Terry H. Schwadron
Aug. 10, 2018
A news commentary by Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and disclosure of a tape of Rep. Devin Nunes, R-CA, speaking to a private election fund-raiser were dominating the political airwaves yesterday, each for calling on Republicans to win to defend some kind of fantasy political, legal world.
Both involved bald, bold, and frankly, bad statements that should make us squirm uncomfortably. Apart from the passion of the speakers, each sentiments was offensive and yet, surprisingly candid for the speakers’ points of view. The problem is, both sets of remarks call up a world that ignores reality, that make mincemeat of the purpose of their roles, and that basically undercut values that have made America what it is.
From Ingraham, the target was immigration, stating the president’s case in terms so close to racist that she was being boxed around the ears by all sorts of groups, excluding former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, who hailed them.
Ingraham, who, like Sean Hannity, is among Trump’s most favored commentators, blames immigration for demographic changes in the country that she said leave it unrecognizable — ignoring contribution of waves of legal immigrants who were welcomed into and built much of America.
It almost was as if Ingraham was trying out new lines for Trump to use in the mid-term elections and beyond.
From Nunes, the remarks laid out the case to elect Republicans to Congress for the express reason of protecting President Trump in any criminal or impeachment-leaning investigation results from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. His candid remarks ignore issues of law, and while curiously acknowledging that “collusion” probably does include criminal acts, says Republicans exist to stop the investigation. This from the chairman of the House committee charged with investigating.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham said, “The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” because of demographic changes brought about by immigration. . . Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like,” she said as footage of agricultural work and the border played over her shoulder.
She targeted illegal and legal immigration. Ingraham called on Congress to act on immigration change, saying, “There is something slipping away in this country and it’s not about race or ethnicity. It’s what was once a common understanding by both parties that American citizenship is a privilege, and one that at a minimum requires respect for the rule of law and loyalty to our constitution,” she said.
When you hear all that political pundit talk about “dog whistles” to the base of Trump supporters, this is exactly what one key message is. The statements seem to harken to a time when whites of European background were in absolute majority, where values were Christian, where marriage meant heterosexual union, where there was no competition for schools, jobs, promotions and prosperity with non-whites, gays, transsexuals, and non-English-speaking populations.
It is a position, any charge of racism aside, denies the reality of living in our world. Ingraham is within her rights to offer her opinions, of course, but aligning with David Duke reflects a political arrangement that seems to slide way too far to the right on the immigration issue. There will be more pushback.
Besides, it does make you wonder what the world she wants actually looks like. There were good reasons to turn away from the tight repression of the Fifties, no?
In the audio recording leaked to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Nunes, argues that his party needs to retain control of the House of Representatives to protect Trumpfrom Mueller. In so doing, his blunt assessment overlooks any sense of objectivity at looking at the case yet to be laid out, and justification for his own continuing work to do anything to undercut the special counsel.
“If (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions won’t un-recuse and Mueller won’t clear the President, we’re the only ones, which is really the danger . . . we have to keep all these seats,” Nunes can be heard saying on a recording from a private fundraiser aired on the Rachel Maddow show on Wednesday. “We have to keep the majority.”
The recording was made surreptitiously by an unidentified member of a progressive group who attended a Republican fundraiser on July 30 in Spokane, Washington.
He also said an impeachment would delay the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
“I mean we have to keep all these seats,” Nunes is heard as saying. “We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away,” he added, apparently referring to keeping Republican control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections. According to NBC, Nunes also appeared to say that if a campaign received and released stolen emails from a foreign government — he used a hypothetical example of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA, (beneficiary of the fund-raiser) getting secret information from Portugal, where his ancestors are from — there would be a criminal element to that.
“But ultimately let’s say the Portuguese came and brought her some stolen emails. And she decided to release those. OK, now we have a problem, right?” Nunes said. “Because somebody stole the emails, gave them to Cathy, Cathy released them. Well, if that’s the case, then that’s criminal.”
Trump and his lawyers have been arguing of late that any “collusion” — which they say does not exist — is not a crime.
What bothers me most about this tape is not Nunes’ opinions; after all, he has made them well-known through his actions. But suborning his role as a representative of all the people of his district and beyond for the sole partisan view of undercutting a needed airing of issues surrounding the Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, obstruction of justice efforts and why Trump seems so tied to Russian leader Vladimir Putin is ignoring the job to which he was elected.
No, what bothers me most is Nunes’ failure to recognize the realities of our world, not just his fantasy world, just as I detest Ingraham’s myopia about what makes America American.