Amid coverage of the death of former President George H.W. Bush, early Monday afternoon, an MSNBC panel spent more time mourning the state of the Republican Party under President Trump than remembering the 41st president. The discussion took a particularly disturbing turn when RealClearPolitics Associate Editor A.B. Stoddard compared the GOP to children of an alcoholic parent.
Filling in for Andrea Mitchell during the noon ET hour, anchor Hallie Jackson noted how “it’s a very different Republican Party under 45 than it was under 41.” Moments later, she cited a New York Times article lamenting that, despite midterm losses, “there’s not a lot of signs of course correction inside the Republican Party moving forward.”
At that point, Stoddard warned: “...what these Republicans are talking about privately is a new delineation, a realignment that makes them the party of white men....And they took a beating across the board except for, largely, white men.”
Fretting over the make-up of the new Republican conference in the House of Representatives being “much more Trumpian and silent on this question,” Stoddard offensively ranted: “It’s like alcoholic children, you just laugh – of an alcoholic parent. You keep laughing and you hide in your bedroom when it’s really bad. They will not address this, their leadership refuses to, and they’re afraid of Trump.”
Jackson didn’t question the nasty characterization, which occurred as the headline on screen ironically read: “President George H.W. Bush Mourned Across Party Lines as Statesman, Man of Great Decency.”
Perhaps the best tribute to the late’s president decency would for members of the media to learn from his example and exercise some decency in their coverage this week.
Here is a transcript of the December 3 exchange:
12:53 PM ET
HALLIE JACKSON: It’s interesting to be listening to this conversation, Ron, about institutionalism and the respect for the office and to compare that with where the Republican Party is now. You know, plenty of Republicans respect President Trump, but it’s a very different Republican Party under 45 than it was under 41.
RON KLAIN [FMR. CHIEF OF STAFF TO GORE & BIDEN]: Well, different in every respect. I mean, President Trump spent this morning kind of reenacting Godfather 2 on his Twitter feed, tweeting out various efforts to obstruct justice and tamper with witnesses, even as President George H.W. Bush’s body was being brought back to Washington to lie in state. So I mean, in terms of kind of the class and the respect for the presidency, a very, very different thing.
Also, a really different thing on policy. George H.W. Bush was a conservative Republican president, but, he was also a president who passed a Clean Air Act, who passed a Civil Rights Restoration Act. I mean, he was a bridge between the Republican Party of an earlier era and the Republican Party we see today.
JACKSON: And the current Republican Party, A.B., and you’ve been talking with folks since the midterms, where they dropped a lot of seats, there’s no other way to put it. But as Jonathan Martin writes in The New York Times this morning, there’s not a lot of signs of course correction inside the Republican Party moving forward.
A.B. STODDARD [ASSOC. EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, REAL CLEAR POLITICS]: Right, what Jonathan points out and what these Republicans are talking about privately is a new delineation, a realignment that makes them the party of white men. This is a huge loss, the fact that women are so repelled by Trump in the suburbs, and moderate voters, and independent voters. A majority is not made by your base alone. And they took a beating across the board except for, largely, white men.
The new conference, without their 40 either retired colleagues or defeated colleagues, is much more Trumpian and silent on this question, so they can’t have a debate about a course correction. Even though they know that this is where the party’s headed. It’s an amazing moment. It’s like alcoholic children, you just laugh – of an alcoholic parent. You keep laughing and you hide in your bedroom when it’s really bad. They will not address this, their leadership refuses to, and they’re afraid of Trump.