Monday, September 19, 2016

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 9/16/2016

"Shields and Brooks on Trump's 'birther' lie, Clinton's 'deplorables' effect" PBS NewsHour 9/16/2016


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week's news, including Donald Trump's admittance -- after five years of sowing doubt -- that President Obama is a natural-born citizen, plus Hillary Clinton's characterization of some Trump supporters as “deplorables” and the tightening national polls.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Next, to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome back, gentlemen.

MARK SHIELDS:  Thank you, Judy.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  We're together in person.  It's good to see you.

Mark, let's start with the birther lie.  It's the only way to describe it.  Donald Trump talked about this for years.  Today, he did finally say that he believes the President, President Obama, was born in the United States.

But then he turned around and said Hillary Clinton started all this.  Where does this leave this story about the birther controversy?

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  I'm not absolutely sure.

But I think it's important to establish right at the outset that he wasn't only the loudest and the highest-profile and the most persistent and the most well-publicized birther, he, Donald Trump.  He lied.  He lied consistently and persistently.

And, today, without explanation or excuse, he just changed his position and tried to absolutely falsely shift the blame onto Hillary Clinton.  And this was an appeal to — he debased democracy.  He debased the national debate.  He appealed to that which is most ignoble or least noble in all of us.

And I think — I would like to put to rest right now one of the great theories of the Clinton, Bill Clinton, years.  Bill Clinton was accused of being a skirt chaser, a draft dodger, trimming the truth.  And we were told by all sorts of conservative religious leaders, politically conservative religious leaders, then, character, character was the dominant issue.  That's why you had to oppose Bill Clinton and support his impeachment.

We have a man running right now for President right now who's without character.  He's AWOL.  He and character are mutually exclusive.  And the silence, with rare and conspicuous and admirable exceptions, with Mr.  Moore of the Southern Baptists and Mr.  Mohler, is — is just deafening.

We found out that character is not an issue.  The Supreme Court turns out to be the defining issue.


DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  Well, I agree.

What struck me was that, especially reading the comment, the statement from the Trump campaign, which we heard summarized by Trump himself earlier in the broadcast, you know, we're always used to spin.

Usually, there's some tangential relationship to the truth, but a corroding relationship to the truth, frankly, as politics has gone on over the years.

But now we're in a reverse, Orwellian inversion of the truth with this.  And so we have a team of staffers and then the candidate himself who have taken the normal spin and smashed all the rules.

And so we are really in Orwell land.  We are in “1984.”  And it's interesting that an authoritarian personality type comes in at the same time with a complete disrespect for even tangential relationship to the truth, that words are unmoored.

And so I do think this statement sort of shocked me with the purification of a lot of terrible trends that have been happening.  And so what's white is black, and what is up is down, what is down is up.  And that really is something new in politics.

And the fact that there is no penalty for it, apparently — he's doing fantastic in the last two weeks in the polls — is just somehow where we have gotten.

No comments: