Bernie’s Weekly Q&A (1/26)
Tim Scott, Michelle Obama, RIP Sports Illustrated, and more!
Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for paying subscribers. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me.
Let’s get started:
Bernie: With Friday’s announcement that Sports Illustrated lost its brand and subsequently laid off most of its staff, this appears to be the end of an era and the death of an iconic sports publication. As a journalist and reader, what are your memories or experiences with SI? Also, in your opinion, what are the factors that caused its demise? — Steve R.
I was good friends with John Underwood, who just passed on — he was a first-rate journalist at SI. I also worked with another SI great, Frank Deford. In recent years I was not a regular reader of the magazine so can’t weigh in with anything significant. But it appears that SI was part of the woke culture — and to the extent that’s true, the adage going around just might be true: Go Woke, Go Broke.
Bernie and John: I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the 2012 election. That was the most exciting for me since I was 20 in 2012 and it was my first election voting. I have to agree with Romney’s conservative critics and say he was too soft, he let Obama label him as a mean rich guy, and he did not fight Obama hard enough. That was a very winnable election and once in a while still stings me. But my most recent thought was had Romney won that election, whether he would’ve been a one or two term president, I assume Trump would never have run, and the Republican Party wouldn’t be the mess it is today. We could’ve avoided Trump. Two questions I guess: Do you think an elected Romney would have beaten Hillary in 2016, and would that have also stopped a Trump run? —Ed G.
From John: Hi Ed. I mostly agree with your criticisms of Romney in 2012. Early in the election cycle, Obama was fledgling in the polls (largely weighed down by the economic situation), and Romney knocked it out of the park in that first debate. But it did at least feel like Romney pulled his punches in the next two debates, and the disgusting class-warfare campaign waged by Obama (to deflect blame for the unbearably slow economic recovery onto “rich people like Romney”) did some damage. I disagree, however, that the election was “very winnable” for Romney. Even in a slow economy, incumbency brings with it huge political advantages (including not having to deal with a blistering primary). Another advantage for Obama was that he was our first black president -- something a lot of Americans took great pride in. The media too was a factor, but not an insurmountable one.
If Romney had somehow managed to win, however, I think this country would have been in far better shape – probably across the board. I suspect he would have been a two-termer. Trump wouldn’t have run, at least not in 2016. And I don’t think Hillary would have ever become president (just too unlikable).
From Bernie: One of the reasons Mitt Romney lost was that hard-right Republicans sat home on Election Day — Romney not being hard-right enough for them. The number who sat home is in dispute, but it was several million for sure. That may not have been enough to change the outcome of the election, but it definitely made it more difficult for Romney to win. Would a Romney win have convinced Donald Trump not to run at some point? I don’t think so. Once Trump decided he wanted to be president, I don’t think anybody or anything would have changed his mind.
I happened to read Daly’s new piece right before I watched Trump’s New Hampshire victory speech, and Tim Scott really proved Daly’s point. Scott’s been an advocate for kindness and unity, but then I watched him on stage doing the “I love you” gushing over Trump, and laughing it up while Trump and Ramaswamy were taking personal cheap-shots at Haley. Did you find that as unsettling as I did? — Ben G.