Al Hunt On GOP’s Midterm Win: ‘Republicans Have Been Nothing But Negative’

On election night, the PBS program Charlie Rose had an all-liberal panel to whine about the Democratic Party’s electoral losses throughout the country and complain that President Obama didn’t tout his political agenda throughout the campaign season.

During the discussion, Bloomberg View’s Al Hunt argued that "this is the most content free election I`ve ever seen. The Republicans basically ran totally against Barack Obama… the Republicans have been nothing but negative."

The segment began with liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin lamenting how President Obama has lost the bully pulpit that existed under FDR that he needs to sell his agenda:  

I mean FDR once said problems are created by human beings. They can be solved by human beings and yet the electorate doesn`t seem to feel a sense of connective identity to one another to solve these problems. The structural question however is, is the bully pulpit itself a less so strong force than it once was. … Now you`ve got a fragmented audience before the President even finishes giving a speech somebody is criticizing it, breaking news comes in and we don`t have the time to have a common conversation about anything anymore.

Goodwin continued by pushing the liberal line that money is corrupting American democracy before complaining that America has lost its way:

We know money is poison and we`re doing nothing about it. It`s the most expensive mid election in history and that`s a horrible thing and we just announce it. So somewhere we`ve lost our mojo as a citizenry and the leadership is a part of that.

The segment then turned to Al Hunt who falsely claimed that this election was "the most content free election I’ve ever seen" but never thought to mention that the lack of media coverage of this year’s midterm elections was to blame for the supposed lack of "content."

The liberal journalist then insisted that Obama needs to return to the days of FDR:  

If you look at where we are today versus four years ago, I mean the stock market has gone up 50 percent. Unemployment has been cut by 40 percent. We`re doing better than almost any other western economy. I mean we`re not doing great.

There are people who have been left behind but the country has made a lot of progress the last four years economically at least. And I imagine if FDR was there today Doris, I can`t imagine that he wouldn`t be out there telling people we are really back, we are doing things, we are moving, Americas can do. And one doesn`t get that sense with this president.

The discussion concluded with Kearns Goodwin arguing that if Obama were more like liberal icon FDR, "he would be singing -- he would be singing happy days are here again" and touting his so-called successes all across the nation.

See relevant transcript below.

PBS’s Charlie Rose

November 4, 2014

CHARLIE ROSE: That person with the bully pulpit Doris is the President. Regardless of whether the Senate is Republican or Democrat and the House will certainly be Republican, the President is at the White House and he has the bully pulpit. And it is his responsibility, is it not to offer this leadership and to take the lead in trying to set the tone for the final two years of his presidency?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, AUTHOR: I mean there`s no question that the President sets the tone as to whether the electorate remains grumpy in the doldrums as it is now feeling like there`s nothing much that can change. I mean FDR once said problems are created by human beings. They can be solved by human beings and yet the electorate doesn`t seem to feel a sense of connective identity to one another to solve these problems.

The structural question however is, is the bully pulpit itself a less so strong force than it once was. I mean at the time of Lincoln, you wrote a speech, everybody read the speech in the newspapers so you heard all the words over and over again they share them; by Teddy Roosevelt and the mass newspapers were printing every word he did and all his colorful phrases. FDR is on the radio. 80 percent of the audience is listening. A construction worker is saying I`m going home he`s going to be in my living room, I have to be there tonight and by the time of Reagan and JFK three networks are covering the speeches full.

Now you`ve got a fragmented audience before the President even finishes giving a speech somebody is criticizing it, breaking news comes in and we don`t have the time to have a common conversation about anything anymore. So are there a lack of big ideas I think Tom is right about that but there`s a lack in the electorate of paying attention. We know money is poison and we`re doing nothing about it. It`s the most expensive mid election in history and that`s a horrible thing and we just announce it.

So somewhere we`ve lost our mojo as a citizenry and the leadership is a part of that.

ROSE: Albert.

ALBERT HUNT, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Well I agree and I think that it may even be worse than Tom said. I was out of bed, this is the most content free election I`ve ever seen. The Republicans basically ran totally against Barack Obama who last I checked wasn`t on any ballot today. And the Democrats ran and they we`re going to -- for older women they were going to lose their Medicare, for younger women they were going to lose contraception. Neither was going to occur. There was no talk about the war. There was no talk about immigration. There was no talk about infrastructure -- any of the big issues.

I think Doris makes a good point but I still and I think the Republicans have been nothing but negative. I blame Obama a bit. If you look at where we are today versus four years ago, I mean the stock market has gone up 50 percent. Unemployment has been cut by 40 percent. We`re doing better than almost any other western economy. I mean we`re not doing great. There are people who have been left behind but the country has made a lot of progress the last four years economically at least.

And I imagine if FDR was there today Doris, I can`t imagine that he wouldn`t be out there telling people we are really back, we are doing things, we are moving, Americas can do. And one doesn`t get that sense with this president.

ROSE: Well if it’s capable of doing.

GOODWIN: He would be singing -- he would be singing happy days are here again -- absolutely.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer was a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.