On August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, aka "welfare reform," into law. Writeups today at USA Today and in the Washington Post would make readers believe that credit for this accomplishment belongs entirely to Bill Clinton, and that it was his advocacy that brought it all about. The truth is that "ending welfare as we know it" was a 1992 Clinton presidential campaign promise which languished in inactivity until 1996. The promise would have remained a long-forgotten slogan if it hadn't been for the persistence of the Republican-dominated Congress and the looming 1996 presidential election. That combination forced Clinton's hand — against his will.
MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews was in rare from on Thursday night as he both factually tried to link the 1964 and 2016 presidential elections and appeared astonished that there could be an “intervention” (as has been reported for Donald Trump) for something other than “a dope problem or a booze problem.
On Monday, the Morning Joe crew covered issues from Trump’s VP pick to the devastating murder of three police officers over the weekend. On the one hand, host Joe Scarborough praised Barack Obama for his “pitch perfect” tone in speeches following police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. On the other hand, guest Newt Gingrich minced no words in his attack on collapsing race relations due to failed policies of the Obama Administration. The contrast was stark, as each portrayed the president in a very different light.
The New York Times is notorious for downplaying or ignoring links to radical Islam in the wake of terror attacks, and its response to the truck massacre in Nice, France mostly followed that pattern, with a news columnist shrugging off the idea the war on terror could ever be won and a front-page headline confidently stating the perpetrator was “A Surly Misfit With No Terror Links....” the morning that ISIS claimed responsibility. Max Fisher brought a defeatist attitude toward the war on terror from his Saturday perch as the paper’s “Interpreter” news columnist, while blaming “right-wing” governments in Europe for Muslim discontent:
The right’s widely varied response to Donald Trump’s presidential bid may be the political story of the year so far, but many liberals have ignored it in favor of arguing that Trump’s worldview is a pure product of conservatism. For example, in a Sunday article, Chauncey DeVega claimed that Trump is “the logical result of at least five decades of Republican political strategy” and defined Trumpmania as “a mass political temper tantrum on the Right caused by a potent mix of authoritarianism and racism.”
“Much of the rhetoric, policies, and goals of the Republican Party and Donald Trump in 2016 are disturbingly similar to those of…the Ku Klux Klan,” declared DeVega. “This should be no surprise. The Republican Party is the United States’ largest de facto white identity organization. Conservatism and racism is now one and the same thing in the American post civil rights era.”
The press is protecting Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton from the true extent of the blowback over her expressed desire to see coal miners lose their jobs and her bogus attempt to "apologize" for what she said.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, appearing on Fox & Friends Thursday morning, identified a larger truth about Mrs. Clinton's callous disregard for workers and their families — people about whose well-being her party claims to be concerned:
On Wednesday's Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield on CNN, after host Banfield suggested that it might be a disadvantage for presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump to choose Newt Gingrich as his running mate because "He's not a woman, and he's not black or a minority," far-left CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill jumped in to crack that "He's perfect! He's perfect for Republicans," inspiring laughter from a nearly all-liberal panel.
Left-leaning CNN host Banfield was joined by a conservative-free panel consisting of one liberal, one far-left liberal and one socially liberal moderate Republican for a discussion of the aftermath of Tuesday's Indiana primaries.
Several decades ago, there were plenty of right-of-center Democrats and left-of-center Republicans. These days, however, almost everyone agrees that the Democrats have become a distinctly liberal party and the GOP a distinctly conservative party. One who disagrees in part is writer Conor Lynch, who in a Saturday article claimed that Republicans have transitioned out of true conservatism and now are “extreme nihilists” who have “embraced Bolshevism of the right.”
Lynch noted that pundits such as George Will and David Brooks “have widely condemned Donald Trump as a fake conservative, and they’re not wrong. Trump is clearly not conservative—but neither is the Republican Party...[which] has become an increasingly friendly place for…the kind of characters who used to make up the John Birch Society…For the sake of John Boehner’s mental well being, he is lucky he got out when he did.”
Plenty of conservatives would concur with Daily Kos writer Mark Sumner that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is a fascist. They certainly would not agree with Sumner’s belief that the GOP as a whole has become increasingly aligned with fascism “since at least 1994.”
Sumner contended in a Sunday article that beginning in “the time of the Gingrich,” Republicans “realized they could simultaneously weaken the government, complain about the failure of programs they had just sabotaged, and create a perpetual-motion machine of government destruction…Republicans [would] take on anything, no matter how insane, so long as it kept dragging the conversation ever rightward.”
Once upon a time, Martin Longman didn’t think Republicans were so bad, but that was before the Tea Party, before the Iraq war, before Fox News became a major force. The Washington Monthly blogger detailed his decades of disillusionment in a Tuesday post.
According to Longman, events which eroded his belief that Republicans were “decent people” included the “excesses of the Gingrich Revolution”; the “giant looting exercise” that GOPers allegedly executed during George W. Bush’s administration; and John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin. He also argued that “Donald Trump actually is an ideological match for the modern conservative movement” given that movement conservatives are motivated less by philosophical principle than by “1) fear 2) hatred 3) greed and 4) a need to be led…Trump encapsulates those almost perfectly.”
In the race for next year’s Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have made media bias an issue, as did Newt Gingrich during the 2012 contest. Irony alert: Martin Longman believes that it was one of the media’s favorite GOPers, John McCain, who planted the seeds for such press-bashing when he chose his running mate.
Longman contended in a Wednesday post that “something broke on the right when they were forced to spend September and October of 2008 pretending that it would be okay if Sarah Palin were elected vice-president. The only way to maintain that stance was to jettison all the normal standards we have for holding such a high office. But it also entailed simply insisting that the truth doesn’t matter…Seven years down the road, it’s gotten to the point that Republicans have realized that they can say anything they want and just blame media bias if anyone calls them on their lies.”
On Sunday’s This Week, Cokie Roberts gushed over Univision’s Jorge Ramos as an “absolute icon in the Hispanic community.” After ABC’s Martha Raddatz interviewed Ramos about his confrontation with Donald Trump, Roberts swooned over the liberal journalist as someone who is a “very, very big deal, and you know, he's also sort of someone they swoon over.” Panelist Newt Gingrich rejected identifying Ramos as an actual journalist and labeled him Trump’s “opponent” who “[e]very night on Univision, he opposes the Republican Party. Every night.”