On MSNBC's AM Joy, Eric Boehlert Slams Conservative Media's Role In Fanning "Ugly And Deadly Paranoia" About Race
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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said during a July 5 speech that while former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a “really bad guy,” he was “so good” at killing terrorists, in part because his regime “didn’t read them their rights.”
Several conservative journalists promptly criticized Trump, with Commentary’s John Podhoretz calling him “fucking insane” and pointing out that Hussein’s Iraq was actually a state sponsor of terrorism.
Oh, yeah, Saddam Hussein killed terrorists, Donald Trump, you lunatic. Right. https://t.co/kwAPASxzi2
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 5, 2016
"Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists." -- Donald Trump, who is fucking insane
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 5, 2016
Trump wanted Bush 43 impeached. Yet he is defensive of Saddam Hussein. Your GOP nominee, 2016. Congrats, guys. https://t.co/IOiGMKWZUl
— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) July 6, 2016
This is old hat for Trump. Stunning from "presumptive" GOP nominee. Also Hussein tried to kill George H.W. Bush. https://t.co/gvG8D5EydG
— David French (@DavidAFrench) July 6, 2016
Seriously. How do you screw up messaging Hillary's "extreme carelessness" by praising Saddam freaking Hussein.
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) July 6, 2016
Trump’s general ignorance of foreign policy and world events has been noted by pundits across the political spectrum.
In a post responding to the repeal of the transgender military service ban, National Review’s David French accused the military of “thought control” and lamented the decline of “warrior culture.”
In a June 30 press conference, the Pentagon announced that the Department of Defense is lifting the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. The decision comes after a year-long evaluation of “policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.” As a part of the evaluation, the Pentagon commissioned a study by the RAND Corporation which found that allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military would not impact unit cohesion and result in minimal costs.
French quickly fired back with a June 30 post. French’s opposition to this policy change comes as no surprise given his former career at the anti-LGBT extremist legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who are best known for attacking the rights of transgender students and working internationally to criminalize gay sex. French has a history of expressing his outward disdain for transgender people. In the past, he lamented “transgender entitlement” and once described a young transgender woman as a “man” who is “on the verge of mutilating himself.”
Part of French’s argument for opposing the lift of the ban was to accuse the military of trying to create a “social laboratory” that is promoting “radical LGBT theology”:
But this move isn’t about national security, it’s about social engineering. Many members of the military will spend their entire careers without encountering a single transgender soldier, but they will endure hour upon hour of diversity training and thought control.
There will be members of the military (aided and abetted by its civilian leadership) who will take this opportunity to try to retrain the ranks about the very concepts of sex and gender, introducing radical LGBT theology as the government-approved, Army-mandated world view. And God help the Army doctor or medical professional who refuses to facilitate a servicemember’s “transition.” Good luck being a chaplain preaching about the created order if there is a prickly leftist around. The administration is moving the military culture to Yale with guns just about as fast as it can.
Fortunately the warrior culture is resilient. Infantry platoons aren’t likely to go full PC anytime soon, but the Left keeps chipping away. It will keep chipping away until the horrible reality of the battlefield reminds us all that our military isn’t a social laboratory. Our enemies focus on war while we sidetrack our soldiers with social justice.
On June 30, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Department of Defense would lift its ban on transgender individuals openly serving in the military. Some right-wing media figures were quick to attack the Defense Department’s decision as an “insane PC” move that allows “men with mascara” to serve.
Prominent voices in conservative media are holding on to the hope that delegates will block Donald Trump as the GOP’s presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention (RNC). Some have made the case that a close reading of the RNC rules shows delegates are not officially bound to vote for Trump, while others are openly calling for him to be set aside in favor of an alternative conservative nominee.
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Media figures responded to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) announcement that he will vote for Donald Trump with derision, characterizing Ryan’s action as a “shotgun wedding,” “caving to Democrats,” and “sad.”
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who has long advocated for a third party alternative to the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, announced his desire to recruit National Review writer David French as his chosen candidate. French’s coworkers and some core Never Trump figures supported the possible candidacy, while many other right-wing media figures called it “embarrassing” and “preposterous.”
Wash. Post: "David French Is Urged To Enter Presidential Race As Independent." On May 31 The Washington Post reported that Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, sought to recruit National Review writer David French as a third-party conservative presidential candidate. French has not stated whether or not he will run:
Tennessee attorney David French, who in recent years has become a prominent right-wing writer, is being urged by some conservative leaders to make a late entry into the 2016 presidential race as an independent candidate, according to two people close to him.
William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard magazine and a former Republican White House official, is at the fore of the draft effort. A group of well-known evangelical leaders and GOP operatives is also involved in the discussions, the people said, requesting anonymity to discuss private conversations.
When reached by phone Tuesday, French’s wife, Nancy, declined to comment. David French did not respond to multiple calls and emails over the past weekend. [The Washington Post, 5/31/16]
National Review: "French Is Preposterous? This Year?" National Review blogger Mona Chen defended Bill Kristol's selection of French for a third party bid, calling for "an honest man in this contest." Chen asserted that since “the Democrats are about to nominate a woman who may be indicted” and the Republicans “a reality star who knows nothing of policy, but ... threatens to undermine" the GOP itself, French has a viable opportunity to enter the presidential race:
Twitter tittered with a combination of contempt and amusement yesterday when word leaked that it might be our own David French who is considering an independent run for president. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” — that great “herd of independent minds” — the same tone prevailed (except for Mark Halperin, who noted that much would depend upon whether French could get financial backing). Mika Brzezinski scoffed that Bill Kristol needed a vacation, and the assembled crew were unanimous that French lacks the stature to enter the race.
In any normal year, they would certainly have a point. But look around people. This is the year when the Democrats are about to nominate a woman who may be indicted. The Republicans are nominating a reality star who knows nothing of policy but excels at schoolyard taunts, and threatens to undermine the one party that, until recently, stood (broadly) for the Constitution. But David French is out of his league? French is a graduate of Harvard Law. While Trump was bedding married women and allegedly defrauding strivers who signed up for Trump University, French was earning a bronze star in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He’s a major in the US Army Reserve. He’s a bestselling author of, most recently, The Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore and countless brilliant articles. He is past president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and has worked for the Alliance Defending Freedom and the American Center for Law and Justice. [National Review, 6/1/16]
National Review Editor Jim Geraghty: “If A David French Candidacy Gets All Of America To See The Alt-Right Clearly, He’s Done A National Service.”
If a David French candidacy gets all of America to see the Alt-Right clearly, he's done a national service. https://t.co/VqdXHuKfE8
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) June 1, 2016
Talk Radio Host Charlie Sykes: “David French Is A Class Act, Would Be An Impressive Candidate.”
David French is a class act, would be an impressive candidate. https://t.co/J9yRWhZZkD
— Charles Sykes (@SykesCharlie) May 31, 2016
RedState's Leon H. Wolf: "French ... Will Easily Get My Vote." RedState.com writer Leon H. Wolf wrote that French “will easily get my vote over any of the options that are currently on the ballot.” Even though Wolf conceded that French has little realistic chance to win, he asserted that he will never “bow before the con man who bragged that I would support him even after he destroyed my party.”
I guess some are determined not to give French a shot on the basis that he can’t possibly win. Personally, I could not care less. A realistic chance of anyone who deserves the office winning left the building a long time ago.
I don’t have a duty or obligation of any kind to vote for a candidate who might win. The only duty I have – to myself or anyone else – is to vote for the candidate who is most deserving of my vote. Hell, by the time election day of 2008 rolled around, McCain had no chance, and we all voted for him, didn’t we?
If French really does run, he will easily get my vote over any of the options that are currently on the ballot, in addition to my help gathering signatures and whatever spare money I can afford. Not only will he deserve it, but I won’t submissively tuck my tail between my legs and bow before the con man who bragged that I would support him even after he destroyed my party. [RedState.com, 6/1/16]
Erick Erickson: “I’d Gladly Vote For David French Over Either Hillary Clinton Or Her Donor Donald Trump.”
I’d gladly vote for David French over either Hillary Clinton or her donor Donald Trump.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 31, 2016
Erickson: “I’d Be Happy To Participate In The #FrenchRevolution.”
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 31, 2016
Daily Caller's Matt Lewis: “I Will Vote For David French … But We Could Probably Hold Our Convention In A Phone Booth.”
I will vote for David French if he's on the ballot. But we could probably hold our convention in a phone booth.
— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) May 31, 2016
Ben Shapiro: “Voting For David French Over Hillary And Trump Would Be The Easiest Call Ever.”
Voting for David French over Hillary and Trump would be the easiest call ever.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 31, 2016
Hot Air: Bill Kristol Is "Now Pulling Fans Out Of The Stands To Play QB." Conservative blogger Allahpundit ridiculed Kristol's choice of French in a May 31 blog post on HotAir.com:
This was who he had in mind with that much-hyped tweet this weekend that had everyone wondering if Romney had reconsidered? An … NRO writer? Trump fans are forever deriding #NeverTrump as a “movement” consisting of, like, six guys at National Review and the Weekly Standard. And now here we are.
As it turns out, Kristol actually touted French as a potential independent candidate in a piece published in the Standard just a few days ago. No one put two and two together this weekend, though, presumably because, um, no one thought he could possibly be serious.
There’s a sense that, having exhausted everyone on the team’s depth chart, you’re now pulling fans out of the stands to play QB. I’m not sure either what the value is in picking a conservative challenger to Trump who’s even less well known than Gary Johnson is. [HotAir.com, 5/31/16]
Breitbart News: “It’s Likely This Will End Up In The Ash Heap Of Kristol’s History Of Inaccurate Positions.” Breitbart News dismissed Kristol’s selection of French, writing in a May 31 post that “it’s likely this will end up in the ash heap of Kristol’s history of inaccurate predictions”:
Kristol created a media firestorm after tweeting that an “impressive” third party candidate would run with a “real chance.” If David French is all Kristol can come up with, it’s likely this will end up in the ash heap of Kristol’s history of inaccurate predictions. [Breitbart News, 5/31/16]
Guy Benson: French Candidacy “Will Represent An Embarrassing Fizzle For A ‘Never Trump’ Movement That Once Seemed Potent. Or At Least Relevant.” Townhall political editor Guy Benson called French’s selection by Kristol an “embarrassing fizzle” for the Never Trump movement in a May 31 post:
And the grand reveal is...National Review writer David French? And it's not even confirmed? Don't get me wrong: French is a decorated Iraq war veteran, a strong writer, and a principled conservative whose stalwart commitment to religious liberty is admirable, even if one disagrees from time to time. … He's an impressive man. The impressiveness of his team -- if this presidential run ever actually comes to pass -- remains to be seen. But the notion that a relatively little-known writer could parachute into this race at such a late juncture and have a prayer of winning even a single state is, frankly, preposterous.
So with due respect to the potential candidate, and with strong sympathy for its most prominent backers, I must say that if the French report proves accurate, it will represent an embarrassing fizzle for a 'Never Trump' movement that once seemed potent. Or at least relevant. Instead, it will have roared in like a lion after Indiana, then trotted impotently and inexorably toward the political abyss ahead of California. [Townhall, 5/31/16]
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey: "I Like And Respect David, But This Can’t Be Right.”
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) May 31, 2016
Morrissey: A French Candidacy Is “Like Picking George Will To Pitch For Your Fantasy Baseball Team.”
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) May 31, 2016
NY Times Columnist Ross Douthat: “Both David French And Bill Kristol Will Be Mocked If French Is The #NeverTrump Candidate.”
— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) May 31, 2016
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is reportedly considering drafting David French -- a staff writer at National Review -- to run for president as an independent candidate. French has repeatedly demonized the LGBT community in his writing and worked as a lawyer at a right-wing legal group that has defended laws criminalizing homosexuality.
Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.
Reached in Israel late Tuesday afternoon, Kristol declined to comment on his efforts to induce French to run. The two Republicans confirmed that French is open to launching a bid, but that he has not made a final decision. One of the Republicans added that French has not lined up a vice-presidential running mate or significant financial support. However, according to this person, some conservative donors look favorably on the prospect of French entering the fray.
At National Review, French has written extensively against LGBT equality and women’s access to abortion. He announced in 2010 that he had changed his mind and decided to oppose marriage equality, later warning that America was “racing off on our own cultural experiment.” He’s written multiple pieces attacking the transgender community, lamented “transgender entitlement,” described a young transgender woman as a “man” who is “on the verge of mutilating himself,” and argued that states should reject federal education funding rather than prohibit discrimination against transgender students.
French previously served as a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) -- formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund -- from 2006 to 2010. He also offered legal advice to anti-abortion activist Lila Rose.
Both before and after French’s tenure there, ADF worked to defend domestic and international anti-sodomy laws that criminalize homosexual behavior. ADF is also the group behind the recent wave of anti-LGBT “religious freedom” laws and anti-transgender “bathroom bills.” The group has a history of fighting to limit access to reproductive healthcare, including testifying against Planned Parenthood and taking part in the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby case.
Conservative media lashed out at the Department of Justice for filing a lawsuit stating that North Carolina’s anti-LGBT “bathroom bill,” which bans people from using public restrooms that do not correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificates, is “discriminatory.” Right-wing media claim the department is “playing dangerous games with our constitutional republic” and that the lawsuit is "designed to make the gay mafia seem as the victims of discriminatory injustice that just doesn’t exist."
Media figures defended a school resource officer who was seen on video violently "slamm[ing] to the ground" a student in South Carolina, and blamed the student for not showing the officer and her teachers respect.
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is again raising conservative media talking points in court, advancing the debunked idea that the definition of marriage has remained unchanged for a "millennia."
On April 28, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a case that will determine whether state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. During arguments, the conservative justices, including Scalia, expressed concern about "redefining" the institution of marriage to include gay couples. In one exchange with Mary Bonauto, the lawyer representing the same-sex plaintiffs, Scalia wondered if it was appropriate for the court to "decide it for this society" since marriage has applied only to heterosexual couples "for millennia."
The idea that the definition of marriage has had a fixed tradition or definition "for millennia" is untrue, although right-wing media have pushed that notion in varying forms for years -- and Scalia's propensity for embracing right-wing talking points is well-known. In 2012, he repeated the idea that if the Affordable Care Act was upheld, the federal government might be allowed to force Americans to buy broccoli -- an argument borrowed from Rush Limbaugh's talk show. Earlier this year, Scalia claimed that if the court struck down the availability of health care subsidies, Congress would move quickly to fix the problem -- apparently convinced by right-wing media's false claims that Senate Republicans had a viable back-up plan if the court hobbled the Affordable Care Act. When the Supreme Court struck down Arizona's notorious anti-immigrant racial profiling law in 2012, Scalia dispensed with legal arguments to instead attack the unrelated deferred action program for DREAMers and scaremonger that the "state's citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants." Professor Jeffrey Rosen of George Washington University said Scalia's commentary in that case "sound[ed] more like a conservative blogger or Fox News pundit than a justice."