MSNBC Guest Sees 'White Flight' to GOP, a Black Roy Moore Could Not Hold Gun

On Friday morning's MSNBC Live, host Stephanie Ruhle was freaking out over Republican Roy Moore getting nominated for Senate in Alabama as she hosted former speechwriter/joke writer David Litt and allegedly right-leaning guest Elise Jordan to discuss the subject. As is typical, Jordan contributed no right-leaning commentary into the discussion as Litt -- a new recurring guest on MSNBC -- was more partisan as he accused Republicans of engaging in "white flight" after Barack Obama became President. 

He also tried to insert another racial angle into the conversation as he theorized that a black man could not have gotten away with holding a gun on stage like Moore did, even though Sheriff David Clarke has held a rifle at right-leaning events -- more than once -- and is a big hit within the conservative movement.

 

 

The liberal news network -- which is known for usually excluding guests who actually contribute a right-leaning argument into any political discussion -- took from Tuesday until Friday afternoon to have a guest who seriously came to Moore's defense as the Republican nominee when Breitbart News senior editor at large Joel Pollak appeared on MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi shortly before 4:00 p.m. ET. He made the kind of right-leaning argument that MSNBC viewers do not expect to hear from any of the regular Republican-leaning guests like Jordan.

Back to Friday morning, Ruhle opened the segment with a soundbite of Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake being critical of some of Moore's views. The MSNBC host then listed some of Moore's more controversial views:

And, as a reminder, here are some things Moore has said in the past. Same-sex marriage relationships should be considered a criminal lifestyle. Stated that his personal belief is that former President Obama was born outside of the United States. And said that Keith Ellison should be prevented from taking office because of his Muslim faith. Don't forget he thinks 9/11 happened because we're perverts.

After bringing aboard her guests, Ruhle turned to Jordan and posed:

Right now, my Republican mother is putting her elephant brooch away in her drawer, dreading eating dinner with me Sunday night because I'm going to read off all of those Roy Moore statements. But it's not just my mom who votes from Republicans -- what is the GOP leadership going to do?

After Jordan complained that Republicans keep nominating candidates that are "crazier and crazier," and worried that the GOP is becoming a "regional party," Ruhle turned to Litt and wondered if Republicans are having a "reaction" to Obama's presidency. Litt went into race as he began:

I think it is the reaction to President Obama's early attempts at bipartisanship. The way that I put it in my book is that when President Obama moved into political common ground, there was this kind of white flight that happened in the Republican party.

After the MSNBC host jumped in to inject, "Say that again?" Litt continued:

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There was a kind of political white flight where the Republicans went further to their base, alienated everybody else, and I think Roy Moore is that political white flight personified.

A bit later, after Ruhle asked how Democrats should respond, her Democratic guest fretted over Moore holding a gun on stage at one of his events:

I don't mind that Roy Moore is a conservative -- Alabama is a conservative state -- the Republicans are going to nominate a conservative there. But waving a gun around on stage is not a conservative value -- saying President Obama was born in Kenya is not a conservative value -- saying Keith Ellison shouldn't serve in Congress because he's Muslim, that's not a conservative value.

Those are deeply dangerous and frankly un-American ideas, and Republicans -- as well as Democrats -- should be able to say, regardless of our politics, we don't agree with that, and we're drawing the line there. 

Later in the segment, Litt brought up race a second time as he revisited Moore hold a gun on stage:

And I also think it's worth noting, I mean, imagine if Roy Moore was an African-American holding anything that looked like a gun and waving it around, what might happen to him. And then you see he's a white guy holding a gun and waving it around, and he becomes a Senate candidate. And so it's not a surprise that people are taking a knee, and President Trump ought to be trying to emphathize with people and saying, "What is going on? Why are people feeling that there is so much inequality in the system? What can we do to fix it?" And, instead, he's exploiting it for political gain, and I think that's terrible.

By contrast, later in the day, as Pollak appeared as a guest with host Velshi, he argued that Moore's religious views should not disqualify him for office, and reminded viewers that Obama's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright had made controversial statements about religion.

He also likened conservative support for Moore to liberal support for Ned Lamont in 2006 to protest against then-Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman's support for the war in Iraq.

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of MSNBC LIve from the 9:00 a.m. hour and the 3:00 p.m. hour from Friday, September 29:

#From the Friday, September 29, MSNBC Live:

9:50 a.m. ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: That, of course, was Republican Senator Jeff Flake denouncing past statements made by his possibly soon-to-be colleague, Roy Moore, who President Trump called "a great guy," who just won the Senate primary in Alabama. And, as a reminder, here are some things Moore has said in the past. Same-sex marriage relationships should be considered a criminal lifestyle. Stated that his personal belief is that former President Obama was born outside of the United States. And said that Keith Ellison should be prevented from taking office because of his Muslim faith. Don't forget he thinks 9/11 happened because we're perverts. 

All Republicans in office now find themselves facing questions on the controversial Republican nominee. And I want to bring in David Litt, former Obama speech writer, and also has a new book out, titled, Thanks Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years. Along with MSNBC political analyst and Time columnist, Elise Jordan. Elise, I'm going to start with you because, right now, my Republican mother is putting her elephant brooch away in her drawer, dreading eating dinner with me Sunday night because I'm going to read off all of those Roy Moore statements. But it's not just my mom who votes from Republicans -- what is the GOP leadership going to do?

ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Your mother actually, though, is a sign of the problem. She's in New Jersey, and she's embarrassed I guess -- I'm guessing -- about the things that are coming out of Roy Moore's mouth in the South. And part of this strategy -- the Republican party is turning into a regional strategy as these candidates that succeed, and they're crazier and crazier, and they say things that candidates outside of the South, outside of the people who also buy into right-wing conspiracies, it doesn't help the party, and it's going to push the Republicans into being just a regional party.

RUHLE: Well, let's talk about what's pushed us here. David, you watched intense bipartisanship during the Obama administration. Now, Obama had this idea that he wanted to bring people together. Is this the reaction to that?

DAVID LITT, BARACK OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: I think it is the reaction to President Obama's early attempts at bipartisanship. The way that I put it in my book is that when President Obama moved into political common ground, there was this kind of white flight that happened in the Republican party.

RUHLE: Say that again?

LITT:: There was a kind of political white flight where the Republicans went further to their base, alienated everybody else, and I think Roy Moore is that political white flight personified.

RUHLE: My gosh. I want to show this. The New York Times has an op-ed from Michelle Goldberg out, and it reads in part this. Quote:

Trump is not a pious man, but by destroying informal restraints on reactionary rhetoric, he's made his party hospitable to the cruelest of theocrats. Moore's success is bound to encourage more candidates like him. The Republican establishment's borders have been breached. Its leaders should have built a wall.

What do you think about that? I mean, in the break, you and I were talking about a possible candidate in Mississippi who some say makes Roy Moore look like, you know, a liberal Democrat.

[Elise Jordan argues that Luther Strange was hurt by his association with scandal-plagued former Governor Robert Bentley who appointed him.]

RUHLE: So is the answer for Democrats, "Don't response with far left -- respond with working your way towards the middle"? Because if Republicans continue to show these extreme right candidates, you've got Republicans in the middle that are virtually homeless.

LITT: Well, I think the issue is less left and right, and more saying, "What do we hold onto as Americans?" And I think it's to Jeff Flake's credit that he was out there saying there are things that cross that line. So, for example, I don't mind that Roy Moore is a conservative -- Alabama is a conservative state -- the Republicans are going to nominate a conservative there.

But waving a gun around on stage is not a conservative value -- saying President Obama was born in Kenya is not a conservative value -- saying Keith Ellison shouldn't serve in Congress because he's Muslim, that's not a conservative value. Those are deeply dangerous and frankly un-American ideas, and Republicans -- as well as Democrats -- should be able to say, regardless of our politics, we don't agree with that, and we're drawing the line there. 

(...)

LITT: And I also think it's worth noting, I mean, imagine if Roy Moore was an African-American holding anything that looked like a gun and waving it around, what might happen to him. And then you see he's a white guy holding a gun and waving it around, and he becomes a Senate candidate. And so it's not a surprise that people are taking a knee, and President Trump ought to be trying to emphathize with people and saying, "What is going on? Why are people feeling that there is so much inequality in the system? What can we do to fix it?" And, instead, he's exploiting it for political gain, and I think that's terrible.

RUHLE: That's a really good point. That's a really good point. it's not Roy Moore -- its not necessarily the President -- it's a reflection on this country, and we need to take a close look at what's happening in this country.

(...)

3:51 p.m. ET

ALI VELSHI: Bannon and Breitbart view Moore's victory against the quote, unquote, "establishment," as they refer to them, as a sign of things to come. And joining me now is senior editor at large of Breitbart, friend of the show, Joel Pollak. I know people have already starting tweeting me: Why do I normalize you? And you do say some -- you know, you put some stuff on Breitbart that legitimately raises eyebrows, so, Joel, I want to talk to you about, let's start with Roy Moore.

What is it about Breitbart and you guys that make you want to support a guy like Roy Moore who has done some crazy stuff, right? I mean, is it the hate of gay marriage or gay couples or homosexuality or the references at Sandy Hook to how it was payback for bad things that humanity has done or that Muslims shouldn't be in Congress? Which part of that do you have to overlook to support Roy Moore?

JOEL POLLAK, BREITBART NEWS: Well, if I could put it in left-wing terms -- if you go back to 2006 when the left wing of the Democratic party was supporting Ned Lamont in that Senate primary against incumbent Joe Lieberman, it was curious to those of us on the right why left-wing progressive activists would support a guy who had a lot of money, who was part of the one percent, why would they support Ned Lamont?

And the reason was, he was steadfast against the war in Iraq whereas Joe Lieberman was supportive of the war in Iraq. And Democrats, at the time, especially on the left wing of the party, felt that their representatives in Washington hadn't done a good enough job of representing their views. And you're seeing a similar phenomenon on the right now with many Trump supporters feeling that Congress has let them down, that they elected a President to carry out certain promises, certain priorities, and those aren't being accomplished.

And they're not being accomplished because of Senate leadership. And Roy Moore went into this race challenging Mitch McConnell. So did Mo Brooks -- another primary contestant who did not make the runoff. But the establishment's choice was Luther Strange. And so, for all of his controversies, whatever his views happen to be, the most important thing to the grassroots conservatives in Alabama and to readers of Breitbart, was that he was challenging Senate leadership, challenging the Republican establishment.

(...)

POLLAK: I think that 99 percent of Roy Moore's views would fit within the broad spectrum of conservative thought. He may have a few eccentric views -- and no candidate you vote for is going to agree with you on everything.

VELSHI: Fair, okay, but I've got a list -- I've got a chart up of some of these views -- homosexual conduct to be illegal, 9/11 was God punishing "perverseness." He talked about Sandy Hook. I don't think conservatives think Sandy Hook is punishment for something. I don't think 9/11 was. I don't think most conservatives would think that.

POLLAK: Well, you know, Barack Obama went to church with Jeremiah Wright, who also thought that 9/11 was divine providence, so it's a --

VELSHI: Right, I think we could all agree that people who say that are kooks.

POLLAK: Right, okay, but we've had people in public life who have subscribed to in one way or another -- indirectly or directly -- to views like that, and, you know, it doesn't mean necessarily they're going to take their views into public life. People have all kinds of views in their private lives that they may express, and there is a prominent view among religious people of all faiths that some things that happen in this world can be explained by God having a reason for it to happen.

Now, I happen to believe that God does have reason -- we can't really know them very well or very easily -- and I certainly wouldn't interpret the front page of the newspaper as having, you know, any kind of insight into God's intentions in the world. But, you know, Roy Moore chose to do that. That's not what he's asked by the people to do in the Senate.He's going to be voting on bills and, most importantly for the people who support him, he's going to be challenging the Republican leadership to get on board with the Trump agenda.


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