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    Thank you, Cal Thomas. MIghty Big of You


    I can't think of a time when I've ever agreed with Cal Thomas.  I confess I don't seek him out, but when I see him on an occasional Op-Ed page I'll read him just to see what he's going to say that's going to infuriate me.  I'm rarely disappointed.

    So as he sat on a panel at this year's CPAC and said what he said about Rachel Maddow, I wasn't shocked.  He was at CPAC with his own peeps. It was cool.

    From the Huffington Post:

    During a panel at the conference, a clip of Maddow's appearance on Sunday's "Meet the Press" was played. In it, Maddow said that Republicans are "waging war on contraception."
    "I'm really glad...that you played the Rachel Maddow clip," Thomas said after the audience booed a bit, "because I think that she is the best argument in favor of her parents using contraception." As the audience cheered, he continued, "I would be all for that and all the rest of the crowd at MSNBC too for that matter."

    It did seem a little odd for a Pro-Life guy to be sort of wishing someone hadn't been born, but he was at CPAC, and it appears to be a whole different world in there.  But, as one might expect, it created a bit of a flap.  It didn't seem like such a much to me.  All kinds of goofy things came out of CPAC 2012 and were being reported hour by hour.  This was actually one of the milder ones.  But it took a new turn when fellow Conservative Greta van Susteren said publicly that Thomas owed Maddow an apology.  (Her commenters obviously didn't agree. Oy. And vey.)

    Then last week Rachel announced that Cal Thomas had called her to apologize.  She told her audience, "I completely believe his apology.  I completely accept his apology."  Good.  Classy.

    And that was that.  Until today, when I saw a column by Cal Thomas on the Op-Ed page with the headline, "Rachel Maddow and Civility".  I fully expected a diatribe against Rachel, even after his apology to her, but what I read may be the most sincere abject apology I've ever seen in my life.  That it came from a man who some people, including me, considered a tight-assed Right Wing hack, made it all the more amazing. [Note:  The full title of Thomas's piece is "Rachel maddow and my lesson in Civility" but our paper shortened the title to "Rachel Maddow and Civility" so that it could be read as something entirely different.]

    He talked about that day when he sat on the panel and watched a projection of a Rachel Maddow Show clip as she talked about the Catholic contraception controversy.  He did not and cannot deny that he said what he said: "I think she's the best argument in favor of her parents using contraception." 

    In his column he wrote, "I was asked to be on a panel before what looked like a crowd of about 1,000 conservatives, hungry for "red meat."  He wrote that he "stupidly" said what he said "before thinking". 

    I'm reading between the lines here but what I'm getting is that a man like Cal Thomas, who began his column with, "When one writes about moral convictions, it's probably a good idea to consistently live up to them," could kick himself for ever getting involved with that CPAC crowd in the first place.  (It'll be interesting to see where he goes from here.)

    He writes that since the flap he has watched a couple of Rachel's shows:

    "Without engaging in any qualifiers, she is a strong and competent advocate for her position.  Why do so many of us only watch programs that reinforce what we already believe?  Where is the growth in that?  Whatever else she may or may not be, she is my fellow American.

    I have many liberal friends acquired over the years.  They are impossible to avoid in the media, but I don't wish to avoid them.  They became my friends because I stopped seeing them as labels and began seeing them as persons with innate worth.  That is what I failed to do in my first response to Rachel Maddow. . .

    . . .I expect to like Rachel Maddow because my instinct is to separate the value of a person from his or her political position.  For some strange reason (demon possession, perhaps) I failed to do that at CPAC."

    Bravo, Mr. Thomas.  You will lose friends and followers over this, and it will be no comfort to you that I, as a liberal, completely believe your apology and appreciate what you've done here.  But none of that is important.  What is important is that the next morning you felt bad about what you had done and you "called Ms. Maddow to apologize. It wasn't one of those meaningless 'if I've offended anyone...' apologies; it was hearfelt." 

    And by doing that and writing about it publicly you've opened the doors for all of us to  remember something we so easily forget when we're in the midst of doing battle with the people on "the other side":  Whatever else we may or may not be, we are fellow Americans.

    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)



    Cal Thomas, who began his column with, "When one writes about moral convictions, it's probably a good idea to consistently live up to them," could kick himself for ever getting involved with that CPAC crowd in the first place.  (It'll be interesting to see where he goes from here.)

    Forgive my cynicism, but I guess we'll have to see.  Does he go back?  If so, does he behave any differently?  Or is it all about speaking fees and book sales?

    I don't know.  It could be to try and help save his party.  It could have been for the most cynical reasons, but I've seen him on TV with Bob Beckel when they've talked about the book they wrote together, and when he wants to be, he can be reasonable.  The problem is, he has a Mr. Hyde side that makes him tight-assed and mean.  So it will be interesting to see how long Dr. Jekyll can stick around.

    We have a similar long-term relationship to old Cal.  I only read his column in order to get ticked off and riled up.  But, I did meet him a few times in the Fox green room and he is a pleasant charmer in person.  So, by the way, is Bill O'Reilly.  None of that should be a shock, though.  These people made a lot of money with their persuasive powers.

    All true, but I was moved to write this piece because I was sincerely moved by his column.  Such are the powers of persuasion.   My BS meter has been working overtime lately.  It could be it just needed a rest, but it was silent this time.

    Oh, I don't think you were duped, Ramona.  I just want to see how Cal handles CPAC next year.  We'll see how lasting the lesson was.

    Exactly.  I think I said something like that.

    This really is a powerful report and one that both 'sides' need to consider with open hearts and minds.

    If we are ever to attain a better future for our country and all who reside here, we need to change negative reaction to positive action.  Because if we don't, we will destroy all we hold near and dear.

    An example is akin to an argument that due to one and/or both participants being entrenched in 'winning', there is no real communication and/or intent to achieve any resolution except to have a winner and a loser.  As it escalates, there's yelling that soon evolves to emotional/mental abusiveness and too often to physical abuse, etc.

    Currently, the left/right are at the pushing, shoving stage; and for some, the fists are clenched and poised to punch.

    It seems to me that just like parents who continue this type of behavior, those within our culture, either to the right or left 'side' within our political arenas,  are indulging in the same negative actions that only ensures everyone's children will be the real victims. 

    Kudos to Cal Thomas and all who take a personal inventory of their own psyche and actions, then own up to their role.  By doing this and caring enough to follow up with positive communications, we can truly move away from being part of the problem to creating viable solutions.

    Appreciate this Ramona, made me smiley.

    Thanks, Aunt Sam.  I was working on a "War on Women" piece and it kind of made my day. 

    That's all right Ramona; a real apology with little spin and none of this context pretext.

    I recall seeing Cal do this kind of thing years ago.

    rush and beckerhead and scores of others most probably see him as a traitor to the cause.

    He is too big a figure even at his age (he should quit dying his wig tho) to give a damn. hahahaaa

    And while we are on the subject, Rachel will apologize whenever she catches herself having erred in the information reported on her show.

    O'Donnell does it all the time. And he defended that Asian girl who had apologized for her part in the racially tinged commercial.

    This Arizona Governor; with all her faults never really apologizes but she vetoed half a dozen bills last year sponsored by her party and actually made statements that the repubs had gone to far. So I do not see her as quite the demon as I used to.

    Walker? He has no shame.

    But the repub governor of Ohio stepped back a bit with regard to his attack on unions.

    Sometimes, I am pleasantly surprised!

    Yes, I've seen Rachel and Lawrence apologize and retract many times, but I think this may be the first time I've ever seen someone from the Right do it.

    I didn't know that about Jan Brewer.  Good for her.

    I somehow can't imagine our governor, Rick Snyder, ever backing down much less apologizing.  Dictators don't see the need to explain to the little people.  It's not their thang.

    Good post. I saw the segment when Rachel accepted the apology. I really like Rachel. She has an impressive way of staying cool under fire but making her points. I remember when David Frum came on  her show in the beginning months. He was intending to cut her down at the knees, it was quite mean. She knew she had been ambushed but hung right in there and got the best of him. He was the one who looked like a jerk. 

    I think it's a real tribute to her honesty and her skills that she can remind her audience that she's a liberal but can still draw people from the other side to her show.  They know they'll be treated fairly and will be given a chance to make their case.  Rachel almost always comes out ahead in those conversations, but at least they get their chance.

    An aspirin a day keeps the penis away!

    Awesome!  Can I quote you?

    Yes, of course.  And honestly, I don't see it as bad advice.  I've always disdained promiscuity, but of course I'm 47, single, with two cats.  So I guess I should just zip it.

    Just wondering what it has to do with my topic.  Did you wander into the wrong room?

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