Monday, March 21, 2016

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 3/28/2016

"Shields and Brooks on blocking Trump, Sanders’ chances and Merrick Garland" PBS NewsHour 3/18/2016


SUMMARY:  Judy Woodruff sits down with syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks to discuss the week in politics, including how the mainstream GOP can block a Donald Trump nomination, Bernie Sanders’ chances in the western states and Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland’s contested confirmation.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  And that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

So, gentlemen, with that gentle note to end this week, David, where does the Republican contest stand?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  I’m trembling at the loss of Sam Clovis from the ranks.


DAVID BROOKS:   Trump is looking like the nominee.  I mean, he had this great night.  He — if he continues as he has been going right now — and my paper reported — our Upshot department reported he will get the — what he needs.  So he’s looking like he can get it.

There are two ways he cannot get it.  One, maybe if Kasich drops out, there are some polls that show if Cruz is one on one, he could make some inroads into Trump.  And then something behind the scenes or something — fiddling with the rules.  I, of course, think they should do it.

But one of the features of this year is that Donald Trump has a monopoly on audacity and he’s the only one who takes action.  So, what’s interesting to me about the Republicans right now is, with the exception of Florida Governor Rick Scott and Chris Christie, they’re not flocking to Trump.  They do not like the guy.  They’re terrorized of the guy.  They’re repulsed by the guy.

But they’re not flocking to him, but they’re not doing anything against him either.  They’re just sitting there like a psychologically depleted party.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, where does that leave — so that, Mark, he just marches on to Cleveland and the nomination.

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  He does.

What conservative philosopher and columnist George Will called the most gifted and diversified field of Republican candidates since 1865 is now down essentially to two, to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the quintessential conservative who cannot be nominated and cannot win.  And that’s where the Republicans are.

Donald Trump, let it be said in his behalf, has won this nomination.  I mean, the people who are trying to take it away from him have won nothing.  I mean, John Kasich has won one primary, half as many as Marco Rubio won, I think, contests.

So, I mean, you know, but he’s won, and he’s won everywhere.  I mean, it’s been across the board.  I mean, this is a — it’s been an open assault upon the establishment, and he has captured it.

So, I just think that, you know, Lindsey Graham, a man occasionally known for spreading the ugly truth, said it’s — a choice between Cruz and Trump is the choice between being poisoned and being shot.  And I think that’s where sort of the paralysis that David…


DAVID BROOKS:  And he chose poison.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And then he went on to choose Cruz.

MARK SHIELDS:  He did.  He chose arsenic over — yes.

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