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Political Causality Loops
It's very self-fulfilling Sunday show rundown!
Do the people in charge learn from their mistakes and adjust or so they repeat the cycles that leads to the same results? If you saw this post’s title and thumbnail, then you know the answer. But, just in case, let’s take a look at some examples.
Ronna Never Learns
CNN’s “State Of The Union” and NBC’s “Meet The Press” had on Republican National Committee chair Ronna
Romney McDaniel to talk about Republicans’ devastating losses last Tuesday and calls for her to be replaced.
On CNN, McDaniel was asked about the moment during the third Republican presidential debate when tech bro douche/candidate Vivek Ramaswamy criticized her and invited her to come up on stage to resign. We concede that McDaniel gave the perfect response to sentient “Twitter reply guy” Vivek (did you know it rhymes with cake?) Ramaswamy.
McDANIEL: Yes, last I checked, I wasn’t running for president. He’s at 4 percent. He’s looking for headlines. […]
McDANIEL: Well, I'm proud of the RNC, and I stand by what the RNC is doing. And some people don’t understand what we do. We’re a turnout machine, and actually it’s going to look like more Republicans turned out in Virginia than Democrats. We actually turned out more Republicans than Democrats in Kentucky. We’re not the messaging. […]
The voting results say otherwise, Ronna.
Host Kristen Welker, however, was also not really sold on this revisionism. This was evident by her follow-up question involving what’s become a huge albatross for Republicans: Abortion.
McDaniel further deflected when asked whether she stands with the extreme forced-birth position given Democratic victories related specifically to abortion rights.
McDANIEL: So, it’s not my decision about federal or state. I think Glenn Youngkin actually did a good job. […] And this is my point of, if you are letting them define you. They had ads going up saying we're going to ban everything, no exception for rape, life and incest. That just isn’t true. Listen, I’m proud to be a pro-life party, but we can win on this message. The American people are where we are, and they want common sense limitations. They want more access to adoption. We want to make sure that there's pregnancy crisis centers. These are things we can win on. But we have to talk about it, and you can’t hide in a corner and think abortion’s not going to be an issue. […]
Oh, Ronna, you think the American people HAVE NOT heard enough of conservative rhetoric or seen healthcare restrictions in red states to know precisely what Republicans think?! To paraphrase an old Churchill quote: We’ve already established what Republicans are on reproductive rights, you’re just haggling over how restrictive you are. We think you and politicians like Glenn Youngkin should keep talking about abortion! It’s foolproof like the great products from Acme Corporation (unless you’re David Zaslav wanting a tax write-off).
Netanyahu’s 9/12/2001 Dreams
Also appearing on the CNN and NBC Sunday shows was Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On NBC, Netanyahu was asked about the Palestinian civilian casualties and protests against indiscriminate bombings or collective punishment against civilians. After denying the civilian casualty numbers provided by many including the United Nations, Netanyahu condemn protesting by being purposely obtuse about what they are protesting for.
NATANYAHU: But those who protest for Hamas, you’re protesting for sheer evil. […] Now, who do you protest against? Do you protest against the Nazis or do you protest against the Allies? And what these people are doing is protesting for sheer evil.
To clarify, people are protesting for a free Palestine and for an end to Palestinian civilian deaths, not Hamas. Most protest have made this clear and it’s why it has included a diverse coalition that includes Jews, Palestinians and many others. This conflation of all Palestinians as Hamas is not only bad propaganda but has been called out as such.
Netanyahu was then asked about the criticism at his government’s intelligence failure and distractions from protests due to judicial reforms in Israel that possibly allowed what happened on October 7th.
Netanyahu refused to answer while invoking the worst analogy.
NETANYAHU: Well, I’ve said that after the war there will be a thorough investigation, and everybody will have to answer some very tough questions, including myself.
WELKER: Do you bear responsibility?
NETANYAHU: But right now we’re focused on one thing.
WELKER: Do you bear some responsibility?
NETANYAHU: We all bear responsibility. Look, nobody’s going to evade responsibility. It’s a non-issue.
WELKER: But was your government distracted, Mr. Prime Minister?
NETANYAHU: Not because it’s a non-issue. But because there will be time to deal with it. And the time that we have to deal with it is right now to win this victory. After Pearl Harbor, after 9/11, did you delve into that question? Of course you did, afterwards.
On CNN, Netanyahu faced similar questions and host Dana Bash disputed it in real time.
NETANYAHU: Well, did people ask Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor that question? Did people ask George Bush after the surprise attack of November (sic) 11? Look, it's a question that needs to be asked.
BASH: I think those questions were asked.
Dana Bash is correct. The 9/11 Commission hearings began in March 2003, during operations in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. The Bush Administration’s National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was asked about warnings that Bin Laden was determined to attack the US prior to 9/11 on April 2004. Again, this was during the simultaneous operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we waited until “afterwards,” we wouldn’t have started until January 2021.
This is the equivalent of Republicans insisting “this isn’t the time to discuss gun reforms” after every mass shooting and followed by “why are we talking about guns now?” in the briefest lulls between tragedies.
Have a week.