Cokie Roberts, Establishment Cog

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As is my custom, I watched Morning Joe this Wednesday. I am hooked on political junkiness, at least for a season. I stayed up to watch MSNBC’s coverage until the end, 2 a.m. Thought Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow performed well. I don’t like the extreme views Maddow purveys on her show, but as an anchor/moderator she stands out.

Among Morning Joe’s several guests sat Cokie Roberts. She is an example of what is wrong with America. I understand her desire for civility, but she charged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with being a bully who utters harsh comments against the disabled and others, this in the wake of his triumph in the Nevada caucuses.

There are two problems with Roberts. First, she lashes Trump for what she perceives as his failings in style while giving a pass to the much more substantial failings of Hillary Clinton, who exposed our country to several national security breeches. Whether Clinton gets charged or not, she did several things which were ILLEGAL; Trump has said some things that were NOT NICE. Which person/candidate is worse?

Roberts’ misplaced emphasis signals her own political stance and her favor for form over substance. It also, secondly, signals her hypocrisy and her giving more weight to the less weighty. Why doesn’t she rant about Hillary Clinton’s bullying of the women her husband victimized? The threats, the disrespect, the failure to acknowledge the victimization of their womanhood?

And why doesn’t Roberts speak out about what the privileged establishment has been and is doing: ganging up on Trump like a pack of wild hyenas while trampling, not only on voters’ worries and issues, but on their disappointment?

It’s funny. Politics is a bloodsport (and reporters salivate at every cut!), and the pundits I have heard say the Republican primary in South Carolina, for instance, was not nearly as bloody as it has been in the past. By bloody, we mean candidates picking on each other and slashing each other to shreds in the name of the holy grail of American politics: the presidency. Roberts is willing to look away from the campaign trail strewn with the all-too-common lies, deceptions, half-truths, tricks, negativity, bombast, character assassination, and slaughtered promises but she sees with acute moral awareness Trump’s desire to temporarily ban Muslims or description of the way a crippled reporter reacted as offensive and unpresidential.

Barack Obama gives the Queen of England a bunch of videos as a gift and returns a gift from England to us, but that’s okay. The president deliberately, with malice aforethought, characterizes the San Bernardino slaughter as “gun violence” instead of calling it Muslim terrorism. He and his former secretary of state tell the parents and relatives of the Benghazi terrorist victims that a video prompted the murderous rampage by Muslims, but that wasn’t true. Then Clinton says, when told of all the relatives’ memories, that she never said what they say she said and that she is not the one not telling the truth, but we hear no sound of indignation from Ms. Roberts!

I think Joe Scarborough had some fun with it. He asked, and tried to assert that he was being serious, why no criticisms stick to Trump but that Hillary doesn’t get a pass on her emails and Benghazi incompetence. The answer is because what she did was illegal, even if her buddies in the White House or Justice Department won’t prosecute her. What Trump did may have been vulgar, but at least he is speaking without affectation or disingenuity. Clinton could not even say in a national television interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley that she had never lied to the American people. He pressed her. The best she could come up with was that “I don’t believe I ever have.”

Where is Cokie Roberts’ indignation?

See, Trump is raw and unedited. There is a truth about him even when he is lying. People know he doesn’t tell the truth all the time (Chris Matthews provided an excellent analysis of Trump’s rhetoric last night). And he knows they know. But Clinton wants to pretend that she doesn’t lie, and Roberts is willing to go along with the pretense because Roberts is part of the snobby establishment, too.She has to understand everything that is done and said within the establishment framework, a framework that no longer suits a growing number of American citizens. It is not the way they see the world any more, if ever they did. And Roberts does NOT understand that.

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