On Friday afternoon, twitter was all a-tweet with the news that MSNBC had suspended Keith Olbermann – INDEFINITELY! – because he had the hubris to donate to three political campaigns… without asking permission from the corporation first!
That’s the important part. Not the fact that someone working for this news organization made a political contribution, but that he didn’t ask permission first! Seriously?!?! This is the corporatocracy of which we’ve been warned. (And the right screams of ‘facism’? Seriously?)
Well, after a weekend of hand-wringing and petition signing, MSNBC chief Phil Griffin this morning announced that Keith will be back on the air tomorrow night. Good news, I supposed, but one can’t help but wonder what’s in store for the so-called “liberal” station when Comcast assumes control of NBC… and what will happen to the idea of net neutrality?
Of course, that’s an ongoing topic here on the show to which we’ll continue to return. But not today…
This weekend, I needed a bit of an escape from reality and politics. So, I sat down to read a new book, a novel, called “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans,” and I couldn’t put it down. Yes, I am a dog lover, and this book gave me a whole new insight and, I think, better understanding of my four-legged ‘children.’ I don’t usually do this type of thing on Mondays, but I’ll take a few moments this morning to chat with the book’s author, W. Bruce Cameron. Sometimes, in addition to the unconditional love of a dog, we need a break from the real world!
Josh Marshall | November 7, 2010, 8:23PM
First he was a Republican. Then he was an independent. Then he was all but a Democrat. Now Charlie Crist is considering a posthumous pardon of The Doors’ Jim Morrison for charges of indecent exposure stemming from a notorious concert incident in Florida in 1969.
Six months I’m thinking, leading advocate of industrial hemp/pot legalization or building new power base at an ashram in Oregon.
Or maybe something based in South Beach.
But the more important question is whether or not we can ever find common ground, or if the divide will widen into a giant schism that’ll rupture the country.
In hour two, after a news update, we’ll return with our Fools on the Hill© segment with Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars, to let you know what happened on yesterday’s talking head shows. Here’s what Nicole sent over this morning…
Well, it didn’t take long after the mid-term elections for the media to give up any semblance of balance on the Sunday shows. Only two guests invited this week were Democrats, both members of the House to answer for the losses the Democrats incurred. Never mind that we still retain the Senate and the White House. It’s apparently far better television to allow the Republicans to overwhelm the airwaves and keep insisting to the American public that they trust the Republicans to get us out of the mess we’re in (ignoring that it was Republican policies that got us there in the first place).
Fareed Zakaria opens his show acknowledging that this is the third Republican revolution we’ve had—behind Reagan and Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. As he says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me three times…” Zakaria says that this is the Republican Party’s last chance to show us Americans that they can govern. If they fail again, Americans would be foolish to trust them ever again, theoretically killing the party. Sadly, I think this is an overly optimistic attitude. Because as far as I can see, there is absolutely NO logic in giving the reins back to the Republicans who were the very ones in office that CAUSED the economic mess we’re in.
Speaking of which, Eric Cantor–who just bugs me in this clip, maybe it’s the barely hidden patronizing tone—has the audacity to tell the Democratic Party who should and should not be their leadership. Ironic for someone who until a few weeks ago was angling around to see if he had enough votes to usurp the Speaker of the House position from Boehner, should the Republicans win back the House. He is shocked—shocked, I tell you!—that the Democrats would consider Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader. Clearly, they haven’t learned the lessons of the election, which to Cantor is the utter and complete repudiation of liberalism. Too bad that isn’t the really what’s going on. A simplistic look at the exit polls of the mid terms would seem to indicate that the voters are angry, unhappy about the economy and believe that the country is going in the wrong direction. But that ignores the demographic that provides that info. Overwhelmingly, the voters that came out for the mid terms were older, white and self-identified as conservatives. That does not describe the whole country, just the voters that came out. Unfortunately, there are many disaffected Democrats as well, but when you are part of the party in the majority and you feel frustrated by the political process, you don’t get your voice out there, you sit out the election. Nancy Pelosi has been unfairly demonized during this election process, but make no mistake, she’s been an incredible Speaker of the House. She was able to pass a record amount of legislation in spite of Republican obstructionism and got a public option in her health care bill. Frankly, I think the reason Cantor is so set against Pelosi is that since she outguns them in intelligence and political savvy, they’re afraid she’s going to make them look bad.
You knew that Rand Paul would be on at least one of the Sunday shows. Now that the election is over, he need not be as fearful of speaking to press. But that may be something that the GOP establishment will rue, as when Paul was pressed to come up with areas to cut spending, he said he’d be willing to cut military spending.
That Paul would stray so far away from the GOP messaging is indicative, I think, of the larger problem that the GOP has with these tea party elects. What the GOP has lacked in successful governing, they’ve more than made up for with unified messaging. Wild cards like Paul will ultimately hurt them, because these TeaPublicans are far more ideological than the establishment GOP.
I’m trying to decide where Jim DeMint actually resides on the GOP/TeaPublican spectrum. Based on his support of Tea Party candidates and his ideological rigidity, I’d place him closer to the Tea Party than the establishment GOP. Still, if it came down to holding on to his seat, I’m willing to bet that the more pragmatic side of DeMint would surface and that ideology would go out the window in favor of re-election.
DeMint held on to the Tea Party line that there is absolutely no way that he’d approve of raising the debt ceiling without cuts. But when asked what he’d cut, DeMint could only offer up earmarks (which is less than 1% of the budget).
Mike Pence, who is rumored to be preparing for a presidential run, is equally as inflexible. He appeared on Meet the Press and pronounced the idea of tax increases absolutely unacceptable in any way, shape or form. (it’s a 10 minute clip. Pertinent part at 6:42) David Stockman, who introduced the notion of supply side economics during Reagan’s term, takes a more pragmatic approach, saying the only way to get us out of this economic mess is to raise taxes and cut spending drastically (including in the military, because we can no longer afford to dabble in imperialism around the world).
And finally, I wanted to bring up something that wasn’t on the Sunday shows but something that I caught during the week and waited to see some outrage about, and never did. On Hardball, political consultant Mark Penn told Chris Matthews that Obama really needs some event to help him re-engage with the American public. His idea of a perfect opportunity? Another Oklahoma City bombing. And Chris Matthews bats not an eye at the idea of hundreds or thousands of innocent Americans dying in some senseless domestic terrorist attack as a great way for Obama to get a favorable rating from Americans again. This literally made me sick to my stomach, and coverage on other blogs, which wrote it off as thoughtlessness, only furthered it. In my mind, this is exactly like Arendt’s ‘banality of evil’. When we can have a discussion of the deaths of human beings so casually and divorced of ramifications, we have truly become inured to evil.