Fond Memory…CBS News’ George Herman

While reading today I came across a name too many young people do not know, and folks my age have long forgotten. But when George Herman was written about in David Brinkley’s Cronkite a genuine smile came over my face. (I am glad to have a space like this blog to highlight this newsman.)

Our home did not have a television until I was in the 6th grade, but one of the first faces I came to know each weekend was a rather serious sounding and low-key newsman who had the most important people in the nation stop by for a conversation. (Who would not want a job like that?) It did not take me long to get hooked on George Herman and CBS’ Face The Nation.

The sound of his broadcasting voice stood out to me. I just liked how he sounded. Having grown up with radio the voices of news reporters either connected or not, and the favorable ones I never forgot. In later years I would come to better understand it was the modulation of Herman’s even pacing when talking that connected with me. Today, I would phrase his television presence as unflappable, a solid journalist on air.

Here is what I mean, from a snippet of Herman from CBS. Herman died February 8, 2005, at age 85.

Epitome Of Ignorant Republican Southern Governor


There are times when one watches a news interview and has to wonder if the remote somehow placed the viewer on the comedy channel.  Such was the case when watching Face The Nation this morning where Mississippi Tate Reeves proved not every southern politician is ready for prime time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re glad to have you. According to Johns Hopkins, your state has a positivity rate of twenty-three percent, which is the highest in the nation when it comes to COVID infections. Where are you headed going into a fall that the CDC warns could be the worst ever?

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, I haven’t seen that particular data, but what I can tell you is in our state, we peaked with a seven-day average of one thousand three hundred and ninety-one cases on– on July the 29th. As of yesterday, we had brought that number down considerably to seven hundred and twenty-eight cases per the state of Mississippi for a seven-day trailing average.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But your state, I mean, I’m looking at a statement from your state health officer, it says that you have eleven hospitals with zero ICU beds currently available. That seems dangerous. Don’t you need to take more stringent measures? I mean, you seem to be characterizing this as under control, but this looks like your medical system could be overwhelmed.

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, Margaret, I think you may be looking at data that’s two or three weeks old, but the reality is in our state–

MARGARET BRENNAN: No, this is from a briefing this week with your state health officer.

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, the reality is in our state that we’ve actually cut the total number of cases on a daily basis in half over the last two and a half weeks. We peaked at thirteen hundred ninety-one as I mentioned earlier. We’re down around seven hundred right now. Do we have hospital capacity issues? We do. But the reality is, Margaret, in our state and virtually every other rural state across America, we have ICU bed issues and– and hospital capacity issues even when there’s not COVID-19.

So, knowing this information, in the good years there was nothing done in Mississippi to ensure that such a lack of medical capacity was resolved.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. You could shut down bars, for instance, to stop that community spread as the White House has asked some states to do. I do want to move on, though, because–

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: We– we have significantly limited bars in Mississippi.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, they close at 11: 00 PM.

That brought a howl of laughter from this home.


GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: I am confident that the– the ballots that are legally cast in the state of Mississippi will be counted and I’m also very confident that Donald J. Trump–

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you mean legally cast?

Oh, we know what that means in Mississippi.

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –is going to win Mississippi and he’s going to win it big. Every– every vote that is legally cast in the state of Mississippi will be counted in the November election, and I’m confident that once all of those votes are counted that Donald J. Trump is going to win Mississippi–


GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –and many other states overwhelmingly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah, I asked you what legally cast meant but– so your state doesn’t currently allow for absentee ballots, for fear of getting COVID. Like if someone doesn’t want it– doesn’t feel safe going to a polling booth and wants to vote by mail, you don’t allow for that right now. Why not?

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: We– we do not allow mail-in voting in the state of Mississippi. We think that– that our elections process, which has been in place for many, many years, is a– ensures that we have a fair process in which we have the opportunity to limit fraud. We still have fraudulent claims every single election. We’ve actually got many–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have a positivity rate of twenty-three percent.

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –folks in our state that have had– Democrats that have had–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Aren’t you worried about the health of your constituents?

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –Democrats that have gone to jail because of election fraud and it is just reality.

MARGARET BRENNAN: First of all, that’s– that’s is not substantiated, but–

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: The reality is that– that every legal ballot cast is going to get counted.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have a positivity rate of twenty-three percent in the state of Mississippi. Can you tell people that they can go to the voting booths and not get COVID? Why don’t you offer the option for someone who’s afraid of their health, someone with asthma, someone with diabetes, someone who’s overweight to send in their ballot by mail?

GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, we’re not going to allow them to send in the ballot by mail unless they legally qualify for an absentee ballot–

Some interviews are priceless.

Face The Nation Celebrates 65 Years Of Informing Nation

For the majority of my life Face The Nation has been a part of my Sunday mornings. Many in the nation can say the same. When in my late 20’s, and driving home on Sundays to be with my parents, I would listen to the show on CBS News Radio WBBM from Chicago (780 AM).  This week the show turned 65!


Deer In Headlight Interview Makes Senator Scott Look Pitiful

I have been watching news interview programs for over 40 years.  I have seen lively exchanges, witty responses, and wily dodges from news-makers.  But never have I witnessed such a poor performance, sluggish regard for questions, or a total lack of preparation for the topic at hand than what took place today with Senator Rick Scott on CBS.

This week Donald Trump stepped into a policy and political mess when he stated Republicans were going to change health care in the nation and then named Scott as one of the point people on Capitol Hill to “come up with something really spectacular”.

It was clear when Trump spoke he was not aware Scott has some troubles in his past with health care business dealings.  Had Trump done his homework he would have known Scott was not the best match for a public face concerning a new scheme from the GOP on this topic.  Scott was the CEO of the hospital company Columbia/HCA in the 1990s, and resigned four months after a federal inquiry into the company was made public. The company was later fined $1.7 billion in 2000 and 2007 for what was then the largest case of Medicare fraud in history.  OUCH!

It comes as no surprise there is no alternative GOP health care plan. Their plan is to repeal the ACA and leave folks with nothing.  When asked this morning on Face The Nation about his role as point man Scott stated it was the White House that would be weighing in on a plan.  With that it proved the unscripted words from Trump this past week has again placed their party where the leaders of the GOP wish not to land.

Margaret Brennan asked several times how the ACA could be repealed without something concrete to go in its place and Scott looked like a semi was barreling at him going 70 mph.  He offered pauses and then repeated a line about lowering costs for the third time–or was it the fourth?  Brennan nailed him by asking how important lower costs are if a person does not even have a health care plan?

If Republicans had a plan, they would have introduced it at some point in the last 10 years.  They have nothing to offer for policy and now have proved they do not even have a competent point person to spin lines for a news interview.


GOP Must Take Action Against Racist Congressman Steve King

It is easy for Republican members of congress to put out press releases lamenting the words of Iowa’s racist Republican Congressman Steve King.  But what are they willing to actually do so to show they are not going to allow such a bottom-dweller to continue to spout racist statements.  If we are to believe House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy it could be–reading between the lines here–a stripping of committee assignments from King.

The congressman has long been a purely racist prig and too many Republicans, for too long, have allowed for the rot to remain.

King has faced recent justified criticism after he told The New York Times that he thought it was wrong white nationalism and white supremacy were considered offensive.

White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?



Sunday morning the following interview was broadcast on Face The Nation.

Now lets bring King down to size come Monday, Mr. McCarthy.   Strip him of everything, including his white sheet.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. I want to ask you about Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King. You called some of his language reckless when he, in an interview with the New York Times, said the term, white nationalists and white supremacists, he didn’t know when they became offensive. Some Republicans have come out very strongly here. Jeb Bush–


MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Jeb Bush said it’s not enough to condemn him, that party leaders actually have to do something. Either support a primary opponent to challenge him, others have said he should be at least censured. Should there be action against Congressman King?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: First, and foremost, I came out at the very moment–that language has no place in America. That is not the America I know and it’s most definitely not the party of Lincoln.



MARGARET BRENNAN: –punished for it?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: I have a scheduled meeting with him on Monday, and I will tell you this: I’ve watched on the other side that they do not take action when their member says something like this. Action will be taken. I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party, because–

MARGARET BRENNAN: What does that mean?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: As a leader. There is a number of things you’ll see that is taking place, but I will not stand back as a leader of this party, believing in this nation that all are created equal–


REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY: –that that stands or continues to stand and have any role with us.

Republican Senator Kennedy Talks Honestly About Corrupt EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Common sense talk from Republican Louisiana Senator John Kennedy about the ethically-challenged and corrupt  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

KENNEDY: Well Mr. Pruitt and other members of the president’s cabinet, I would say ethics matter, impropriety matters, the appearance of impropriety matters. To the extent that you’re, stop acting like a chucklehead, stop the unforced error, stop leading with your chin. If you don’t need to fly first class don’t. Don’t turn on the siren on your SUV just to watch people move over, you represent the president of the United States. All of this behavior is juvenile, it’s distracting from the business that we’re trying to do for the American people.

I mean he either travels with 20 security folks or he doesn’t. He either flies first class every single time or he doesn’t. I don’t know what the allegations about his apartment are true or not. They don’t look good. Why do you want– in his position–why do you want to rent an apartment from a lobbyist for God’s sake? Stop leading with your chin. Now these are unforced errors. They are stupid. There are a lot of problems we can’t solve. But you can behave. I’m not–I don’t mean to denigrate Mr. Pruitt but doggone it he represents the president of the United States and it is hurting his boss and it needs to stop.

John Dickerson Expressed To Nation What We Need To Consider

John Dickerson provided for the essential ‘must see and hear’ moments from the Sunday morning news shows.  I loved the commentary that former host Bob Schieffer offered the nation each week, and knew that once Dickerson took over the reins there would be changes.  One should be allowed to make the show reflect the host.  But in this far too often up-side down world there is much to be said for seasoned and reasoned minds to ask the nation to take a breath and evaluate where we are with a dose of sanity.

That is precisely the role Dickerson played today.  I much appreciate his calm manner, his determined focus, his unrelenting drive to get facts, and then his ability to weave everything we have learned this past week into a powerful statement.

President Trump said President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

This week, the FBI director said there was no evidence of that. This wasn’t just a fact-check. It highlighted how lightly President Trump treats the presidency.

We have presidents and we have an office of the presidency. Opponents respect the office, even if they disagree with the occupant. Presidents are criticized, but the presidency is behind protective glass.

That’s why a president can come into office attacking his predecessor’s policies, but later celebrate the dedication of his predecessor’s presidential library. It is why George W. Bush prepared a smooth transition for Barack Obama, and why President Obama did the same for Donald Trump.

Once on the job, a president also gains respect for the presidency because they learn, as President Trump did this week, that the job is harder than it appeared from the campaign trail.

The historical continuity of the presidency is an heirloom and a tool. Presidents gain stature by hugging those who came before them. Donald Trump visited Andrew Jackson’s grave and compared himself to the seventh president, who also spooked elites.

These perks and protections are why presidents honor the presidency.

“I shall keep steadily in view the limitations of my office,” said Andrew Jackson. Break the limits, and you break the office.

Nevertheless, President Trump compared his predecessor to Nixon and McCarthy, called him sick and bad.

To break glass like that, a president must have a good reason and proof. President Trump had no evidence and no higher purpose.

Tending the presidency is important for a disruptive president like Donald Trump, because it shows people he knows the line between renovating the office and demolishing it. You measure twice, and cut once. You don’t cut without measuring at all.

Donald Trump’s World View Under Attack

Sunday’s Face The Nation was not kind to the ramblings that Donald Trump made last week about international affairs.

JOHN DICKERSON: Jeffrey, I want to switch now to you. Donald Trump gave two interviews this week, one to “The Washington Post” editorial board and then in two sets of interviews with “The New York Times,” particularly on foreign policy. On “The New York Times” conversation, what did you glean from his foreign policy world view?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: I gleaned that he has no understanding of the post war international order that was created by the United States, that he has no understanding of why we maintain alliances with such treaty partners as Japan and South Korea, Britain, NATO and the importance of maintaining those stable relationships of democracies shows that he has no understanding of nuclear doctrine. I mean other than that, it was cool. It was really remarkable to imagine that someone who shows so little interest in understanding why the world is organized the way it is organized is this close to the presidency of the world’s only super power.

SUAN PAGE: You know it’s interesting, you look at the four candidates who you think might possibly be nominated like Clinton and Sanders or Trump and Cruz, and there’s only one who’s in the mainstream of either Republican or Democratic foreign policy thought, and that’s — and that’s Clinton.

BEN DOMENECH: (a conservative) Right.