Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Civility Watchdog: June 27, 2016, Rush Limbaugh

"The story's at Mediaite. They conclude this with this paragraph: "Posner, an influential jurist who has served as a federal judge for thirty-five years, has previously voiced his disregard for the Constitution. "'I'm not particularly interested in the 18th Century, nor am I particularly interested in the text of the Constitution. I don't believe that any document drafted in the 18th century can guide our behavior today,' he said during a 2015 colloquium." He's not a dumb guy by any stretch, but this presents a total misunderstanding of what the Constitution is. It's a profound distortion of what the Constitution is. This is stunning. The Constitution planted the roots of American exceptionalism -- again, defined by the fact that America was the "exception" to the way and the rule of life for humanity centuries before. The Constitution... Well, Magna Carta. Magna Carta. I guess we'd have to say Magna Carta was first, but the US Constitution was the first document to ever limit the government. And that is why the opponents want to get rid of it, because it limits the government. It does not empower government. It empowers citizens. It empowers individuals. The Constitution spends all of its time, the Bill of Rights, defining what the government cannot do. And that just irritates people who think the government ought to be able to do anything and everything, because other people -- average people -- are not competent or qualified to make their own decisions. Or, it's worse than that. It's just people that are totally power mad and power hungry who doesn't believe in representative government, do not believe in republics."
-- Pundit Rush Limbaugh, June 27, 2016, referring to a story that day about 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner.

Comment: Limbaugh is demonizing people – he doesn't name precisely who, except that they are of a similar mind to Posner – accusing them of craving power for power's sake and of believing "average people" are too stupid to run their own lives.

Civility Watchdog: June 27, 2016, Elizabeth Warren

"When Donald Trump says he'll make America great he means make it even greater for rich guys just like Donald Trump. Great for the guys who don't care how much they've already squeezed from everyone else. Great for the guys who always want more. Because that's who Donald Trump is: the guy who wants it all for himself. And watch out, because he will crush you into the dirt to get whatever he wants. That's who he is."
-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), June 27, 2016.

Comment: Warren is demonizing Trump – as well as other unnamed "rich guys" – saying they don't care about other people and will "crush you into the dirt" – presumably metaphorical violent rhetoric meaning that they'll do anything – in order to satisfy their selfishness.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Civility Watchdog: June 24, 2016, Paul Begala

MAHER: I thought it was so typical of the paralysis in our government that Louie Gohmert got up there at one point and he was screaming, "radical Islam, radical Islam!" to the people who were trying to pass a bill to stop radical Islam. Because the bill that they were talking about was "No Fly, No Buy". People on the "No Fly" list don't get to buy a gun.

BEGALA: You shouldn't make fun of the mentally challenged. Louie is a dope. He's an idiot. No, he's a first-class idiot. He's from my state of Texas. And he's just a fool and an idiot.
-- Pundit Paul Begala, June 24, 2016, during a discussion with Bill Maher of HBO. Begala was referring to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Comment: This is "stupid" name-calling.

Civility Watchdog: June 26, 2016, Newt Gingrich

"If she can't absolutely destroy Trump as a legitimate candidate, she is just going to lose. There is nothing she can do on the positive side to win, because the country is going to say, "enough". You know, enough lying about your emails, enough accepting thousands of more Syrian refugees, enough having a failed foreign policy, enough telling us that we're too stupid to run our own lives."
-- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), June 26, 2016, referring to Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Comment: Gingrich is accusing Clinton of believing Americans – some, all, or most? – are stupid. What is his evidence for this?

Civility Watchdog: June 26, 2016, Mitch McConnell

STEPHANOPOULOS: You just heard those new poll numbers, 64 percent of Americans don’t think that Donald Trump is qualified to be president. Do you believe he’s qualified? And how do you convince all those voters who think he isn’t?

MCCONNELL: Well, look, I think there’s no question that he’s made a number of mistakes over the last few weeks. I think they’re beginning to right the ship, it’s a long time until November. And the burden, obviously, will be on him, to convince people that he can handle this job. And I think – a good step in the right direction with the changes he’s made in the campaign. He’s beginning to use a prepared script more often, which I think is absolutely appropriate for any candidate, whether you’re a long-time politician like Hillary Clinton or whether you’re new to the game like Donald Trump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I didn’t hear you say whether you thought he was qualified.

MCCONNELL: Look, I leave that to the American people to decide. You know, he won the Republican nomination fair and square, he got more votes than anybody else against a lot of well-qualified candidates. And so our primary voters have made their decision as to who they want to be the nominee. The American people will be able to make that decision in the Fall.
-- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), June 26, 2016, being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos of ABC News.

Comment: This is an evasion, as McConnell never answers the question. In particular, he uses the "it's for the voters to decide" evasion. Of course it's true that voters will have to assess whether they believe Trump is qualified to be president, but that doesn't mean McConnell can't give his opinion on the matter. After all, McConnell already said many of Trump's GOP rivals were "well-qualified"; what's stopping him from expressing his view on whether Trump himself is? Plus, McConnell has endorsed Trump; would he endorse someone who wasn't qualified?