? Could it be that the fact the shooter in that situation actually was a socialist Democrat who supported Elizabeth Warren? No political upside for them there so you hear nothing, certainly no one blaming Warren. SMH, Again -- John M.
The Left should NOT have blamed Donald Trump and the Right should not blame Elizabeth Warren. But in our deeply polarized America, you'd have to be Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm to believe progressives running for president would show angst over the motivations of the Dayton shooter. That's now how things work these days. But let's be honest, the hard right would be thrilled to blame Senator Warren and not put an ounce of blame on Donald Trump. Right?
Hi Bernie, I have a question as a result of the recent mass shootings. When it comes to social media, how do you suggest we distinguish between hateful, repulsive free speech and an actual threat of violence? That is, what do you think we should consider to be a warning sign that needs to be reported to authorities? -- Thanks! Chris
I think common sense would dictate what the warning signs are. If a kid has a list of people he wants to kill or rape, that's a pretty good warning sign, right? Frankly, I don't think it's all that complicated. Thanks for the question, Chris.
Hi Bernie. How can you encourage people to think there might have been obstruction ??. [Trump] was not charged by 14 biased lawyers !! EXONERATE is not a responsibility of a prosecutor. It is binary :Guilty or Non Guilty . That was a political comment not a legal finding. Venting is not illegal. He did not; 1-fire Mueller or any of his staff 2-interfere with the operation of the special counsel 3-refuse to provide documents 4-claim executive privilege 5- refuse access to his lawyer 6-and the task force witnesses were not cross examined > Why are you not unequivocal about the results ??? By your comments you are I believe encouraging some people to grasp at straws ,and continue to waste time and money -- marc
Editor's note: Marc is referring to last week's Off the Cuff audio commentary.
I think I made most of the points you're referring to, Marc. But there was evidence that he tried to impede the investigation. And even though -- as I said -- there was no underlying crime, and that he might simply have acted out of frustration knowing he didn't collude with the Russians, it may still be obstruction. The law doesn't require an underlying crime to be considered obstruction. I didn't say he was guilty. He may not have had "criminal intent." But he did things that had you done them, you'd probably be charged -- again, underlying crime or no underlying crime. And even if Mueller wasn't interfered with, the ATTEMPT to interfere may also constitute obstruction. One last thing: The Trump hating Left doesn't need me to encourage them to grasp at straws. They can do that all by themselves.
Bernie, I see that we are both Yankee fans, and we are from the same era, which, to me, was the Golden Age of Baseball. I grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and I went to Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, graduating in 1961. The big debate, almost daily, both on the LES and in the Bronx, was who was a better ballplayer: Mantle or Mays. I contend that Mantle had slightly better talent (faster, hit the ball further, switch hitter), but that Mays, because of Mantle’s injuries, combined with Mick’s affinity for the nightlife, had a better career, which the numbers bear out. But when they both were in their primes, I have Mantle as 1A as the best player I have ever seen, and Mays is 1B. Nobody else (Aaron, Clemente, Griffey Jr., Trout, etc.…) is really in their exalted class (I never saw Joe DiMaggio, but even some NY Giants fans told me, in his prime, Joe D was better than both). What are your thoughts on this? Who was the best baseball player you have ever seen? -- Joe B.
This one is way to difficult to answer. Mantle and Mays were both greats. The consensus might favor Mays, but I'm just happy I got to see Mickey Mantle in his prime when I was a kid. The others you mention -- Aaron, Clemente, DiMaggio et al -- are obviously great too. Instead of picking one, let's agree that they were all among the greatest of all time. That's not a cop out, by the way. It's just to hard to pick one great over another.
Bernie—I've read some of your views on the immigration crisis, and I share your perspective that it's complicated. I live north of Boston and have seen two sides of mass immigration. I am a 72-year-old white physician working in acute care, and folks like me are as rare as hens' teeth. Most of my colleagues are much younger, and about 90% of them were born in another country. Most are excellent physicians, and it would be tough to run our healthcare system without them. When I bring my five year old daughter (that's another story) to the local park, 90% of the people there don't speak English. Most are from countries south of Mexico. I feel sorry for their situation, but can we really take in all the people in the world who are poor or fear for their safety? Do you see a rational solution anywhere on the horizon? -- William W.
I feel for the poor around the world, too ... but no, we can't take them all in. That's not an argument against legal immigration. It's just an obvious fact. Non partisan folks who think about these things could come up with a rational solution, as difficult as that may be. But it would require political compromise. And that's not going to happen anytime soon -- and almost certainly not with an election coming up next year.
King Bernard... What was the better film and your favorite: -The Godfather -The Godfather II Thanks, I’m headed to the fishing hole... -- Greggo
I think both Godfather and Godfather II were masterpieces, a word I don't often use. Which was better? Who cares. Together they were incomparable works of art. I hope you caught something you can eat in the lake.
Hey Bernie, who is the one person that you have interviewed, and talked with later that, to you, was the most impressive person you ever talked to, in terms of intelligence, humor, wit, and genuine honesty, that when you walked away you thought, I can definitely be friends with this person. No your wife doesn’t count on this question (smile) -- Always a pleasure “Right Wing Ralphy”
I'd put Alan Dershowitz up there. And Bill Bennett (though I'm disappointed in how he has preached civility and now embraces Donald Trump). Bob Costas is a good friend and so is Al Michaels, both smart and funny and interesting. And Don Imus, who I interviewed for a documentary while I was at CBS News. There are probably a few more, but as a rule I don't make friends with people I interview. Being friends makes it difficult to be a good journalist.
What do you think about the NYT actually changing a headline when pressed by the radicals on the left. God forbid a headline should be at all positive when referring to Trump, and the left wonders why Trump calls the media the enemies of the people. A new low for the NYT -- John M.
The New York Times has made it clear that they detest Donald Trump -- and not just on their opinion pages. It's worse than even I thought.
There's a conventional wisdom that if someone becomes a big-time on-air personality on Fox News, they in effect become unhireable by other news organizations/networks. The logic being that the Fox stigma would keep them from being accepted by mainstream-media peers and more importantly mainstream-media audiences. What happened to Megyn Kelly and even Greta Van Susteren seems to support that. What do you think? And if FNC hosts believe they're unhirable elsewhere, could that help explain why several of them are willing to say ANYTHING to keep their current audiences happy (basically fighting for their jobs every night)? -- Jen R.
Hey Jen. I don't completely agree with the premise. Megyn Kelly was a hot property at NBC despite her fame at Fox. They paid her a lot of money to come over. She's not on TV now, but that may be because of a non-compete clause in her settlement with NBC. And I don't believe her ratings failure had anything to do with her previous life on Fox. Many others, who were never on Fox, also failed on morning TV. Greta Van Susteren was also hired after she left Fox. MSNBC. No idea what she's doing now -- or why she didn't last at MSNBC. Major Garrett was a White House correspondent at Fox and CBS News hired him for the same job. As to why Fox anchors might say ANYTHING: It is to keep their hyper partisan audience happy -- and in the process keep the ratings up ... and (connecting the dots) keep their jobs.
My question is simple and to the point. If everything is racist, is anything really racism? -- Clarence V.
The Left certainly has taken a once powerful word and turned it into mush.
When, in your opinion, was the turning point for "media" to start reporting the narrative, rather than the actual news? I personally think Dan Rather is to blame partially. -- Tim R.
Whatever blame Dan Rather deserves, he's small potatoes compared to what goes on in the cable news world. Bias used to be relatively nuanced, subtle. No more. For the record, I like Fox hard news journalists. But by and large, cable isn't in the news business. It's in the business business.
Civility seems to have disappeared from every day life. I blame some of it on the electronic generation. Seems a large part of the population don't know how to interact face to face, only by typing on their gadgets. I recently had dinner at Outback and there was a family of 5 at a table, mom, dad 2 teens, and a preteen. All 5 were on some type of gadget the entire time waiting for their order, no conversation among them. Second point. Why do we no longer have any Dirksens, L.B.J. Tip Oneil, or Ted Kennedys in D.C. These people knew how to compromise and get things done. Now it's all my way or no way. Your thoughts. Thanks -- Warren K.
It's too big a question for this space. But things didn't turn overnight. It was a slow downward slide. But I'd say that Ted Kennedy's slander of Judge Bork was a turning point of sorts. Liberals may excuse his horrific behavior. The rest of us won't.
What is your opinion of Trump's comments following the recent mass shootings and the subsequent media response, including that controversial New York Times headline? Like you, I'm no fan of Trump, but I detest his enemies even more. Is it just me, or do all Democratic presidential candidates seem to not like America very much? And is this because they have to convince us what an inherently evil, racist place this is in order to "fundamentally change" it with socialism? -- Steve R.
I think they don't like the America we currently live in very much. They want an idealized America, one without a hint of bigotry, pollution, or anything like it. So do I, but I live in the real world. America is a great place even with its faults. I also find it interesting that Democrats running for president condemn the president for his heated, needlessly provocative rhetoric -- so far so good -- and then say he's personally responsible for the murders in El Paso. They don't have an ounce of introspection. They are what they despise.
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.