PBS NewsHour Agenda: Trashing Conservatives in Congress Is What We Do

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The “Week In Review” segment at the PBS NewsHour on Friday nights is a popular segment. That might be because liberals love the way they trash conservative Republicans routinely. 

Both David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart denounced Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) for his hold on Pentagon nominees to protest the Biden team’s policy of paying for abortion tourism for service members. But get this: the word “abortion” or the entire concept of “reproductive rights” never came up.

Anchor Geoff Bennett loved a Republican calling it a “national security suicide mission.” David Brooks compared Tuberville to Sen. Ted Cruz in the “Tearing At All Down” department. 

GEOFF BENNETT: Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, he’s a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He said that Tuberville’s blockade will be remembered as a — quote — “national security suicide mission.” You see the full quote there on your screen.

David, it also raises questions about whether the Senate confirmation process is broken and whether the Senate as an institution, I mean, that one person could wield so much power and gum up the works here.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. So, as a big PBS fan, I used to watch Tommy the — or Thomas the Tank Engine. [Laughter.] And there’s a phrase in Thomas the Tank Engine that is, it isn’t wrong, we just don’t do it. And that’s the kind of unofficial norm that every institution needs to survive and thrive. We don’t have rules about everything, but there are certain things we do around here. And all those norms have been — not all, but most have been eviscerated in the U.S. Senate.

I think back even Ted Cruz came to office, and he was in the Senate, I don’t know, weeks, and he was already tearing the place down. And so, if Tuberville is able to tear the place down on his own, that leads me to believe we are no longer in a place where we can allow single senators to block everything.

Later, Bennett added Tuberville said he’s not budging, and Brooks shot back: ”Yes, it’s a rare person who could be hated by his entire workplace and still keep going. But he seems willing.” This is not true of ex-conservative Brooks, who has cozied right up to liberals at The New York Times and at PBS. 

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There was more of a divide on Speaker Mike Johnson. Bennett underlined that Johnson was pushing an Israel foreign-aid spending package with nothing for Ukraine, and this was DOA because the Senate Democrats and Biden won’t go for it. So when you won’t do exactly what Democrats want, Jonathan Capehart thinks you’re “throwing bombs.” Weird lingo for an anti-Hamas package….

CAPEHART: Is he serious?…does he realize he’s a constitutional officer and, now that he is speaker of the House, he has greater responsibilities? And that is to the nation’s national security and its defense. Or is he going to continue to operate like a backbencher, whose sole job — and a backbencher from an extremely safe district? So, his only job is to throw bombs and to introduce legislation that will go nowhere.

Brooks said he thinks Johnson is a bit like FDR, a hawk trying to nudge his caucus along on Ukraine, but he felt the need to say: “Now, comparing FDR to Mike Johnson is like comparing the Philadelphia Eagles to peewee football, so I’m not making that comparison.”

Yeah, Mike Johnson never put Japanese-Americans in prison camps. 

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