Friday, June 30, 2017

The Tweet That Set the Left on Fire

I'm old enough to remember when MSNBC was a new cable network and three women hosted a weekday show - Gina Gaston, Ashleigh Banfeld, and Mika
Brzezinski. Gina Gaston is an evening news anchor for the Houston ABC News affiliate; Ashleigh Banfeld moved on to CNN and HLN; and Mika is still with MSNBC. I have not been a fan of Mika's for a very long time. Mika is now a co-host and newsreader for that network's Morning Joe show.

A little recent background on the Morning Joe hosts: she was given the Obama administration talking points and recited them during the course of the show during that administration. She was a vocal and unabashed Hillary supporter during the last election cycle. Her co-host is former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough. Both have divorced their spouses and are now engaged to each other. Both were friendly with Donald Trump and allowed him on their show regularly, as did all the other networks, giving him unprecedented in-kind (free) campaign publicity in exchange for ratings. Then, once Trump became the GOP nominee, they turned on him, as did CNN and some on Fox, as well as all the dinosaur networks. Since his election, the hosts have regularly - maybe daily - slammed Trump as mentally unbalanced, a liar, unfit for office, and all the usual liberal sounding slurs. Like other networks (looking at you, CNN), the show brings on #NeverTrump 'conservatives' who happily join in on the personal attacks.

Like the former president, Barack Obama, Trump is a thin-skinned man. Now seeing improvement in the show ratings, the hosts should be sending Trump a fruit basket with a thank you note for providing fuel to the turnaround.  With a bitterly divided nation tuning in to shows supporting the opinions most closely aligned with themselves, MSNBC, once a laughingstock in cable news now finds its ratings rising. Why? A quick look at its programming tells the tale. Like CNN, it is all Trump/GOP bashing 24/7.  

President Trump expertly uses social media to push out his message to millions of followers. I'm all in favor of using social media as a tool. For politicians, Twitter and Facebook, even Instagram, should be used to promote policy and progress on the agenda on any given day. The problem with Trump, though, is that he is a coarse and aggressive New York businessman unaccustomed to self-censorship and  self-control. He gets very personal in his criticisms on Twitter instead of sticking to policy and politics. That's a big no-no when it is from the President of the United States, the most powerful man on earth.

We knew all this as Trump ran for POTUS. It's why Republicans like me didn't support him in the primary. He's not my cup of tea. That said, once he became the GOP nominee, he became my candidate. I didn't have to like him to vote for him.The Supreme Court nominations and conservative governing policies are too important to me to ever vote for a Democrat for president. Ever. Sanctimonious long-time Republicans who threw support to Hillary or third party candidates with no hope of winning forever lost my respect. The professional class that earns a living off the Republican party understood that they would no longer be in the inner circle and they responded according. They were willing to support Hillary Clinton and the Bernie Sanders crowd over a Republican promising to govern as a conservative. Today they all sound just like the left on social media - more interested in slamming the president than supporting solid policy and initiatives the GOP is moving forward.

Thursday, after the usual barrage of nasty statements from Mika and aided by her fiancé, Joe, the president took to Twitter and took his thoughts into personal criticism. He said Mika was bleeding from a face lift over the New Year's holiday and he (Trump) didn't want to join her and Joe during Mar-a-Lago festivities. Apparently the face lift part set the left on fire. I understand the discomfort from those offended. Personal attacks are not right, especially from the president, who should be leading by example. The fact that the show hosts are using personal attacks against him for ratings doesn't matter in this case. Keep it about facts, not snarky personal attacks, I would counsel him. I'm most concerned that others around President Trump don't have the sense to counsel him themselves. He is a 70 year old man, though, and no one should have really expected him to make good completely on his campaign promise to act presidential, should he win the election.

Mika and Joe are special examples of Trump Derangement Syndrome within the media. Truly the only respite from non-stop Trump bashing on television is to be found on Fox News - most of the time, and from OAN, though it can be harder to find. Those two hosts take extra pleasure in going as low as possible in their slurs against Trump. Whatever happened to "When they go low, we go high"? Oh, yeah. It was really never a thing.

So, here's what I think about the latest Twitter storm - do I care about the face lift crack? No. She's even come out and admitted she had what she calls minor surgery on her chin at that time. She's upset that it came out into the public, no doubt. I wouldn't like that, either. Should Trump have gone that far? No. There are any number of ways he could have constructed a tweet to let his displeasure of their lowbrow conversations against him be known without making it a personal jab. But, we all know that is not Trump. This isn't a surprise. It makes me angry, though, that Trump seems unable to control himself long enough to allow a really good week go by for his administration and allow the headlines be about political accomplishment, not silly Twitter wars. This was a good week for Trump, politically speaking. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously ( quite unusual these days) in favor of his travel ban, immigration reform measures were signed, VA reform legislation was signed, tort reform has passed, unemployment is down, job creation is up, and so on. He should be tweeting about all that to satisfy his urge to use Twitter. Take the wins. Let the other stuff go.

Make no mistake - I have no sympathy for Mika. She's a nasty human being and has a good-sized platform to promote her brand of bullying and hate. It's divisive and unnecessary. As a leftist, she has lots of things she could criticize the GOP and Trump about on policy. She uses the ugliness for ratings. Trump punches back. This is not a surprise, as he campaigned on that. She responded to Trump's tweets by using one of her own - a personal attack on the size of Trump's hands. So, tit for tat.

Mika and Joe published an op-ed this morning as they left for vacation. No, I am not linking it here. I'm sick of this nonsense. It's time for everyone to grow the hell up. There are eight years of the destruction left from the Obama years to correct and there is no time to waste. If President Trump truly wants to Make America Great Again - and I think he does - it's time to get on with it.  



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