Part 3—The liberal world’s version of Sean: From a liberal or progressive standpoint, red and blue voters share some major interests.
Red and blue voters may not agree on abortion rights. But from a liberal or progressive standpoint, everyone in The Lower 99 Percent has been getting hosed over the past several decades.
Wages are stagnant (or worse). All the economic gains have been going to those at the very top of the pile.
From a liberal or progressive standpoint, how do you get conservative voters to see this as a problem? How do you get those voters to perceive a mutual interest?
Watching Rachel Maddow last night, we thought we saw a textbook performance in how not to accomplish such tasks. Clowning her way through most of her program, Maddow performed a function the plutocrats have always loved.
All through the annals of human history, “divide and conquer” has been the way the plutocrats have kept us rubes from joining forces. In our view, Maddow served an extra-large dose of division and conquest to liberal viewers last night.
The clowning began right out of the box, as Rachel entertained us with a naughty word: “balls.”
People, someone had (apparently) said the word “balls” to CNN’s Dana Bash! As she started her program, Rachel played a familiar warning message:
MADDOW (9/19/13): Do you ever watch the prison shows here on MSNBC? They come on Friday nights, after our show usually, and they’re always playing on the weekends?As you may know, Maddow used to mock those prison programs, which aren’t “excellent” or “really good.” Apparently, someone has told her to get with the programs.
The prison shows on MSNBC are really good, and they get really good ratings. So I know that you say, “Oh, no, I’m not watching them.” Statistically speaking, at least some of you are. Actually, a lot of you are. Actually, more of you that are watching me are watching the prison shows.
But if you have ever watched one of MSNBC’s really excellent prison shows, you have probably seen it start with a warning that the subject matter may be for mature audiences only. You’ve seen that, right?
Well, this here, tonight, is not an MSNBC prison show. This is, in fact, our lead story tonight about what is happening in Washington right now, and whether or not we’re going to have a government shutdown. But in order to do that story, I actually have to air that same warning now, before I show you what happened today in Washington.
So, here it is.
ANNOUNCER: Due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.
MADDOW: OK. Now you have been warned.
Last night, Maddow complied.
Viewers heard a familiar ominous warning, although they still didn’t know what the warning concerned. As she continued, Rachel explained—and she entertained us.
To watch this whole segment, click here:
MADDOW: OK. Now you have been warned. Now, here’s Dana Bash on CNN.“Ta-da,” the darling multimillionaire said. Then, as the entertainment continued, she apologized further:
BASH (videotape): I want to read you a quote. Again, this is a quote from a House Republican leadership aide about a fellow Republican senator, Ted Cruz, saying, quote, "Wendy has more balls than Ted Cruz".
MADDOW: Ta-da!That was fun! As she continued, Maddow let herself say “balls” two more times. It was good solid entertainment—and we had been warned, after all.
I’m sorry about playing somebody on CNN saying "balls" on television. That is what the warning was about.
But this really happened. The full quote, to be fair, it’s from a senior Republican leadership aide. The full quote is, "It is disappointing to see that Wendy Davis has more balls than Ted Cruz."
So really, it is a sad story, it’s a “disappointing” story. But that is the story. And that is the way that Republicans in Washington are talking about each other right now.
(Remember when Maddow used to pretend that she was too embarrassed to say such words on the air? As we noted at the time, that was a clown show too!)
Full disclosure: There actually is a major fight unfolding within the Republican Party. Some liberals assume that this civil war will work out well for their side.
Personally, we wouldn’t assume that. Last night, Chris Hayes explained that the center of the public discussion is being pushed to the right as this civil war unfolds. No one is discussing the wisdom of the ongoing sequester cuts any more. The discussion now centers on whether we ought to defund the hated Obamacare.
Hayes offered a serious point about this unfolding war. But for Rachel, it was all clowning all night. As she often does, she told viewers at one point that they should get their popcorn out to enjoy the Republican fight.
In this way, liberal voters just keep getting made dumber. As the familiar mockery grows, the two tribes get pushed farther apart.
That said, Maddow’s clowning reached its apex with her recitation of a second anonymous quote. By now, she had snarked her way through a succession of underfed points.
She had snarked about former senator Jim DeMint, who was shown on videotape, “speaking in his inimitable robotic way.” She had snarked about Senator John McCain, the “world-respected arbitrator of what is and what is not rational.”
Soon, she was snarking about criticisms of Senator Ted Cruz, who is suddenly taking heat from within his own GOP. This topic is certainly worth discussing, but Darling Rachel was still clowning her way through life.
Eventually, with a piece of perfect bullshit, the darling child jumped the shark. The shark-jump started as he repeated a very peculiar quote:
MADDOW: Again, this is all Republicans talking about other Republicans. It’s just chaos. It’s not just a day of like long knives in Republican politics. Today is a day of long knives when everybody has them out and is using them in a mosh pit. Just look away.Thanks to a piece in the Huffington Post, Maddow had come up with “an interesting insight into the conservative mind.”
The king of them all, the winner has to be the anonymous, what do they say, the phrase was “senior House Republican leadership source,” who told Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post today, that in his or her view, quote, "Ted Cruz is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement. Their aim is to force the party to take on suicidal missions to destroy the movement from within.”
I cannot top that! But, see, this is an interesting insight into the conservative mind.
This insight didn’t involve the anonymous person who had said the world “balls.” This insight involved the anonymous person who said that Cruz “is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement.”
What a crazy thing to say! As she continued, The Liberal World’s Most Overpaid Clown explained the insight we had gained into the minds of Those People:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Liberals always think that it’s performance art, right? Like we look at somebody like Ann Coulter as being maybe secretly a liberal comedian, who is doing an extended performance art project to make conservative pundits seem really unreasonable and unlikable and super mean.Conservatives think we liberals cooked up Ted Cruz! This darling child only wishes we liberals were that smart!
Or Carl Paladino. Maybe he is performance art. Maybe he’s the new Andy Kaufman, standing there with his baseball bat, talking about how mad he is, sending around mailers that have scratch-and-sniff garbage smell, being proud of the people having sex with horses, racist porn that he sends around to his political colleagues.
Liberals look at Carl Paladino or Ann Coulter or Herman Cain, “9-9-9, my favorite poet is Pokemon,” liberals look at those people and think that those people are maybe artists, liberal artists, who are designed to make clear, through hyperbole, what is gross but sometimes true about conservatism and Republican politics. That’s what liberals think.
Conservatives, on the other hand, we’re now learning, do not think about performance art. They do not think it’s art. They instead think it’s a conspiracy, organized by liberals to plant hyperbolic self-destructive slippery-slope radicals in very public positions in the conservative positions in the conservative movement to make you guys look bad.
It`s fascinating. When confronted with the same kinds of people having the same kind of effect on how Americans view conservatives, liberals trust art to do that. Conservatives trust liberals to do that. They think that we cooked up Ted Cruz. You know what? I wish liberals were that smart.
But liberals are not helping with this, at all. This is a full-blown, vituperative and occasionally profane fight, solely among Republicans. About how hard they want to wage a fight that they all acknowledge will be futile anyway, against something that Democrats feel very comfortable about, and are unified around.
This is the kind of day in politics where Democrats just shut up, pop popcorn, and watch the other side self-destruct. But how does this end, and who is likely to be left standing in this very, very ugly fight?
Joining us now is Ryan Grim. He’s the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post and he is the guy who got the “leftist cabal” quote today, for which I will be grateful forever.
Rachel will be grateful forever for the “leftist cabal quote.” According to her own performance, the ridiculous statement gave us “an interesting insight into the conservative mind,” which seems to be quite crazy. For the record:
In the lengthy passage we have just presented, Rachel revisited some of her greatest clowning of the past few years. Do liberals actually think that Coulter and Cain “are maybe artists, liberal [performance] artists, who are designed to make clear, through hyperbole, what is gross but sometimes true about conservatism and Republican politics?”
Obviously, no—liberals don’t think anything like that! That’s what Rachel has said in recent years as part of her own cable act.
Whatever! According to Rachel, we have received “an interesting insight into the conservative mind.” The insight came from the statement Grim recorded, for which she’ll forever be grateful.
The statement shows us how conservatives think about someone like Cruz! It shows us how crazy conservative are. It cues us to prep the popcorn, to enjoy this ridiculous fight.
There’s only one problem with this big pile of bullshit. Maddow had hustled her viewers right past a basic part of what Grim reported. Warning: Ryan Grim is a real reporter, not a silly clown.
Sadly, there’s something Rachel’s viewers weren’t told about that statement Grim recorded. This is what Grim wrote in yesterday’s Huffington Post:
GRIM (9/19/13): "Cruz officially jumped the shark this week," said one GOP operative allied with House leadership, who, like others, requested anonymity to speak critically about fellow Republicans. "He's doing for the House Leaders what they couldn't do for themselves. House rank-and-file members are uniting with Boehner, Cantor over Ted Cruz's idiotic position."Uh-oh! Before presenting the ridiculous quote, Grim described it as “joking speculation.” As he presented the quote, he said it was a “quip.”
The retreat by Cruz has led to public questioning from House Republicans about his motives and political acumen, not to mention joking speculation that he may be part of a vast and devious liberal conspiracy to undermine conservatives.
"Cruz is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement," quipped one senior House Republican leadership source. "Their aim is to force the party to take on suicidal missions to destroy the movement from within."
Ryan Grim, a real reporter, reported a joking remark. But our dearest child, Our Own Rhodes Scholar, disappeared that basic point, then offered her “analysis.”
She pretended the joke was a serious comment. She explained what the comment told us about the conservative mind.
Last night, Maddow clowned for the full hour. She closed with a segment about a stray dog which looks just like Putin. Earlier, she had teased this segment with a story about a Russian hockey player at the 1980 Olympics who looked just like Stan Laurel.
According to Maddow, this helped the USA take the gold! “USA, USA,” the darling child chanted from memory.
That said, Maddow really treated viewers like fools in her endless opening segment. She took a statement which was a joke and treated it like a serious statement. Having enacted this sleight of hand, she helped us see that the statement shows us how crazy Those People are.
In many ways, Those People in the other tribe can be rather crazy. They have been schooled in The Crazy for years by people like Sean and Rush.
But then, the same is increasingly true of the liberal world, thanks to people like Maddow. Last night, liberal viewers got dumbed way down in a familiar way.
When we the rubes get divided this way, just which sector conquers?
Coming next week: The building of a new liberal culture. Might this culture help the swells divide The 99?
Grim corrects the record: Ryan Grim isn’t like Rachel Maddow.
Waiting to be introduced, he heard the ridiculous way Maddow discussed the statement he had reported. When he was introduced, he corrected the record, insofar as the rules allow:
MADDOW: Ryan, it’s great to see you. Thanks for being here.Grim softened the blow, as is required when correcting the cable gods. That said, he corrected the record insofar as he could.
GRIM: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: What—the “leftist cabal” anonymous source who spoke to you in those terms about Ted Cruz, was that purely out of frustration, or is there an actual belief that there is an effort to do harm to the Republican establishment and that’s what Senator Cruz and these others “shut down the government” guys are doing?
GRIM: Well, it’s mostly a joke, but it has a certain amount of resonance among Republican leadership aides, because they feel like he is a smart guy, and so it`s obvious that what he is doing is destructive to the party. Now, they don’t want to go all the way and say, well, therefore, he must be a liberal plant. I think it was mostly in jest that he was saying that.
But wouldn’t you know it? Just like that, Grim gave his host a chance to showcase her greatness:
GRIM (continuing directly): But they’re asking themselves, what is going on here? What is this guy thinking? And then you think, well, he is Canadian. He is Ivy League. He was a Rhodes Scholar, and maybe the pieces do start coming together.Maddow’s a former Rhodes Scholar herself, she remembered to say!
MADDOW: As an almost-Canadian Rhodes Scholar myself, who would love to see that outcome, I plead guilty.
Sean Hannity has made conservatives dumber for years. Increasingly, Rachel Maddow is our own version of that.