Welcome to the right-wing gaff-o-sphere. Here are some low-points this week.
1. Some politicians make attack ads against political opponents. Florida Gov. Rick Scott makes them against, uh, constituents who dare criticize him.
In a video that quickly went viral, a woman named Cara Jennings confronted Scott in a Gainesville, Florida Starbucks for signing a bill cutting funding to Planned Parenthood and other providers of women’s healthcare. In response, he dissembled and denied and then lectured her on where she should get healthcare. The part that went viral came next.
“You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” Jennings yelled, entirely accurately. “You’re an a**shole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”
Scott protested that he had “created a million jobs,” a huge and round number that appears to be based on air. Jennings looked around and asked other customers if any of them had one of these great jobs. No one answered.
Jennings again suggested that shame should be his mantle, and Scott left Starbucks latte-less.
By week’s end, Scott had unleashed the power of his office and political PAC and released an attack video on Jennings, calling her a “latte liberal,” former “anarchist” and someone who “refused to pledge allegiance” when she was a Palm Beach County Commissioner. Because obviously, only an anarchist and a traitor would be upset about the fact that poor women are being denied access to healthcare.
The rest of the attack video bragged about the governor’s job creation and said “almost everybody" has a job, "except those who are sitting around coffee shops, demanding public assistance, surfing the Internet, and cursing at customers."
So, that was a mature and dignified way of handling it.
2. Bill O’Reilly still has some whitesplaining to do.
Bill O’Reilly enjoys inviting Tavis Smiley on his show and telling him he is completely wrong about racial issues, because O’Reilly, as a white man, knows best.
During a segment this week, O’Reilly questioned Smiley’s use of the term “racial arsonist” to describe Donald Trump. “What comment set you off?” O’Reilly asked Smiley, because apparently O’Reilly has not been awake for the past 10 months.
Smiley replied that he did not think O’Reilly’s show was long enough to begin to cover the topic of Donald Trump’s racist comments.
“Just give me one,” O’Reilly said sounding almost as immature as his milkshake-swilling buddy Donald. (“He started it!”)
“Oh, come on! You’re wasting good television time, Bill,” Smiley guffawed. “His anti-immigrant stance. His anti-Muslim stance. His maltreating and that of his supporters the maltreating of African Americans in the audiences at these rallies. Don’t ask a silly question. You know better than this.”
But Bill does not know better. He just doesn’t see xenophobia and drumming up hatred toward whole groups of people based on religion and race as racist. “When you use the words 'racial arsonist,’ okay, that conjures up to me David Duke and these kinds of people, who their sole reason for being is to run down blacks or Hispanics or Muslims or whatever,” O’Reilly said.
Okay, so under this logic, being a racist is really a full-time job, and Trump is only a part-timer? Like when he is awake?
Smiley tried to interject that it took Trump rather a long time to denounce Duke after the former KKK leader endorsed Trump.
“But Travis,” Bill interrupted. “You make mistakes and so do I.”
Not a mistake, Travis insisted. “That’s not a mistake.”
But Bill had stopped listening, or never started, and had worked himself up into a froth of full denial, whitesplain mode. “I have known the man for a long time. I have never seen him do anything racial.”
Does he really not hear how dumb he sounds?
3. Wisconsin Republican accidentally tells the truth about voter suppression laws.
Rep. Glenn Grothman, an outstanding Republican from Wisconsin, might have drunk a little too much of his party’s Kool-Aid. So much so that he kind of forgot to lie on air about the true purpose of voter ID, a.k.a. voter suppression laws in that state.
Clearly pleased as punch after Ted Cruz’s decisive victory over Donald Trump, an NBC affiliate reporter asked Grothman how on earth Republicans could win a state they have not carried in a presidential election since 1984. (Yep, Reagan.)
Grothman responded that Hillary Clinton would be a historically weak nominee, and then blurted, “Now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”
Wait, dude, you’re not supposed to say that the whole purpose of the voter I.D law is to depress Democratic turnout and win elections, remember?
As bad as that was, the reporter ( a loose term to be sure) seemed completely unperturbed, and let Grothman get in a few more talking points before cutting away. Something about how Republicans would win by talking about welfare and immigration blah blah blah.
And there you have it. Another great moment in democracy and stellar, hard-hitting journalism.
4. Donald Trump had his very own Rick Perry moment, but of course much, much more stupid.
Those whose memory banks of stupid Republican campaign moments in the past haven’t been completely erased by multiple insane Trumpisms this election season might fondly recall Rick Perry’s "oops" moment back in 2011: The none-too-swift Texas governor was quite sure there were three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate, but he could not quite come up with the name of the third.
Donald Trump, who once made fun of Perry for donning glasses to appear smart, did him one better this week. The Trumpster had a hard time naming even one federal department he would eliminate when asked the trademark conservative softball question by Sean Hannity in a Town Hall meeting.
“Absolutely,” Trump bellowed, well before whatever passes for his brain had engaged. “The Department of Environmental, I mean the DEP is killing us environmentally, killing our businesses.”
Let it not be said that Trump does not have specific ideas about how he will govern. The Department of Environmental, you have been warned.
5. Glenn Beck celebrates Easter in a very bizarre way.
Glenn Beck often seems to mix his biblical metaphors when speaking about his pal Ted Cruz, a man Beck believes has been chosen by God to lead us out of the darkness.
Speaking again about God’s chosen one, Ted, Beck compared the Texas senator to Moses. On Easter. He made this comparison when he talked about sending a sympathetic note to the Cruz family about those nasty tabloid rumors of Ted’s alleged infidelity (the least unlikable thing about him).
"These guys actually believe it like we believe it," Beck said quasi-incoherently, referring to Heidi and Ted Cruz. "Imagine being in a position to where you believe it, you believe the country is at the end, you believe that God is telling you, 'Step up to the plate.' You believe that you, just like Moses, may be slow in speech and not the perfect guy, but you know if you get in there, you can actually do something and you've tried to stay loyal. Do you know what that life is like for two years of tearing yourself apart, of please Lord, just tell me, just tell me, just tell me, I'll do it, just tell me. And the burden of I blew it? Oh my gosh, I don't want to be them."
Now, granted, Beck could have gone full tilt and compared Cruz to Jesus, but he went with Moses this time. Presumably, Jesus will come later. Maybe for Passover. Or is that Elijah? Stay tuned.