Monday, February 22, 2016

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 2/19/2016

"Shields and Brooks on Trump v. Pope and Scalia’s Supreme Court successor" PBS NewsHour 2/19/2016


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including Donald Trump’s war of words with Pope Francis, GOP candidates’ strategies in South Carolina, burgeoning support for Bernie Sanders in Nevada and the controversy over the late Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court successor.

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times Columnist:  Everything sacred in our world is being attacked.

I think it’s an accumulation of things for Trump.  It’s — you start the week attacking George Bush and the Iraq War.  You call everybody a liar.  Then you have the Pope thing.  Then you have the Apple thing.

The question is, will fatigue ever set in?  And some of the polls suggest no.  In some the polls, he’s still doing solidly.  But there are another set of polls.  There’s a stream of polls, including the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, which suggest it’s beginning to hurt him and that he’s beginning to slide.  There is some exhaustion factor.

So I don’t think it’s one thing that’s — but it’s the accumulation of bombast.  And there may be this — we may be getting to the moment — and I thought he was completely unhinged in the debate Saturday night — where that begins to have some telling effect.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Do you see some of the magic maybe dissipating from Donald Trump?

MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated columnist:  Yes, I agree with David, first of all, on the debate.

My only explanation for it is, he was unnerved by the public booing.  And the booing was so sustained.  And this is a man who feeds off the adulation of his own rallies.  There’s no way in the world you planned going into a national debate for Republicans on national television that you were going to suggest — charge, not suggest — charge that the last Republican President of the United States not only knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction, but took the country into war knowing that.

So, it was just — it was really bizarre, beyond.  As far as the pope is concerned, it will come as an enormous surprise to Donald Trump that the Pope has probably no idea who he is.  The question was, what about someone who advocates building walls, rather than building bridges, and closes off any access or really compassion to those who are suffering from forced migration and the dispossessed?

And the Pope said, that’s un-Christian, and I think by just about any definition.  There is an iron rule in American politics about the clergy, whether it’s the Pope or a rabbi, or a minister.  And that is, they should never interfere in politics, unless they — the one exception being when they agree with me and my side.

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