Conclusion—Rachel’s con: There are many ways to quote—or misquote—a White House candidate.
Just yesterday, Maureen Dowd misquoted Candidate Obama, removing his words from their obvious context.
George Will may have done the same thing—to Candidate FDR! In that case, the obsessive columnist went all the way back to 1920 in search of a damning “quotation.”
For our money, Rachel Maddow worked a bit of a con on August 2. But then, what else is new?
Background: Liberals had been complaining about the way Candidate Romney was beating his wife concerning her silly Olympic event. Pretending to honor the Rule of Three, Rachel drove the point home, showing clips of three disturbing interviews with Romney.
To watch the full segment, click this:
MADDOW (8/2/12): It is a sport that requires agility and flexibility and endurance. It’s the sport of avoiding one very specific Olympic sport. Mitt Romney, take it away.To her credit, Maddow didn’t say Romney was beating his wife, as several other liberals had done. If you watch the tape, you can decide if her gestures and tone of disapproval were meant to suggest such abuse.
(Start of videotape)
BRIAN WILLIAMS: When is the event and for those of us who don’t follow the sport, what happens? Are there rounds of competition? Is there just one chance? What happens?
ROMNEY: I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on.
ROMNEY: My sons gave me a box and said, “If you wear this, Mom will pay more attention to you.” It was a rubber horse mask.
MATT LAUER: Did you wear it?
CARL CAMERON: It sounds like Rafalca, your horse, is going to the Olympics. People are already getting snarky about this, Governor, saying, “Well, this is elitist, this is not a sport that Americans are familiar with.” But it is originating in sort of cavalry history, our country does have that. Any comment to what it means to have your horse there and Ann and your own familiarity with the sport?
ROMNEY: It’s actually Ann’s passion, not so much mine, to tell you the truth. When I get a chance to ride a horse, it’s Western and it’s on the trail.
(End of videotape)
MADDOW: (Disapprovingly; pausing, clearing her throat) "You’re not going to actually see this horse compete," Matt Lauer said. "I mean, this is a big deal having a horse in the Olympics? No interest to be there?"
Mitt Romney’s response: "It’s Ann’s horse. She’s the horse guy."
The whole thing is so awkward. But the effort here is for the candidate to distance himself from this hobby that his family has pursued with a lot of commitment. You even have the Fox News reporter trying to help, suggesting dressage had this long and honorable tradition in cavalry.
But the answer is still, “I’m not even going to watch, I don’t know when it’s happening, I don’t like it, it’s my wife who likes it. Not me."
But Rachel had managed to find three examples of whatever Mitt was supposed to have done. Whatever it was the hopeful had done, he had done it three separate times—in interviews with Brian and Matt and even with Carl Cameron.
Telling us liberals a story we like, Rachel met the Rule of Three. Or did she?
We’d have to say she didn’t. Rachel included that exchange with Lauer—a thoroughly typical example of candidate husband-wife shtick. Romney, sitting and laughing with his wife, told a funny old family story—the type of tale every spousal team tells at some point on the stump.
(See Obama, dirty socks, Campaign 2008. Maureen Dowd got mad at Michelle for lowering Barry this way.)
Was Mitt Romney beating his wife when he wouldn’t don that horsey mask that Christmas? No, but Rachel needed three examples—and so, this was included.
How about the other examples? Was Romney beating his wife?
Rachel played tape from the exchange with Williams which set this silly theme into motion. After that interview, ABC’s Amber Porter filed a pitiful news report. She ran two answers by Romney together, making his insult seem great.
She failed to mark one large deletion, making Romney’s reinvented response sound more callow than it had been. In that sense, she flatly misquoted the candidate. But so what?
Porter said Romney was dissing his wife by skipping her horsey event. She had no way to know such a thing—to know that Ann Romney wanted him there, despite the bad politics—but other liberals took the bait, linking back to Porter. Even the sensible Kevin Drum said Romney’s conduct was “really contemptible.” Romney’s remarks “were low even for him,” Digby said on August 2.
Maddow clowned around with this topic that very evening. But then, she frequently clowns.
Yesterday, on Meet the Press, you saw Maddow get eaten alive by Rich Lowry (who bumbled a bit himself). She didn’t know what to say about the reductions in Medicare spending involved in Obama’s health law.
Everyone knows how to speak to that point. Everyone but Maddow!
On her own program, Maddow clowns among those who share her viewpoint. She never has to respond to guests who disagree with her outlook.
Yesterday, you saw the wages of this game. As liberals, you often get handed silly shit on Maddow’s frequently silly program. When she arrives on Meet the Press, she doesn’t even know what to say about that spending reduction.
Back to her three examples of Mitt Romney’s bad conduct:
The exchange with Lauer was pure piddle. Rachel simply threw it in, assuming her viewers were too dumb to notice. She omitted an earlier part of the exchange, where Romney said he would love to attend his wife’s silly stupid event.
(“I'd love to be there, but this is kind of a busy time for me, so [laughing] I'm not going to be able to.” Rather than stay for the horsey event, he went to Israel and Poland.)
No, that wasn't bad conduct. We're left with two examples.
Regarding the exchange with Williams, Maddow only played the limited part of the tape which let us liberals feel outrage. She dropped the other parts of the exchange where Romney said what a thrill it is to be involved in the Olympics.
How about that third exchange—the (June 18) exchange with Cameron? Rachel let us feel that Mitt had been beating his wife again. She did that by dropping the part of the exchange where Mitt wasn’t beating his wife.
It came right after the part of the clip Rachel played. She knew we mustn’t see it:
CAMERON (6/18/12): It sounds like Rafalca, your horse, is going to the Olympics…Any comment to what it means to have your horse there and Ann and your own familiarity with the sport?Was Romney beating his wife that day? Maybe not so much—but Rachel knew what to cut!
ROMNEY: It's actually Ann's passion. Not so much mine, to tell you the truth. When I get a chance to ride a horse, it's western and it's on the trail. But Ann is very much devoted to the sport, and she loves it. And it's, of course, been an extraordinarily powerful healing element in her life. So, what works for her is something I'm not going to get in the middle of.
Increasingly, Maddow is the place we liberals go to get dumb and then dumber. Increasingly, her approach is Hannityesque. In this instance, several liberals had flipped out about the way Romney was beating his wife. Trusting our gullibility, she gave us three examples of his misconduct, thereby meeting the Rule of Three. To do so, she had to go back almost two months; she had to edit her clips rather tightly; and she had to include that stupid shit about the horsey mask.
That is the kind of stupid shit you get most evenings from Maddow. Further case in point:
As she closed this segment that night, Maddow promised big news the next evening. Having pleased us with this stupid shit, she promised a “more substantive point:”
MADDOW: The more substantive point here is that this is actually Mr. Romney’s personal business. Not personal business as in it’s his personal business. But literally a business that he and his wife own as a business interest. We know this from the one and only complete year of tax returns Mr. Romney has released.Rachel promised us some “incredible tape” which she had just found, involving “a white-hot political fight.”
You see there? That highlighted line is the Romney`s ultimate failed attempt at a $77,000 write-off in 2010 for the care and feeding of that horse, Rafalca, that competed in the Olympics that Mr. Romney says he’s not going to watch and doesn’t care about.
Mr. Romney, in his tax returns, ascribes to his personal business interests, the horse’s upkeep as a business loss. The matter of what is in Mr. Romney’s tax returns and what he says in his tax returns turned into a white-hot political fight today. We have found some tape in the archives that may take this fight in a whole new direction as of tomorrow. We have got that tape that I think nobody has seen in at least a decade and we’ve got that story as our lead tomorrow night.
We’ve got that incredible tape for you tomorrow night. Please be here. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.
Now, it’s time for the Lawrence, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.
Gullibly, we tuned in the next evening. That presentation was bullshit too, built around silly interpretations which assume her viewers are too gullible to see past a thing Maddow says.
To watch that segment, click here. You’ve heard nothing about the incredible tape revealed on this show because it was basically pointless.
That next evening, the analysts finally came to us with a formal request. It’s time to stop pretending, they said.
Rachel is largely a fraud, they said. Her presentations are routinely absurd. She’s a millionaire conning the rubes, the fiery young analysts said.
We wanted to tell them to show some respect! But after two nights of this stupid shit, we found their claims hard to resist.