Scarborough Compares Trump’s Renegade Rhetoric To Reagan In Politico Column

Joe Scarborough has taken a lot of heat in his career for going against the conservative tide and condemning some of the most extreme rhetoric on the right. In light of this, his recent fascination with Donald Trump, as expressed in a Politico column this week, comes as a bit of a surprise. Scarborough compares Trump to Ronald Reagan, and seems bemused, if not impressed, with his ability to express extreme views without caring about what others think.

“The disconnect between Washington’s view of Reagan and America’s perception of him bears repeating in a year when so many GOP candidates are being showered with contempt by a new generation of Washington elites,” Scarborough writes, noting that Trump has now eclipsed Palin in amassing public scorn from those “in the know.” Scarborough, who spoke with Trump in writing the article, doesn’t seem to agree with everything Trump says, but doesn’t take time to debunk it, either. Particularly, Scarborough lets Trump’s words speak for themselves on his belief that President Obama was born abroad, and that his autobiography was written by domestic terrorist Bill Ayers:

“Bill Ayers wrote ‘Dreams From My Father,’” Trump told me. “I have no doubt about it. That first book was total genius and helped get him elected. But you can tell Obama did the second book himself because it read like it was written by somebody of average intelligence with a high school education.”

For Trump, the theory feeds into his belief that Obama is unfit to be president.

“He is the most overrated guy. It’s unbelievable. Obama is worse than Jimmy Carter, and I put Carter at the head of the pack for bad presidents.”

“This is not how serious presidential candidates are supposed to talk,” Scarborough writes of Trump, though to him this is precisely what makes him a viable candidate. “Anyone who believes political commentators’ scorn for Trump will keep him from winning the Republican nomination need only read the nasty things Washington’s wise men said about Reagan in 1979,” he notes. But Scarborough doesn’t ever quite confront the fact that much of what Trump has been promoting goes beyond the pale in terms of ad hominem rhetoric. Granted, Reagan never suggested Carter had a terrorist write books for him or that he was born overseas, but he did have some wacky foreign policy ideas!

Trump, now running up to second in some GOP primary polls, would not be so surprising a candidate to catch Scarborough’s eye if the latter had not made a career out of calling for toning down extreme rhetoric. Even in this piece, Scarborough takes a detour from trying to understand Trump to take a swipe at perennial target Glenn Beck: “When your political rhetoric shocks a man who believes the rise of the Antichrist could be ushered in by President Barack Obama’s agenda, it might be time to refocus your communications strategy.”

Say what you will about Beck (and Scarborough has said a lot about him), but he has never been a birther and his theories tend to incriminate organizations professionally, not individuals personally lest they be a head of said organizations or somehow directly professionally involved. Nor does Beck have or aspire to any governmental power the way Trump does. The disapproval directed at Beck repeatedly both on television and in this column appear inconsistent with the cautious interest in Trump presented here. Dismissing Beck’s theory that the radical left and Islamic fundamentalists will somehow unite to form a pan-Middle Eastern communist caliphate and applauding– albeit in a half-snickering, Charlie Sheen way– Trump’s theory that Bill Ayers wrote Dreams of My Father when one man is polling well for the most important job in the world and the other is stepping down from his entertainment hour within the next year is simply hypocritical.

Perhaps as a buffer against such criticism, Scarborough ends his bizarre column with a much more apt comparison than his Reagan analogy– to Ross Perot, and a reminder that Trump is no Reagan, “but he isn’t Palin either.” Most have unanimously agreed that any flair in the wasteland of personality that a Tim Pawlenty-Mitt Romney led presidential field represents is a good thing– you could almost hear the internet collectively cheer when a Pawlenty staffer drunkenly threw up in a random yard in Iowa. But in spending a good portion of his TV time calling out irresponsible rhetoric, Scarborough has, to a degree that many others haven’t, given up his privilege to partake in the fun.

Sen. Schumer: House GOP A ‘Flea’ On Congress ‘Wagging The Dog’

While last night’s anticlimactic government non-shutdown peeved more than a few in Congress and around Capitol Hill, Sen. Charles Schumer may have come up with the most comically derogatory metaphor for the other side: House Republicans, he griped yesterday, are a “flea, wagging a tail, wagging a dog.”

His creative take on the common “wag the dog” aphorism (and creative take on Article I of the Constitution, interpreting some Republicans as colonizing parasites rather than actual members of Congress) came yesterday afternoon, in the heat of the budget battle that ended when both parties agreed on significantly cutting the national budget. Sen. Schumer, to his credit, was not describing the entire party as such– only those on the far right that sought the night to culminate in a shutdown. Via The Hill:

What we have here is a flea, wagging a tail, wagging a dog,” said Schumer, chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

“The flea are the minority of House Republicans who are hard right, the tail is the House Republican caucus, and the dog is the government,” Schumer explained. “That flea is influencing what the dog does … and it is sad.”

He went on to conclude that said “hard right” Congressmen, by sticking to their positions, ultimately “do what is wrong for the country substantively.” Surely those in the House could not have taken the comment particularly well, though it at least highlights one positive (?) aspect of this battle: it brings out the colorful rhetoric on both sides.

Greta Van Susteren: Don’t Invite Me To A Function If You Really Just Want Sarah Palin!

Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren has a bone to pick with The Media.™ The host, who has interviewed former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin numerous times – even taking a trip out to Alaska in 2010 to produce a three-part interview with Palin in addition to accompanying Palin on a humanitarian trip to Haiti – is sick and tired of groups inviting her to functions in a thinly veiled attempt to court Palin.

Luckily Van Susteren, like so many of us, can air out her grievances on her blog:

OK…I am not going to out the people/media groups a about whom I blog…but here is some more media silliness:

In the last 2 months, I have been called by two very prominent media groups asking if I wanted to play a very prominent role in one of their events. I was mildly interested but always suspicious…why me? Is it because I am now the longest on air cable news host since Larry King left (I think) or the longest on air woman cable news host ? Read on…

During both conversations in which I was told how much they would like to have me, I was told they had a good idea for my presentation. I said, what is that? The reply, “why don’t you get Governor Sarah Palin and interview her in front of the group?”…they could not get Governor Sarah Palin themselves so they went to “plan B” — call Greta and get her to do it. I don’t think so.

Both organizations wanted to fill their auditorium with Palin as their calling card (and yes, making it all the sillier…the invitees and their membership have been routinely critical of Palin but now want to use her…go figure!)

First, and this will surprise many, I don’t have that relationship with Governor Palin. When I am able to talk to her, I book her on ON THE RECORD at 10pm. So they can stop calling me…, I am just not that stupid.

Second, it is silly. The whole thing is silly.

(And PS – contrary to what everyone in the media thinks, my husband never worked for her and doesn’t. He is simply friends with her. )

And there you have it: Don’t get silly with Greta.

h/t Greta Wire

Conservative? Liberal? Study Says It’s All In Your Head (Brain, Actually)

The brainiacs over at Britain’s University College London believe they’ve decoded your politics, and it all boils down to the size of your anterior cingulate cortex, which monitors conflict and uncertainty. Bigger, and you’re likely to be liberal, smaller and you stand an excellent change of being conservative. And then there’s the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes fear. It’s bigger, the scientists say, in the brains of conservatives.

Ryota Kanai, the author of the study published in the journal Current Biology, says his research suggests politics might be tied directly to your brain:

The difference in brain structure could explain some of the traits that distinguish conservatives and liberals, researchers said. People with larger amygdalas tend to respond with more aggression in situations where they feel threatened and are more sensitive to fear and disgust.

People with larger ACCs tend to be better at tolerating uncertainty–a reason why they often accept more liberal views, researchers told LiveScience.

So how’s that sitting with your ACC? And what about people whose politics change over time? Are there brain parts growing, or shrinking? And what if you’re an economically conservative social liberal (or vice versa)? What kind of brain does that person have?

Government To Begin Using Facebook And Twitter For Terror Alerts

Get ready for something like this: @WhiteHouse – Terror Alert #BeScared

Ok, not really, but the government is planning on employing social media to alert citizens of danger. A 19 page document has been released detailing the new alert system that will be replacing the color code whose retirement was announced last January. The new system will only have two levels, elevated and imminent, and will be sent out only for a limited period of time.

From CBS News:

‘The 19-page document, marked ‘for official use only’ and dated April 1, describes the step-by-step process that would occur behind the scenes when the government believes terrorists might be threatening Americans. It describes the sequence of notifying members of Congress, then counterterrorism officials in states and cities and then governors and mayors and, ultimately, the public. It specifies even details about how many minutes U.S. officials can wait before organizing urgent conference calls among themselves to discuss pending threats. It places the Homeland Security secretary, currently Janet Napolitano, in charge of the so-called National Terrorism Advisory System.

The new terror alerts would also be published online using Facebook and Twitter ‘when appropriate,’ the plan said, but only after federal, state and local government leaders have already been notified. The new system is expected to be in place by April 27.”

Unlike the color codes, the new system will be much less vague and the warnings will only go up for the time of the specific concern. No longer will we always be in Orange with occasional dips into Reddish Orange. If something comes up, people in specific areas will be notified that, for a period of time, the threat level is elevated.

This sounds like a good plan and the use of social media seems like a natural step. However, it does bring up an interesting question. If you get a Facebook message telling you your city may be under attack and you want to spread the message to your friends, does that mean you have to “like” it?

That Was Fast: Former Hearst Exec Cathie Black Stepping Down As NYC Schools Chancellor

Cathie Black, the former Hearst Magazines chairman chosen by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as schools chancellor last year, is out, to be replaced by Dennis Walcott, according to multiple reports. Walcott is the Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development.

Black, who this week was found by a Marist College poll to have just a 17 percent approval rating among city residents, has been a lightning rod in the city. The survey showed that only 2 percent rate Black’s job performance as “excellent,” while 15 percent grade her as “good.” Among the rest, 34 percent rate her “fair,” 27 percent “poor” and 23 percent reserved opinion. Black got a 21 percent approval rating in February, the poll said.

Just yesterday, Deputy Chancellor John White, who heads the Division of Talent, Labor, and Innovation, was reported to be leaving to take a post in New Orleans. If true, he would be the second deputy chancellor to step down this week and the fourth since Cathie Black took office in the fall.

A news conference on the change is expected shortly. Developing.

Donald Trump Takes His Search For Obama’s Birth Certificate To Hawaii

Well, we guess potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump didn’t get to where he is today by lacking perseverance. The businessman and TV star has continued his search for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate by tapping people in Hawaii to help him “study” the circumstances surrounding Obama’s birth.

Trump explained his mission to Today host Meredith Vieira:

I am saying I want to see the birth certificate. It’s very simple. I want to see the birth certificate. How come his own family doesn’t know which hospital he was born in? How come– forget about birth certificates. Let’s say there’s no birth certificate. How come in the hospital itself, okay? This is one of the…in the hospital itself, there’s no records of his birth. In other words, it doesn’t say how much they paid, where is the doctor, here’s your room bill. You know, all the…

He adds that his people in Hawaii “can’t believe what they’re finding.”

But, despite his by now extremely publicized concern with Obama’s nationality and the fact that, as he puts it, Obama “seizes countries, but he doesn’t win,” Trump doesn’t dislike the President. He just kind of thinks he’s dragging the U.S. straight down to Hell. That’s all:

If I had my choice of having Obama do great as a president, and do a really great job for this country, and not running, as opposed to running – I’d prefer that he did a great job. I love this country. But, this country is going to hell.

With Trump effectively making Obama’s birth the issue with which he’s most concerned, we wonder whether voters will have his back – or slowly back away – come 2012.

h/t Time