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David Horowitz: Now, was that written by a man or a woman?
Bernie Goldberg: It was written by a man. It was written by a man.
And it’s the kind of stuff you’d expect to read in a romance novel with Fabio on the cover.
Now, I could see where this guy may have gotten carried away, but editors let that crap get in the newspaper. They let that get in the newspaper. Okay, so that’s one kind of what you might call harmless example of how things got worse right after the election. Then, more recently, earlier this year, there was the debt ceiling debate. And this is how–this is how a number of–I’ll give you the names of the people. Now, Chris Matthews–wait, I don’t blame you. I don’t blame you. Chris–you see, this wasn’t–this isn’t just about–“When I hear him speak, I get a thrill running up my leg.” That’s what Chris Matthews said. And he’s a commentator. He’s allowed a comment. But that isn’t commentary. That’s a man crush. Okay?
So then during the debate–during the debate on the debt ceiling, Chris Matthews referred to the Republicans as Wahhabis–the Tea Party Republicans as Wahhabis. Wahhabis is a sect of Saudi–of Islam that’s especially harsh and unbending and all that. Tom Friedman, he’s a big time columnist for the New York Times, referred to them as Hezbollah, a terrorist group. Tina Brown, who runs Newsweek, described them as suicide bombers on Morning Joe. Peter Goodman, who used to be with the New York Times and now is an editor at Huffington Post, said they’re acting like terrorists. Yes, terrorists. That’s what he said.
A fellow named William Yeomans, who is a law professor at American University, wrote on Politico that the Tea Party caucus in the House were full blown terrorists. Fareed Zakaria on CNN said, what they’re saying is we’ll blow up the country if you don’t listen to us. Paul Krugman in the–I thought I’d get another round of groans on that. Paul Krugman in the New York Times wrote, basically the Republicans said, we’ll blow up the world economy unless you give us exactly what we want. Then Maureen Dowd, the perpetual junior high school student at the New York Times, she came up with a good one. She came up with a good one. She referred to them not as Wahhabis or–she wrote a piece that was entitled, “The Washington Chain Saw Massacre,” in which she referred to the Tea Party Republicans as monsters. No, but I mean really monsters. She said, “They’re an uncompromising new force that epitomized Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and evoke comparisons to our most mythic creatures of the night. Well, what kind of creatures of the night, right? Glad you asked. “They were like cannibals eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires draining the country’s reputation, credit rating, and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims – Boehner and President Obama. They were like the metallic beasts in Alien flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth bursting out of Boehner’s stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones.
David Horowitz: And the Occupy Wall Street criminals are idealists.
Bernie Goldberg: Yes. Okay. Then the other day–the other day, if you didn’t hear this you’ll think I’m making this up. There was a question at a live news conference in Honolulu and the CNN reporter said that the other day at the Republican debate in South Carolina, several of the candidates said that they were if not in favor of waterboarding they weren’t against waterboarding. And then, the question was – and to me nothing will ever top this in terms of if they don’t think this is biased, let’s shut out the lights, because you can never have a discussion with them. Here’s the question to the President. He said, I’m wondering, right–I’m wondering if you think they’re–referring–when he says “they’re” he’s referring to the Republicans who are not against waterboarding. I’m wondering, Mr. President, if you think they’re uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible. This is–these are the three choices. This is it. Were they uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible? How–this is the White House correspondent. It just amazes me.
And if you criticize this, you’re the one who is the rightwing crazy, who is always criticizing the media. But this should not be allowed. By their own people they should not be–by the way, to President Obama’s credit, he just sat there for what seemed like a week, but it was like three or four seconds. He even looked embarrassed by the question. It was as if he wanted to say, man, look, I know you all love me out there and I understand why you love me, but you can’t do this. This makes me look bad.
David Horowitz: To answer that question and to show how far we have slid in just the last few years, 10 years ago, Chris Matthews was a featured speaker at the Weekend. And he gave–no, no, no–he went–started out as a Goldwater Republican–and gave a speech on individual liberty and free economies and everybody loved it. And he has turned in an amazing way. But I think he’s symbolic of the whole media has shifted and become a leftwing media.
Bernie Goldberg: Let me just say that in–both in fairness and since this is going to happen, I want to look like I’m right down the road. They will be tough on Barack Obama from time to time. This is not 100% of the time where they’re slobbering all over him. And they will especially be tough on him when his poll numbers are down. This is when they feel–they feel their oats. You know? It’s like he’s down, so now we can kick him. But when he’s actually running against the real opponent, hopefully–well, let me take that back. When he’s running as a real opponent who will be more conservative certainly than Barack Obama or whoever it is, that’s when they will circle the wagons and jump back on the Obama team because they have too much invested in him. They sold out what was–what little was left of their reputation and now they have–you know, now they’re stuck. So they’re going to be with this guy, and it may not look like it every second of every day, but when push comes to shove, when he’s up against a real Republican, and especially if it looks like he may be in trouble of not winning reelection, they will–they will be back on Team Obama.
David Horowitz: Yes, and then the attack squad for Team Obama. I mean, it’s–they can be mildly critical of Obama if they are vicious on Republicans. So before we go to questions, would you like to get off your chest–.
Bernie Goldberg: –Yes–.
David Horowitz: –(Inaudible).
Bernie Goldberg: Thank you. Thank you. Here’s the thing, let me make clear that in this upcoming election, for instance, I will vote for Charlie Sheen before I’d vote for Barack Obama, okay?
So I say that, so you know that I’m one of you. But the orthodoxy that I see on our side troubles me. So when I got on O’Reilly and he says to me, do you think it’s legitimate for the press–well, I’ll give you that story in a second. I go on O’Reilly and I say something mildly negative about Michelle Bachman, with apologies to anybody in the room who supports Michelle O’Bachman–Michelle Bachman. Michelle Bachman. And I get an email–I get an email the second sentence of which is I’ve always appreciated your commentary. That’s an important point, because this is a person who likes me. The first three words of this email are, “You f’ing bastard.” And it doesn’t say f’ing, it’s the whole word.
And then, he goes on to say, you’re–forgive me for the vulgarity here–“You’re a goddamn leftist traitor. Watch your back, Bernie, because we’re coming for you.” You wouldn’t laugh if it was aimed at you. I’ll tell you that. “Resign now or your job will be the last thing you have to worry about.” Okay? Now, I’m not saying I get 12 of these a day, but it’s not unique. It’s not unique because I criticize somebody that he likes. You have to–when you–when I say something that conservatives like when I’m on O’Reilly, I literally get love letters–I mean this literally–from people who don’t know me who say, “We love what you say, please keep saying it. Thank you.” And you know, a guy coming from a lower middle class background in the Bronx, the first person to go to college in my family, that means a lot to me. You stray that much and you hear from people like that, that troubles me.
Then you know, I made a note here, because this is the one thing I did want–not the one thing. This is one thing I did want to get into. So talk amongst yourselves for about 10 seconds until I find the page where I–okay, we’ve got it. Here it is. All right. Then I said something that somebody didn’t like about the Tea Party people. You know, I mean, I think the Tea Party people have done a great deal of good. I mean, if it weren’t for the Tea Party people we wouldn’t be having a discussion about debt.
We wouldn’t be having a discussion about spending. They’ve done a great deal of good. But the Tea Party, because they are what I call purists, along with people like Rush Limbaugh, who is very smart about politics, but he’s a purist. These are people who want the most conservative candidate to be nominated. Okay? I want to get to that in a second. So I said something, whatever it was, maybe it was–you know what it probably was? It was that the same Tea Party that did all of this good also brought us Sharon Angle and Christine O’Connell, and I would rather have two RINO Republicans than two liberal Democrats in the Senate. That’s a reasonable position. You may not agree with it, but it’s–you can understand that position. I mean, that’s our real life choice, you know? Those two got–were the Tea Party favorites because they were the most conservative, but they were disasters and we got two liberal Republicans, one of them Harry Reid, by the way, because we were–Tea Party had to be purists.
So I get this–I get this email that says, “You fear and despite Tea Party candidates. We get it. You media elites must support the anti-American, pro-union, pro-illegal alien, pro-gay agenda, anti-business, pro-cultural diversity, Social Fascist agenda of Hussein the Destroyer. We get it. Go away please for the good of the country.” Well, how about screw you for the good of the country?
That kind of orthodoxy bothers me. That kind of orthodoxy bothers me. During the Bush years, after 9/11 there were the Truthers, people who thought that George Bush was behind 9/11. These people–I mean this literally–have a mental–some kind of mental defect, because if you think the President of the United States bombed–helped bomb, you know, and kill 3,000 Americans, you’re crazy.
And I know–I met some of these people, so I know where the craziness stems from. It’s–it comes from an irrational hatred of George Bush. Okay? So they’re crazy, right? We all agree on that? They have their truthers, we have our birther. And I’ll bet you there are a few birthers in this audience. And the first birther–so nothing personal when I say that I think you’re nuts. The first birther I met was at this weekend in 2008. I said something negative about them, and I got literally thousands–literally thousands of emails on my website. And they say things–they say things like, you don’t know what the birth certificate is fake. That’s the whole thing. And look at it under a microscope and you’ll see that the “e” on the third line is really an “x.” I mean, this is what they actually say.
And you’re wondering, if the President of the United States wanted to come up with a phony birth certificate, would he really make the “e” an “x”? I mean, this is how crazy they get. Now you could say they’re fringe–you’re fringe, you know, and we could just ignore you. But there are two reasons I can’t do that. One is that if they come out of the woodwork anywhere near the election, they could scare off enough independents that will make a difference. So if you want to believe this crazy crap, keep it to yourself until after the election.
And the second thing is, it troubles me deeply that the leaders of the Republican Party–McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor–won’t stand up to any of these people. Boehner was–McConnell was asked about a survey that showed 31% of Republicans–31%–think Barack Obama is a Muslim. That’s disgraceful. And he was asked about it. And he said, well, I think–he says he’s a Christian, that’s good enough for me. Well, no. I don’t think that’s good enough. You’re a leader. You have to say, look, he’s a Christian. I wish this other thing would just go away. And when people say he’s not a citizen of the United States, he’s not a legitimate President, and they asked Boehner and Cantor that, they say well, he says he was born in Hawaii and I believe he was born in Hawaii, and people can believe whatever they want. No. I mean, yes, legally they can believe whatever they want. But if you’re a leader, you don’t say people can believe whatever stupidity that they want. And it is stupid. And that’s obviously about our side.
Thank you. Thank you. This would be a good time to boo and hiss if anybody wants to do that. Now, okay. You think I pissed you off with that? This one’s going to really go over. Bill–because you never talk about religion with people you don’t know personally, so here goes.
Bill O’Reilly asked me on the air, is it legitimate for reporters to ask about a candidate’s religious beliefs. And I said if religion is important in the candidate’s life, absolutely. Now I could have ended right there. But of course I didn’t. And I said, let me give you an example. If somebody believes that the earth is 6,000 years old, and I said something ignorant like that, then that may not affect the candidate’s economic policy or foreign policy, but I guarantee you it’s going to affect something, if you believe something like that. Hundreds and hundreds of emails followed that one.
Now, I am as open-minded as anybody you’ll ever meet. If you want to believe in God, that’s fine with me. If you don’t, none of my business. You want to believe anything based on faith is absolutely fine with me, as if it matters if it’s fine with me or not. But it is. I couldn’t care less, one way or the other, what people believe in terms of faith. But when we get articles in the New York Times or columns, Republicans against science, that troubles me because independents may be affected by that. And the earth is not 6,000 years old. It isn’t, even if the Bible says it is. If the Bible says it is, and I’m saying it isn’t, I’m right and the Bible’s wrong. Yes, that’s absolutely a fact.
And they’re on our side, these people. And don’t think there are twelve of them. There are millions of them who believe this kind of nonsense. And they’re on our team. That troubles me.
One word about Herman Cain. I like him. He seems like a real good guy. I know all of you like him. The point I made once was, let’s say at some point–I don’t think anybody should abandon him based on what we know so far. Friends don’t abandon friends based on what they know so–at this point. But let’s say at some point–I said, hypothetically–let’s say it comes out that, you know, this stuff is probably true. Conservatives who like Herman Cain are going to stick with him just as liberals sold out every one of their liberal values by sticking with Bill Clinton. They said, I mean–Paula Jones came forward and said he was Governor, I was a low-level state employee. He exposed himself in a hotel room right in front of me. Now, none of us were there.
We don’t know if it’s true or not, absolutely. I believe it. I have no doubt that it happened, actually. But I don’t have proof that it happened. When Kathleen Willey said that the President grabbed her ass in the White House, I believe that. When Juanita Broderick said–and she was a respected businesswoman, she wasn’t 25 years old either–she was a respected, grown-up businesswoman–said that Bill Clinton raped her in a hotel room in Little Rock when he was Attorney General of the state, I believe that. I don’t know any of these things for absolute certainty, any more than we know for absolute certainty what happened with Herman Cain and these women. But if it turns out at some point, if there’s evidence that these things happened, we have a choice. We could be just like those pathetic liberals who stood by Clinton instead of by their values. We conservatives have values, too. Are we going to stand by our values, or are we going to stand by Herman Cain, if it turns out that there’s more to it?
And I think I understand why this happens. What we’re really saying is, those liberal bastards have been screwing us for years, especially the ones in the media. And if one of our guys does something now, we’re not going to roll over on him. We’re just not going to do it. They stood by their guy, we’re going to stand by our guy. This is what happened after O.J. Simpson was found not guilty, and there was that shot on television with all the black college kids cheering. You think they were cheering because the evidence was overwhelming that O.J. Simpson was innocent? No, they were cheering because they said, take that, whitey. You’ve been screwing with us, now we’re screwing with you.
Well, we could do that. And then let’s make no mistake. Let’s not be sanctimonious. We will be no better than the people who we’ve been condemning on the other side. That’s my concern about conservative orthodoxy.
Can I just say one other thing that I thought we would get into? Do we have like two minutes?
David Horowitz: Yes, we’re down on the–.
Bernie Goldberg: –Two minutes–.
David Horowitz: –Time for questions.
Bernie Goldberg: This is about–this is about the split in the Republican Party. And there is a split. And it’s between the purists and the realists. The purists, Rush Limbaugh would be a leading spokesman on that side, along with some tea party people. They want the most conservative candidate in this group to get the nomination. The realists want the most viable conservative candidate to get the nomination, meaning the one who can actually beat Barack Obama. That’s the Bill Buckley philosophy. For whatever it’s worth, I’m on Team Buckley on that.
Now the conservatives say–and Rush Limbaugh’s very smart when it comes to politics. He’s not just good on the radio. He’s very smart. He says that the most conservative candidate can win. Well, I think he’s wrong. He points to Ronald Reagan and says, Ronald Reagan was conservative, and he carried 49 states in one election. Okay? Name two conservative presidents in the last 80 years. Name two. You can’t. There’s only one–Ronald Reagan. And it wasn’t just because he was conservative. It was because of his personality, because of his optimism. Yes, Eisenhower, he wasn’t a conservative. Nixon wasn’t. Neither of the Bushes were conservative. They were more conservative than their liberal opponents, yes. But they weren’t conservative. And if we had nominated a more conservative candidate than whichever ones we nominated, there’s a good chance that person would have lost the general election. You think Pat Buchanan would win the election? Do you think that?
Rush Limbaugh articulates conservative values probably better than any famous person in America. Rush Limbaugh couldn’t be elected anything on a national ticket–on a coast-to-coast national ticket. Why not? If he’s the most conservative, why couldn’t he win? Because he’s too polarizing. People love him or hate him. And I tend to think that’s what happens when the purists want the most conservative candidate, because they think– because they want it to happen, they think it will happen, that the most conservative candidate will win the election.
It’d be nice if the most conservative candidate would, but I want the most viable conservative to win the nomination, because I want Barack Obama to take a hike next Election Day, and if that means supporting somebody who isn’t–who isn’t a real conservative, I have no problem doing that. And I’m not selling out my values, which is the emails I always get. If I say something good about Mitt Romney, you’re a sellout, you have no principles. Bull. I have principles. I have principles. I’m just not a purist where I think that compromise is tantamount to a crime against humanity. And I’m not giving an inch because our side, you know–Rush says, why do we have to compromise–our side won. Our side won what? We won the last election. Last time I checked, the President was still a Democrat and the Senate was still Democratic.
This kind of thinking–let me end with this. This kind of thinking will lead to a Democratic victory. If the Democrats–if Barack Obama wins re-election, it won’t be because the economy suddenly got better. It won’t be because unemployment is suddenly six or seven percent. It won’t be because suddenly instead of 75% of the American people thinking we’re on the wrong track, they think we’re on the right track. If we lose this election, it will be for one reason. Because we picked the wrong candidate. I hope we pick the right candidate. Thank you.
David Horowitz: I’m going to let–we have time for one question. Yes–you get the one question.
Unidentified Audience Participant: (Inaudible).
David Horowitz: She asked what is your email address.
Bernie Goldberg: Go to my website. My website is bernardgoldberg.com. And there’s a place there where you can go to contact bernardgoldberg.com, and I get all the emails. And I read them all. Even the ones that begin with you f’ing bastard.
Unidentified Audience Participant: Well, I just bought two of your books, and thank you for being here. I am–and David knows me very well. I’m a daily warrior in Republican politics for 35 years. I raise money. That’s what I do for a living. And you spoke earlier about eating our own, and that that was the liberal critique. And I’m a conservative, and I will tell you we eat our own. And in California we do it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I loved all of the thinking. I’ve tried to stay away from this part of politics because raising money is complicated enough. But I’m glad that everybody is absorbing this information, but I want to know what you’re going to do with it when you leave. And I don’t necessarily need to hear what you’re going to do with it. I just hope you do something about it, because we need boots on the ground. We need you to write a $10 check. We need you to give these guys a chance to show who they are as candidates, because it will tell you a lot about who they’re going to be as President. And we tend to run like lemmings–this is actually a question, but my question to you is, what can we take away from this conference, and the knowledge and how you’ve taught us how to think, and not necessarily to be purists, because I think purists have more of a tendency to eat their own than pragmatic realists–help–.
Bernie Goldberg: –Well, in terms–.
Unidentified Audience Participant: –and tell us what to do and how to be–.
Bernie Goldberg: –Well, I can’t tell you what to do. I got a call from somebody who, let’s just in the broad sense say was somebody with presidential hopefuls on the Republican side. And he actually called me–this is how pathetic this guy was. He called me and asked for my advice. And I said, no, no, I don’t give advice. I’m a journalist. I don’t do that. Now, you can call other people, like Sean Hannity, and he’ll give advice. And I don’t mean that as a shot, but we don’t do the same thing for a living. I’m a journalist. I analyze the situation. I can tell you, and this is not really what you’re asking, but I can tell you what to take away from this is that the media is not going to be fair. They are going to be an obstacle. They will not throw the election one way or the other, but they will affect the least sophisticated voters–independents–who are the only ones who matter, by the way. They’re the only ones who matter at this point.
Anybody in this room who doesn’t vote for the Republican candidate, whoever it is, you have just voted for Barack Obama. So Republicans are going to vote for the Republicans, and Democrats–not in the same numbers as in the past–are going to vote for the Democrat. But it’s the independent–I just thought of the one piece of advice I can give, to take away. The other thing is the press isn’t going to help you. They will matter a little bit, but they are the enemy. But the one piece of advice would be–I forgot what it was. I feel–I feel like. You know who I feel like? I feel like Perry.
David Horowitz: Independents. You were thinking independents.
Bernie Goldberg: Independents. What about–I will–but unlike Perry, who (inaudible) for 53 seconds, I will tell you that I will think of it in a few seconds. And if I have to track each one of you people down individually to tell you what it is, I’ll do it.
David Horowitz: All right. Let’s give Bernie a big hand.
Bernie Goldberg: I just thought of what it is. What it is, is that you should think–you should think about not who is it of the candidates who are going to please the people in this room. You should think who is it that we can pick who is going to please those people we don’t even necessarily respect, but those people will decide this election. So just keep that someplace in your mind, that those are the people who matter most. I’m not saying you have to sell out your principles, but I am saying, if you don’t win the independents, you will lose the election.
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