“…the more one watches Fox News, the stupider one becomes.”

Mollie Hemingway
Image via YouTube

Mollie Hemingway has been carrying polluted water for Trump for a couple of years now. Monday she claims a monopoly on wisdom with: What Pundits Get Wrong About The Border Security Fight. Hemingway doesn’t get much right.

Some Mindless Mollie prose:

It is absolutely true that the shutdown ended without Trump being able to deliver increased border security. The failure to end the shutdown with increased border security is a victory for Pelosi, who said she’d refuse to even think about the topic until the government was re-opened. She won that standoff.

Mr. Trump could easily “deliver increased border security.” Trump could make that deal with Congress in a heartbeat. In fact the administration has failed to spend nearly $1.6 billion in funds provided for border security. More is available.

Trump’s shills on Fox News have tried to frame this as a controversy over border security. Hemingway follows suit; it’s the easier path. The truth is that the issue is confined to the wall which, I will remind her, was supposed to be paid for by Mexico. Trump will not discuss anything other than the wall. Border security and the wall are not synonymous.

Rinse and repeat:

It is also true that the government is only re-opening for three weeks. This is not necessarily a permanent failure to secure the border. All will depend on what the White House, Pelosi, and Senate Republicans do in the interim. But here there is also reason for concern from those who support borders, rule of law, and national sovereignty.

Again, she has substituted the wall for “borders, rule of law and national sovereignty.” It is intellectually dishonest. The only reason Trump wants the wall is that it was a campaign promise. One made without any thought or study. It sounded good to Trump’s Alt-Right base, particularly if Mexico picked up the tab.

The wall is a vanity project with no real benefit except to Trump’s fragile ego. There are far more effective solutions that are not being discussed because Trump refuses to discuss them. Trump wants his wall irrespective of economic or practical logic. It’s personal and no amount of evidence will get Trump to relent.

Yet again:

Pelosi also has a challenge during the three-week negotiation period. Newly emboldened, she may just put her foot down and refuse to do anything on the border. However, while “defeating Trump” is good for beltway accolades, “failing to secure the border when given an opportunity” could pose problems in the coming years. Plus, 30 Democrats called on Pelosi to give Trump a vote should he agree to a temporary reprieve, which he did.

Speaker Pelosi was quite clear that she will not provide funding for a wall. That is not a “refusal to do anything on the border.” Nixing the goddamned wall is not “failing to secure the border.” Trump has an opportunity to improve border security if he only considers ideas other than the useless wall. He is behaving like a two-year-old who has tantrums when he doesn’t get his way.

Just to be clear, those 30 Democrats Hemingway refers to, led by freshmen Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, wanted to guarantee a House vote — not passage — of a bill including $5.7 billion for the wall. Pelosi has not passed on any assurance of a vote.

Pelosi is the leader of the Democrats. But among the reasons that might not be a good thing for them is that Pelosi’s negative ratings shot up during the shutdown. In fact, she has a bigger spread in favorable and unfavorable ratings than Trump does. A just-released NBC/WSJ poll had 28 percent of those surveyed viewing her favorably and 47 percent unfavorably, a 19-point spread. By contrast, Trump had 39 positive and 51 negative for a 12-point spread. McConnell, for his part, has an 18-point unfavorable spread.

According to CNN on Sunday:

In an average of the five most recent polls taken, Pelosi’s net favorability rose 3 points compared to where she was before the shutdown began. The average poll now consistently has Pelosi more popular than Trump.

Moreover, Gallup shows Pelosi with a 10 point unfavorable spread while, in the same poll, Trump is 18 points under water. Pelosi’s approval improved. Hemingway cites a partially obscured third-person tweet (without a link) to support her contention.

Hemingway continues to cite polls with clipped tweets that do not link to the polls themselves:

Speaking of what pundits get wrong, that same poll showed another interesting result. When asked to pick one of two choices for their view of government in D.C., more people chose “we need to keep shaking things up” than “we need more competence,” a suggestion of dissatisfaction with the establishment’s failures.

“Keep shaking things up” might very well be a view that citizens shook things up by changing control of the House and now should vote for Democratic control of the Senate. Competence? Professional economists (Ds and Rs) cited by news sources overwhelming support free trade and oppose Trump’s trade wars. According to science Trump is wrong on global warming. Military experts, including Mattis, say that Trump is wrong on foreign policy. Trump is wrong on the wall.

Where is the competence? On anything? If the pundits are wrong it is on failing to adequately educate the public. Climate change, for example, is a scientific fact — which remains questionable for nearly half of our citizenry. Furthermore, the more one watches Fox News, the stupider one becomes. A major cable news network is deliberately misinforming the public for partisan political advantage.

Pick a poll, any poll:

In their glee to stomp on Trump, media figures tended to ignore Pelosi’s extremely low numbers while saying untrue things about Trump’s ratings. For example, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos claimed on his show “This Week” that Trump was “coming back from a 35-day stalemate that drove his poll numbers to historic lows.” That’s simply not true.

The simple fact — one that Hemingway chooses to ignore — is that, regardless of polls, Trump created the shutdown. Those pundits got that right because Trump made that admission on television in advance. Another fact is that which those pundits got right is that the wall was not just cause for a government shutdown. Trump was trying to engineer  unconstitutional supremacy of the executive branch of government. Those pundits also got right that the wall serves no practical purpose and is a waste of money.

The point I am trying to make is that George Stephanopoulos might have made a factual error regarding poll results. Hemingway is dishonestly assigning a motive (“glee to stomp on Trump”). It is dishonest unless she is a mind reader. More importantly being wrong on a poll is not a substitute for being right on the important factual issues.

One more time: Substitute the idiotic wall for border security:

Now that Trump has given Pelosi her demand in exchange for negotiating border security, it falls on both houses of Congress to do something with that reprieve. They could continue to do little to nothing to deal with the structural problems that have led to the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs across the border. That’s a very serious possibility given the fact that elected Republicans and elected Democrats have a history of not doing what it takes to address problems there.

I have a different version of history when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform which includes border security. But the history is less important than the present. Congress is not going to approve a wall. Period. “Structural problems?” What does that mean?

As evidenced by her polemics, Hemingway is not interested in solving any real problems. She seemingly has only one goal which is to bolster Trump. Trump is not worth it.

I don’t even understand the problem at the border. Progressives like to cite the fact that arrests are way down. I find that meaningless. Conservatives talk about drugs, MS-13 and so on while they will cite any crime committed by an unauthorized immigrant. The truth, as I understand it (and I am open to change), is that most unauthorized immigrants — the vast majority — are people who entered the country legally and then overstayed their visas. I could be wrong.

I also think that our willingness to accept asylum seekers is part of being American. The real problem with MS-13 (which was born in Los Angeles) is that people are fleeing street gangs in central America. We need workers. There is no reason not to accept legitimate — vetted — asylum seekers who need to enter the U.S. to seek asylum. The answer might be to allow people to seek asylum as a U.S. embassy or consulate. Trump has an irrational and racist fear of turning America browner which prevents him from considering alternatives. (I am not a Trump mind reader. I just have a good memory.)

The first step to solving any problem is to fully understand the problem. Trump has shown no understanding whatsoever. Hemingway is clueless. I am clueless because Congress has not done its job and released nonpartisan findings on border security and immigration. We are all in the position of not knowing what we don’t know. I know that I do not know what I do not know. Mollie Hemingway seems to think that she is omniscient.

Of all the things that Trump has done, and continues to do, the worst is that he has surrounded himself only with people who tell him what he wants to hear. It is the biggest mistake that any manager can make.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.