Texas Governor Rick Perry joined me in hour three of my show Tuesday to discuss the end of his 14-year run in the Austin statehouse –and perhaps the start of his 2016 campaign– with a side of Johnny Football thrown in:
HH: So pleased to welcome back Texas Governor Rick Perry, nearing the end of a record run as the chief executive of the Lone Star State. Merry Christmas, Governor, welcome.
RP: Well, Merry Christmas, Hugh. I hope you have a great one, and it’s awfully good here in Texas. I suspect it’s going to be a record year for us economically and otherwise. So Santa’s going to be busy on Christmas here.
HH: Now Governor Perry, how long have you been the governor of Texas?
RP: Well, on the 20th day of December, I think we were celebrating our 14th year. So it’ll be 14 years, and a bit over. So a good gun, and it’s been a great honor for my wife and myself to serve.
HH: That is remarkable. And will you be used to not being governor? I mean, that’s going to be quite a change in your life not to be on call 24/7.
RP: Well, I suspect I’ll still be on call 24/7. It just may be in a little different role. I’m not going to ride off into the sunset. I’m going to continue to stay engaged, and you know, go do some private sector things. And who knows? We’ll be in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina during that period of time, too. So we’re going to be staying busy. Continue Reading
“It’s quite apparent, quite obvious that the targeting of these two police officers was a direct spinoff of this issue of these demonstrations.”
No pundit made this charge , no talking head on radio or television. It didn’t come from the head of the police union in New York.
That’s NYPD Commission Bill Bratton, talking on Monday’s Today show. Bratto n was hand-picked by Mayor Bill DiBlasio a mayor who finds himself assailed from all sides for allowing a fever of antipolice hatred to catch and spread, one which reached a horrible conclusion over the weekend with the assassinations of Officers Ramos and Liu.
Many are angry not just with Bill DiBlasio but also with veteran race agitator Al Sharpton and his MSNBC enablers, with Attorney General Eric Holder and even with President Obama. Defenders of police, and of civil society generally, are wondering who is responsible for this spiral back to the old days of a racially -divided country, one in which conflict and even combat between white and black was common?
At the same time, conservatives especially are very slow to argue causation of killing and violence beyond those directly responsible for the murders. They remember all too well the attempt by the left to spin the shootings in Tucson that wounded then Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, killed United States Court District Judge John Roll and five others and wounded another 11 into an attack on “Tea Party extremists. ” That was an appalling effort to make a mad-man into a political actor, and there wasn’t a shred of evidence that killer was other than psychotic.
On Friday, in a very important column, Charles Krauthammer wrote about the psychotic who are sufficiently “organized” in their thoughts to identify targets and funnel their illness into rage against categories people like unnamed police officers or on behalf of vague causes like the Islamic State. “Crazy” lone wolves are very hard to predict but perhaps all too easy to “suggest” targets to. “Evil” lone wolves like Major Nidal Hassan, develop their own plans and carry them out.
“The real terrorists are rational,” Krauthammer wrote.
“Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, had been functioning as an Army doctor for years,” the psychiatrist turned columnist continued. “Psychotics cannot carry that off. Hasan even had a business card listing his occupation as SoA (Soldier of Allah). He then went out and, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” shot dead 13 people, 12 of them fellow soldiers. To this day, Hasan speaks coherently and proudly of the massacre. That’s terrorism.”
The debate raging this week about DiBlasio and Sharpton concerns their complicity not with the latter category of evil people bent on their own twisted ideology-fueled carnage, but the psychotics capable of hearing enough voices to be nudged in one direction or another.
President Bill Clinton once famously tried to argue that Rush Limbaugh and talk radio had nudged Timothy McVeigh in the direction of the catastrophe of the Oklahoma City bombing. This was a disgusting, calculated political strategy, and it worked, though it remains so shameful that Clinton denies it. There was no tie between the killers of 1995 and any talk show host.
But the NYPD Commission sees a direct causal link to the weekend killings from the weeks of protests and demonstrations, some field by extreme anti-police rhetoric and rage. The killer’s own scribblings and rage filled postings buttress Bratton’s theory.
I spoke at length with both Krauthammer and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol about this “causation” issue on Monday’s radio show. The audio and transcript of my conversation with Krauthammer is here. The audio and transcript of my interview of Kristol is here. I hope you can listen to or read both of them.
Every episode of violence deserves a close examination of the factors “causing” the killer to act. Most of the mass shootings of our era in our country are psychotics blazing away. A few are lone wolf terrorists working out their fanaticism and their warped plans. Abroad –in the attack on the Pakistani military school and the cold-blooded murder of children by single shots to the head– we see the work of true horrors: the very sane fanatic, committed and absolute in his loyalty to his cause, however misconceived, however objectively evil. Such people have gained control of nation-states in the past. Their names are Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. ISIS is the latest to seek to combine nation-state status with ideological fury even as the Taliban did prior to 9/11, even as they would like to do again.
Responding to every act of violence with appropriate anger and punishment –legal, political, or social– depends on delineating carefully which motives are moving the killers, and a careful, precise examination of who –if anyone– is to blame for the actions of the killers beyond themselves. This process is underway now with a focus on NYC, just as it followed in the wake of the horror of Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tucson, Fort Hood and of course 9/11 and Columbine, just as it unfolded in Feguson after the death of Michael Brown and in Staten Island after the death of Eric Garner. It is always a necessary process, but one that has to admit of distinctions and which has to proceed with care –not the strong points of modern MSM. The inquiry can itself feed a destructive narrative, thus the need for care and responsibility in judging, but judging must be done.
The next few days will mark either a significant cooling in the anti-police rhetoric and protests, or an acceleration of the confrontations. For the first time in years I will be broadcasting live on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day because of these events, asking the question whether the last six weeks have been a spasm that has passed or a convulsion that is growing in its intensity. A Christmas prayer for the former would be a very good idea as a return to the old days –enabled by social media– would make the Occupy Movement seem almost childlike.
Bill Kristol On Causation: Why Was It Wrong For Clinton To Attack Rush Limbaugh After Oklahoma City, But Right To Blast DiBlasio After The Assassination of Two NYPD Officers
Most everyone on the right and many in the middle and a few on the left correctly condemned Bill Clinton’s attack on Rush Limbaugh in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, but now many who condemned Clinton then are pointing fingers at MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio and even President Obama for fueling a climate of anti-police hatred that has encouraged violence directed at the men and women in blue. Is it possible to be both condemning of Clinton for making a false linkage in 1995 and then, nearly two decades later, make the same sort of linkage in a different setting?
The answer of course is yes, because the issue is causation. Not all allegations of tortious conduct end up with verdicts against the accused, but many do. It depends on the sequence familiar to any first year law student: liability for torts depends upon a showing of proof of duty, breach, injury, causation –actual (“but-for”) and proximate (“legal”)– and damages. Many claims of liability for injuries suffered fail on the causation prong of the proof sequence –the links are too tenuous.
That was the case in 1995 –there was zero link between Rush’s programming and Timothy McVeigh. Today’s critiques of Sharpton et al for the deaths of NYPD officers Ramos and Liu rest on the persuasiveness of the argument that they contributed to the killer’s murderous actions, and are not more or less persuasive because Clinton launched a terribly unjust attack two decades ago.
To be clear: Everyone has to make their own judgment, but that Bill Clinton made a terrible argument in 1995 shouldn’t foreclose an inquiry into cause and effect in 2014, a subject I discussed with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol today:
HH: I’m joined now by the editor of the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol. Hello, Bill, thank you for joining me at these holiday times.
BK: Happy to be with you, Hugh, happy holidays.
HH: Thank you, and to you. Now the story of the hour is Mayor de Blasio today who both gave a speech and a press conference. In the latter, he blamed the media for creating the climate. Charles Krauthammer said earlier on this show in the first hour the President should be embarrassed by Sharpton. He also said that Sharpton had imposed on Ferguson and Staten Island the issue of race. And questions today are being raised about culpability. What do you make about the general argument about the assassination of Officer Ramos and Liu being linked to anyone other than the killer?
BK: Look, the killer’s responsible, and I think you and I have argued this for years. You take one event, a country of 320 million people, and you all of a sudden want to start blaming broader social trends or forces. On the other hand, the killer did say that it was revenge for the, I guess, for these two incidents. And these two incidents have been distorted and hyped pretty consciously by people in the media like Al Sharpton, and unfortunately by political leaders like de Blasio. I mean, I said this on Morning Joe. I was in New York. I was really struck, incidentally, how much people in New York, how upset they are, and these are, you know, the cameramen and the cab drivers. And I don’t know what their politics are. But I mean, they are with the cops, and they are not happy that their own mayor has felt that this was a good chance to give lectures about three centuries of racism and about what he tells his son in private about dealing with cops. And you know, the guy was grandstanding. The guy was using it as an opportunity to make political points. And now, something terrible happens, maybe somewhat related to what he did, and now it’s all hey, these radical protesters, I had nothing to do with them. It was all peaceful protesters. I was on the train back to D.C. during the press conference, and I just read some of the transcript. What were these peaceful protesters, according to de Blasio, protesting? I mean, he’s the mayor of the city. Was it the Democratic governor? Was it President Obama, the president of the United States? Eric Holder’s the attorney general. If they want policy changes, they should pick up the phone and get their, get the people who they voted for to put through those policy changes. The Republican Congress isn’t blocking anything they want to do. You know what I mean? So when they endorse this kind of protest, it’s the sort of 60s protest against the society. That’s what they’re doing. There’s no practical public policy issue here. Continue Reading