The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg: Love Doesn't Appeal to GOP Base

Michelle Goldberg of The Nation took a cheap shot at Republican voters during an appearance on Monday’s All In With Chris Hayes on MSNBC. Fill-in host Ari Melber brought up Jeb Bush’s recent remark that illegal immigration is an act of love, calling it “an appealing message.” Goldberg cut across him, demanding, “Appealing to who?”

Melber replied, “Well, appealing to people who like love, obviously.” To which Goldberg shot back, “Right, not the Republican base.” At that point, Melber cut to a commercial break, leaving the Republicans watching (if any) to shout at their televisions, “But I like love, too!”

After the commercial break, Melber turned back to Goldberg. Showing a misunderstanding of her anti-GOP attack, he said, “[Y]ou were saying before the break that love doesn't work for you, and I don't know if that's because you’re anti-love or what, but explain.” Goldberg quickly clarified, “No, love works for me. I don't think love works for the Republican base.

The gripe that Republicans and conservatives are heartless is nothing we haven’t heard before from left-wing commentators. It's also typical of the commentary on MSNBC.

If Goldberg were fair-minded, she might consider the possibility that some conservatives oppose illegal immigration because of concerns about overpopulation, or a loss of jobs for native-born workers, or a simple belief that no one should be able to break the law and get away with it.

Who are MSNBC analysts to talk about love, anyway? After all, this is the network where a host suggested someone should defecate down Sarah Palin's mouth.

Below is a transcript of Monday's segment:

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO: You know, when we're talking about Rand Paul in terms of running for the 2016, we also need to throw Jeb Bush in there. He's been in the news this weekend for some comments that he made about illegal immigration. And over the past couple years, the Republican party has been the party of anti-immigration and very ugly rhetoric. But I think that we're starting to see a little bit of a change in tenor there. Is the base of the party going to grasp it? Maybe not in the short term, but I think eventually –  we're seeing pushes both on the foreign policy side and also on the immigration front, which is both domestic and international.

ARI MELBER: Yeah, and I mean Jeb Bush's new comments were very interesting. They had definitely a poetic patina because he said immigration reform is all about love, which is appealing. It’s an appealing message. Why don’t we –  

MICHELLE GOLDBERG: Appealing to who?

MELBER: Well, appealing to people who like love, obviously. Why don’t we –  

GOLDBERG: Right, not the Republican base.

MELBER: Why don't you guys stick around and we'll talk about that straight ahead.

[commercial break]

JEB BUSH [on tape]: There should be penalties for breaking the law, but the way I look at this, and this is not, you know, I'm going to say this and it will be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn't come legally, they come to our country because their families, you know, a dad who loved their children was worried that their children didn't have food on the table, and they, you know, wanted to make sure their family was intact and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law. But it's not a felony. It's kind of -- it's a -- it's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family.

MELBER: Former governor of Florida there, Jeb Bush. That was yesterday and he dipped his toe into the 2016 waters while talking to Fox News. We are back here with Michelle Goldberg, Victoria DeFrancesca Soto and Robert Costa. We were talking about this, Michelle – there you have that language, the act of love. He also had just a moment of that strategic Bush stammer that we more associate with W., you know it’s –  but it sort of like, almost makes you pay more attention. But putting the body language analysis to the side, you were saying before the break that love doesn't work for you and I don't know if that's because you’re anti-love or what, but explain.

GOLDBERG: No, love works for me. I don't think love works for the Republican base. I mean, you know, I think what he just said really, really appeals to me, but I'm not the kind of person you have to appeal to if you want to win a Republican primary. If you look at the backlash against Rick Perry when he talked about sympathy for the Dreamers, who are even harder to demonize than undocumented immigrants as a whole because these are kids who were brought here as –  before they had any agency, as opposed to people who crossed the border on their own. If even expressing the necessity of sympathy for the Dreamers got Rick Perry, who had all these other kind of conservative bona fides, if that got him in trouble, this is going to make him, I think, unelectable in any Republican primary.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.