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Politics & Policy

Your Cynicism About Politics Is Well-Founded.

From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

Your Cynicism About Politics Is Well-Founded.

Those of us with memories that can go back a few months will remember that during his presidential campaign, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said nominating Donald Trump “could wind up turning over the White House to Hillary Clinton for four more years,” who said Trump was “acting like a child” when he skipped the Iowa debate, who said Trump’s immigration plan was “just too simplistic,” who said Trump’s plan to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. was “the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don’t know what they’re talking about” and who said 140 characters or less seems to be the best way for Trump to communicate.

In other words, Chris Christie spent quite a bit of time saying Trump would be a disastrous nominee and president and he seemed to mean it. And then, sometime after leaving the race, he decided he didn’t mean that Trump a child, simplistic, uninformed, inexperienced, incapable of articulation and a likely loser. Never mind that Christie pitched himself as the truth-teller, the guy who tells it like it is. He also seemed to think no one would remember his criticism of Trump, or care. And maybe not many people care, but in a realm with better political discourse, they would.

This morning Jonah Goldberg spotlights another figure who’s made a dramatic about-face on the topic of Trump: former MSNBC host and current RT (Kremlin-funded Russia Today) host Ed Schultz:

At MSNBC, there was no praise of Hillary Clinton too effusive and no slander of Republicans that was too extreme. Schultz often spent his days spewing out such statements as: “This is what the Republican party stands for, though: racism. I think Donald Trump is a racist.”

In 2011, when Trump was reportedly thinking of running for president (again), Schultz wrote in the Huffington Post: “When it comes down to the devil in the detail of dealing with the issues . . . and making real change, Trump, you don’t have it. You’ve never had it. Money is not a measure of a man’s character or success in the arena of public service.”

Schultz recently told Larry King, his RT colleague, that Trump was like Ronald Reagan (he meant it in a good way). Trump, Schultz explained, “certainly has shaken up the Republican Establishment, and I think he’s done it by talking about things that people care about.” Schultz now says Trump is a great and decisive decision-maker. So what explains the transformation? I don’t like speculating about people’s motives in part because 99 percent of the time, I find those who try to guess mine are wrong (Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke recently attacked me on Twitter for being a Zionist stooge because I oppose Donald Trump). Still, one possibility is that Ed Schultz is simply sincere. A more obvious explanation is that he’s doing it for the paycheck. Both of those things are possible. But there’s a third possibility: Some people need to be on TV or in some other public arena. As with Trump himself, the money comes second to celebrity.

It’s just about impossible to tell people not to be cynical about politics, journalism and punditry when prominent figures are acting like this. The irony is I’ve heard of public relations employees telling their bosses, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t in good conscience work on this account. What they do is contrary to my values, and I just couldn’t do my best work for this client.” (If an otherwise good employee does this rarely enough, the bosses usually are fine with it.) In other words, people whose job is to be mouthpieces for the client have standards, when politicians and television show hosts, who are supposed to be free to speak their minds and stand for their values, will quickly reverse themselves once their personal interest is sufficient. 


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