A Lesson In Tolerance

A weird conversation took place on Morning Joe this morning about Rick Santorum’s extreme position on contraception—Santorum is famously against it essentially because he believes sex should be about the begetting not the buzz.

Conservative Joe Scarborough actually played the role of sensible commentator, suggesting that Santorum’s position was way outside the mainstream, and sidekick Mika Brzezinski decided to wander off to the right of Scarborough and defended the extremism of the GOP’s current frontrunner.

After playing a couple of clips of Santorum expressing his fifth-century opinions on the matter—the most recent clip coming from last year—Brzezinski, a Catholic like Santorum, was asked about his views. She replied:

I just don’t think there is anything wrong with believing that. I really don’t.  I don’t think that means he’s gonna ban birth control across the board. Those are his personal beliefs. And I think as a father and a man who has held public office, he’s lived up to them, it appears, which makes it interesting for the conversation and it’s a conversation every family should have about birth control and its role in society with their own kids.

He’s got his own and he stands by them and I think he’s an interesting part of the national conversation in terms of where our society is going. And there is a lot of risky behavior that happens to be connected to birth control. But there’s a whole other side to this conversation and not once did I say, “should it be banned?” or “should it not be covered by health insurance?” but I think it’s okay to have those beliefs and those concerns.

At first hearing, one might think Brzezinski sounds reasonable. Santorum is, indeed, entitled  to his beliefs on contraception and in a strange and limited sort of way is to be respected, if he (with the consent of his wife) lives by them. But the real question is not Santorum’s fealty to his extreme doctrines, but the doctrines themselves.

Just to illustrate, let’s look at a different kind of belief that I think it is fair to say that nearly all Americans would find repulsive:

Imagine if there were a presidential candidate today saying that he personally follows the teachings of his church, especially that African-Americans should not be able to marry white Americans because their “dark skin” is a “curse,” since God chose to put them on the earth “in the lineage of Cain.”

Such a candidate might express agreement with a prominent leader of his church that “the Negro seeks absorption with the white race,” and “he will not be satisfied until he achieves it.”

And such a candidate might agree with that same church leader when he said he “would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it,” but that they should “enjoy these among themselves.”

Now imagine if there were a video clip of this candidate saying,

I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change it?

With all that in mind, let’s go back to Morning Joe and Mika Brzezinski. Of such beliefs would she say,

I just don’t think there is anything wrong with believing that. I really don’t.  I don’t think that means he’s gonna ban interracial marriage across the board. Those are his personal beliefs.

Would she say that on television and expect her career to survive?

Or would she say,

I think he’s an interesting part of the national conversation in terms of where our society is going.

Of course she wouldn’t. Not in a million years.

But perhaps because she is a Catholic, or simply because she has some other reason to believe that birth control is somehow “cursed,” in terms of what perceived negative effects it has on society, she feels no social discomfort in stating that Santorum’s antiquated, offensive, and socially perilous views present “a whole other side to this conversation.”

Perhaps the day will come when Santorum’s extremist views on contraception will be as socially unacceptable to defend as the views of my imaginary candidate’s views are today. But obviously we have a long way to go.

Finally, and for the record, my imaginary candidate’s opinions were based on the teachings of an honest-to-goodness, high-ranking apostle of the Mormon Church, Mark E. Petersen, who expressed his beliefs in a speech in 1954, “Race Problems—As they Affect The Church.”

That such abhorrent ideas, expressed not that long ago, are no longer prevalent in civil society is because people of all races began to push back against them and ridicule them, not politely welcome their promotion, or in Brzezinski’s language, deem them an “interesting part of the national conversation.”

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Here are the two Santorum clips played this morning on Morning Joe followed by Mike Barnicle’s and Mika Brzezinski’s comments:

Trumpula

The Donald Trump orgy continues on “liberal” NBC and MSNBC. 

Only in America can a man as ignorant as Donald Trump go on a major television network—whose news division shamelessly promotes the embarrassingly shameless self-promoter—and pretend he is running for President of the United States by talking nonsense about the world, including stupidly questioning the birthplace of the current president.

I watched Morning Joe in agony this morning as every libidinous panelist—including today’s host, Willie Geist, the so-called liberal Donald Deutsch, and the former Democratic—Democratic!—governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, service Mr. Trump like fluffers on the set of a Ron Jeremy porn-flick.

At least Ron Jeremy is the real deal.  In terms of political brilliance, Donald Trump talks like John Holmes, but the truth is he carries a small stick.

Fortunately, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski—committed Trumpeteers—were absent today, or a Caligula-like love fest would truly have ensued.

In the mean time, even while NBC and MSNBC have given Trump plenty of room to spout birther conspiracies as a way of attracting attention to his NBC television show, his attractiveness to Tea Party Republicans, who fail to understand Trump’s candidacy deceit, is increasing.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Trump trailing leader Mitt Romney by only 4 points, 21-17.  Among teapartiers, though, Trump leads Romney by 3 points, 20-17.

In the mean time, Celebrity Apprentice sits in 19th place in the top 25 broadcast TV ratings, between Biggest Loser and Mike and Molly.

NBC and MSNBC have more work to do.

God And Donald Trump

When I have doubts about God, I think of Donald Trump.

I wonder just how there can be a God, an all-powerful being who loves us and cares for us, who would unleash upon us such an obnoxious, loathsome stream of diarrhea as the potential GOP candidate for president most certainly is.   

I mean, if God loves us, why is there a Donald Trump?

According to some of my conservative Christian friends, God is busy sending earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes and cancer and AIDS as punishment for our sins, so does that explain why there is a Trump?

Or, if not, why does God put up with him? Or with our fawning media, who treat him like he is some kind of ethereal being?  Mika Brzezinski, of Morning Joe, practically pees on herself, so excitedly grateful is she for being in the presence of The Donald, who appears too often on that show. 

But back to God. Just what Being worthy of worship could tolerate for long a creature who said this on Good Morning America:

Part of the beauty of me, is that I’m very rich.

The Republican Party, the Party of God, deserves this arrogant and ignorant bastard in its primary. 

Here, in case you didn’t see it, is his latest excursion into narcissistic nonsense, including the stupidity about Obama’s youth:


 

 

 
 
 

 

It’s A Strange Question, If Sarah Palin Or Donald Trump Is The Answer

America is in a strange place, if both Sarah Palin and Donald Trump think they can become president. 

Ms. Palin, who celebrates her self-described commonness, and Mr. Trump who revels in his self-described uncommonness, each have the nothing-better-to-do media types infatuated with whether one or both will run to become the Most Powerful Person On Earth

Think about that.

I’ve already said that Sarah Palin will not run for president in 2012.  Her goal is to keep speculation alive long enough to accumulate sufficient cash to purchase Alaska, so she can have it all to herself.  And right now she is able to routinely separate enough gullible commoners from their disposable income that someday that dream may come true. Good for her.  But president?  Come on.  Nobody believes that, even if she really wanted to go for it.

That leaves us with Donald Trump.  What is it about rich jerks like The Donald, who think the world pines for their pomp and longs for their leadership?  Nature kicked Trump out of the safety and comfort of his mother’s womb into the safety and comfort of a womb of wealth.  His father was a prosperous New York real estate developer.  Go figure.

Yet, despite such a head start in life, Mr. Trump managed to get himself in financial trouble in the 1990s (remember “junk bonds”?). From a 1991 article in Time:

Meet Donald Trump’s bankers. Like the characters in the fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, a gaggle of major financial institutions has finally been forced to admit, after lending Trump billions of dollars, that there’s a lot less to the emperor — or at least his empire — than the banks had believed. Not quite nine months after bailing out Trump with a rescue package that gave him $65 million in new loans and eased credit terms on his bank debt, Trump’s bankers last week stopped the game. Already more than $3.8 billion in the hole and sliding perilously close to a mammoth personal bankruptcy, the brash New York developer had no choice but to accept the dismantling of his vast holdings. Meeting round the clock at secret Manhattan locations, Trump’s lawyers and bankers by week’s end had begun to hammer out a complex series of agreements on the distribution of some of his assets.

However, unlike you and me and most of the world, Trump was simply too big to fail completely.  He was so far in debt, his creditors had to cut him a deal in order to keep from losing even more money than the hundreds of millions they reportedly lost on his ambitions.  And through it all, The Donald kept his humility in check:

…despite his desperate situation, Trump, who has always prided himself on his mastery of dealmaking, once again seems to have come up with a strong hand. Pooh-poohing any notion that he was cornered, Trump insisted last week that the talks were friendly. “I have a great relationship with the banks,” he said, adding airily, “The 1990s are a decade of deleveraging. I’m doing it too.”

Yeah, it’s nice to have a “great relationship with the banks.”  I certainly have a great relationship with my bank: Everyone there knows where I live and if I don’t make my car payment, they will send someone out to check on me, and then they will tow my car away.

Donald Trump’s life, past and present, is God’s way of rubbing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s terrible truth in our face: the rich are, indeed, different from you and me.

Trump has confessed to us that he is thinking about running for president, as a Republican, of course.  I recommend everyone watch his interview with George Stephanopoulos.  You will find that he is willing to start a trade war with China, that he finds Sarah Palin interesting and he likes her, but you won’t find out his position on abortion rights, because he’s not ready to reveal that piece of information just yet.  He was asked,

Are you pro-choice?

Trump: I don’t want to discuss, right now, but you will be shocked when I give you that answer…I’m gonna make a decision and when I make a decision I’ll let you know about that. But I think you’ll probably be surprised.

Everyone knows you can’t win a Republican primary and be pro-choice on abortion, so, no doubt, Mr. Trump has to figure out not what he believes, but what he needs to believe.  He’s flexible. How thoughtful.

He confirmed his presidential ambitions this morning on Morning Joe.  Mika Brzezinski, who falsely represents political balance on the show, asked him this question:

So, this frustration you feel, is that why you were thinking of running for president, and would you run as a Republican?

TRUMP: Well, I am a Republican—I’d run as a Republican. And I haven’t decided—I’d prefer not running. I’m having a great time, as you know, doing what I’m doing. 

Yes, like his party comrade Sarah Palin, The Donald doesn’t really want to run for president.  He’s got better things to do. Both of these stunningly patriotic Americans suggest that their lives are full of wonderful things, like grizzlies and Fox “News” and skyscrapers and casinos and lots and lots of cash, but they would give it all up—except the cash—just to be our leader, if we really, really needed them.

When Joe Scarborough asked him this morning to rate Barack Obama as a leader, in his typically Trumpish way, Trump said:

Well, you know, I respect him, I like him, I think he is wonderful in many ways.  I think he has not been good for business and honestly and very sadly the world does not respect this country, and therefore I assume the world does not respect our leader.  He’s a nice man, I think he’s totally over his head.

Barack Obama is a nice man.  But he’s bad for business.  He’s over his head.  And The Donald knows this because, as he told Stephanopoulos,

I have many people from China that I do business with, they laugh at us.  They feel we’re fools.  And almost being led by fools.

There you have it.  A man who thinks he can be president bases his opinion of our country’s standing in the world, and our President’s ability to lead, on what his Chinese business friends tell him about America. 

As I said, America is in a strange place these days.

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