November 12, 2017

Sunday School 11/12/17

I decided to spend time in only one classroom today: ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Martha Raddatz hosted.

Presidential special counselor Kellyanne Conway was first up, and Raddatz grilled her about Judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for US Senate from Alabama, who has been accused of child molestation in an incident that occurred decades ago.

Raddatz' first question was whether Conway "had any doubt about the veracity of the allegations."
I said very early in this process that the conduct as described should disqualify anyone from serving in public office. And I'll stand by that. The president and others in the Republican Party have made clear that if the allegations are true, this man should step aside. But I've gone farther than that, and I've reflected something that the vice president said as well which is everybody should know that conduct is disqualifying. And Mr. Moore has denied that conduct. 
Raddatz tried again, hitting on the "if" focus of the remarks, and asked again if Conway had any doubts.
Martha, I only know what I read. And I take very seriously allegations like this, particularly when they involve somebody who happened to be one of my daughters' ages. I take this seriously. I have tried to be a very loud voice for a very long time against sexual impropriety. I know what I read. I don't know the accusers. And I don't know Judge Moore. 
But I also want to make sure that we as a nation are not always prosecuting people through the press. He has denied the allegations. I have read the stories. I have not heard the testimony and the evidence...
The next attempt? "What has to happen before you would advise the president to say Roy Moore should step aside?" Which is almost comical, given the president's history with sexual indiscretions - since he didn't step aside himself, it's hard to see him officially calling on Moore to do the same.

The continued questioning got Conway to go a little off the rails, after Raddatz basically accused her of calling the women liars.
I didn't say that, I didn't say that, OK, I didn't say that. but I also know that credibility has not been imbued on other people when they've tried to raise issues like this based on their political affiliation and based on who they worked for. And we know that. There were many accusers over the years, there was much evidence against a former president, and very little coverage of that, respectfully.
Um, would that be President Bill Clinton? Um, there was very little coverage of that? Really, Kellyanne?  Conway went on to lament the fact that there's more attention being paid to Moore's alleged acts than there are to those of NJ Senator Bob Menendez, who's currently on trial for bribery and corruption.

It went on -- and on - to the point where it just became ridiculous, to be honest. And then Raddatz turned on to Ohio Governor John Kasich.  In this interview, it was all about trying to get Kasich to blame president Trump, for something - anything. First, she wondered about the results of the election on Tuesday.
It had to do with the tone, in my opinion, of our country. And a lot of people are saying, I don't like the tone, I reject the negativity. You know, we're better than that. And so to me -- and then I heard some Republicans saying, well, if we would have just killed Obamacare, that would have helped. Well, I mean, throwing 25 million Americans off of health care, who the heck is thinking that's good?  First of all, I don't care if it's good politically, it's wrong.
Raddatz wondered if it was a rejection of Trump. Kasich replied
I think it is a rejection, at least on Tuesday, and across the country, it wasn't just Virginia and New Jersey, it is a rejection of sort of the negative -- see, there's two paths...
Raddatz suggested the negativity was coming from Trump.
It comes from a lot of different places, OK? A lot of different places. Here's the thing, there's two paths. Do people have trouble? Yes. So when people have trouble, how do you deal with it? Either you tell them, yes, it's really horrible and it's this person's fault, or you see them, you tell them there's a problem and you say together we can lift you up. And I want to help lift them rather than to say, well, you know, this immigrant took your job and that's - that's not our country, that's not the best of who we are.  
Raddatz: "Exactly what you just said, sounds like you're talking about president Trump."
There's a lot of Republicans who feel the same way. I'm not going there. I want to live on the positive side of things. And so if you want to say it's Trump, you say it. I don't have to name names. But there are other people that disappoint me in the party.
She did give him a chance to talk about what Republicans can do to rebuild trust which included making headway on DACA and healthcare (not repeal and replace), and to do something about guns, and I was reminded of how I wish he had been the Republican nominee. Not because I agreed with him, necessarily,but because he would have been a much more reasonable person had he beaten Hillary.

A couple of funny lines came out of this show, which I think did not put Martha Raddatz in a very good light. 

  • Matthew Dowd, an ABC political analyst, suggested that Kellyanne Conway "needs to teach a yoga class in how to contort the positions" in the Roy Moore situation.
  • Kasich himself, when Raddatz suggested they look to 2018, said "It would be a good time for fortune tellers."
  • Republican strategist/ABC News contributor Alex Castellanos: "Donald Trump has made the Democratic Party great again."
See you around campus.