"Wrecked" Reporters, a "President's Wallet", and Forever Trump
A potpourri of political thoughts.
The other day, I kept seeing people on Twitter weighing in on a CNN video clip of one of the network’s reporters interviewing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about his handling of the terrible damage caused to his state by Hurricane Ian.
As you can see below, NewsBusters’ Kevin Tober framed the clip as DeSantis having “wrecked” the reporter, with the word “reporter” in quotes (suggesting she had handled herself in a glaringly improper way).
I just kind of assumed there was something to the framing, especially with all the pile-on replies trashing the young lady. After all, DeSantis is a favorite target of the mainstream media, and it wouldn’t be entirely out of character for a CNN journalist to level unprofessional accusations at him or other high-profile Republicans (see Jim Acosta), nor for DeSantis to fire back.
But then, I actually watched it…
What I see in that video is a reporter asking reasonable, probing questions, and DeSantis providing strong, knowledgeable answers (which she nodded along to). I couldn’t figure out what she did wrong, nor could I identify when she got “wrecked” by the governor.
Since the clip had been cropped by NewsBusters, I went to their website and found a longer explanation that frankly didn’t clear much up for me. Curtis Houck, the piece’s writer, took exception to the reporter’s tone and line of questioning (basically describing it as too accusatory). Houck was certainly enthusiastic about how well DeSantis handled himself (I agree he did well), but again… What exactly was the reporter’s big sin, and how exactly did she take a whoopin’ by the governor?
I certainly recognize the well-documented contentiousness between the mainstream media and Republicans (I’ve done a lot of documenting myself over the years), but does every firm exchange between a Republican leader and an MSM journalist now have to amount to some political confrontation?
Journalists are supposed to have somewhat of an adversarial relationship with the public officials they’re covering. They’re supposed to serve as a check on power, and ask uncomfortable questions. This particular reporter’s questions didn’t come across terribly adversarial or even terribly uncomfortable, and DeSantis showed her no disrespect.
This episode almost feels like a type of Rorschach test, where — depending on your political demeanor and loyalties — you see completely different things.
Who’s Flipping the Dime?
Speaking of Ron DeSantis, another tweet about the governor turned some heads on Monday. This one came from Politico:
That first sentence was to fiscal conservatives (all twelve of us left) what Toby Flenderson was to Michael Scott: an object of intense irritation.
The president’s wallet?
The phrasing was also in the column itself, written by Matt Dixon.
Okay, in the grand scheme of things, I suppose it was more of a minor annoyance than an intense irritation, but such wording really does seem reflective of how a lot of people view government spending, in this instance at the federal level — this notion that it’s our elected leaders’ money that’s being divvied out.
And a lot of those leaders leave the impression that they agree with that notion, rarely missing an opportunity to publicly congratulate themselves and their colleagues for passing enormous spending bills or taking costly executive actions.
Of course, the people really flipping the dime are U.S. taxpayers — the ones actually creating wealth that our government appropriates and our elected leaders direct elsewhere. Yet, the creators are weirdly never thanked for it. Why not?
Several years ago, I wrote a piece proposing a "Thank You" campaign targeting U.S. taxpayers. Coincidentally, it was in response to something Joe Biden (then Vice President) had just said. He was basically doing another victory lap over the Obama administration’s bailout of automobile manufacturers, and it suddenly struck me just how wrong it was that no gratitude had been extended to those who actually made the bailout possible… not even from the auto CEOs whose companies’ debt had effectively been erased as a result.
I suggested that if a political candidate ran on a “Thank You” campaign, where he or she convinced taxpayers that they were valued and respected for their hard work and monetary contributions, that candidate would be handsomely rewarded come election time.
But I wrote that piece back in 2014, when there was still a significant public movement behind reining in government spending. Unfortunately, that movement decidedly ended a couple years later, which I think has only emboldened today’s “president’s wallet” mindset, along with each new Congress and president trying their hardest to outspend their predecessors.
It’s a shame, and our country is going to pay dearly for it.
The Orange Elephant in the Room
A popular complaint among some of this website’s members and visitors is that the commentators here spend too much time on Donald Trump. And by “spending too much time on,” what they really mean is criticizing. After all, if Bernie and I spent the same number of minutes instead lavishing praise on the former president, I’m betting none of them would mind a bit.
Regardless, the rationale some of these folks put forth is that Trump lost and is no longer president, so we shouldn’t “waste” our time on him with all the bad things currently going on in the country and the world. Others still cling to the false belief that Trump actually won in 2020, but land in roughly the same spot: stuff is bad under Biden and the Democrats, so stick to that!
It’s worth noting that all it takes is a quick glance at the headlines on this site to recognize that we, in fact, write about a number of other topics. But as far as the aforementioned individuals are concerned, it (at minimum) borders on obsession or derangement to still be getting worked up (even a little) about the former president and his antics.
Then, there are some like a member named Jerome, who wrote the other day in response to a column: “I am SO tired of hearing about Donald Trump. I look forward to the day when he fades into the ash heap of history!”
I don’t know if Jerome falls into either of the two categories I described above (he certainly may), but the view he expressed is by far the one I’m most sympathetic to. That’s because I share it.
I wish Donald Trump was no longer politically relevant, and had followed, for the good of the country, the same post-presidency path as George W. Bush: honorably leaving the White House, assisting with the peaceful transfer of power, removing himself from political battles, and mostly vanishing from the public eye.
If that had happened, our commentary would reflect it. But unfortunately, that’s not the reality. Despite the Big Lie, Trump’s efforts to overturn U.S. democracy, and his provocation of a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the Republican party (other than a small minority) has remained beholden to him. They’ve refused to hold him accountable for his post-election atrocities (purging nearly every Republican official who’s tried to), they’ve humiliatingly retained him as their party’s leader, and poll after poll of Republican voters show that he’s the clear party front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination (it’s not even close).
And it’s all gone down while he continues to put Republican leaders in the terrible political position of having to answer for his outrageous conduct, including treating top-secret government documents as his own personal property, and publicly posting stuff like this:
On a side note, clearly dangerous and racist rhetoric aside, are we honestly supposed to buy that Trump’s a fiscal hawk? (I can think of 7.8 trillion arguments showing otherwise).
But yeah, we write about the guy because the GOP (not this site’s writers) has not only kept him politically relevant, but politically dominant. If you don’t like it, blame the party.