Is Rachel smarter than a third-grader!


She can't seem to figure it out: Last night, for the second straight night, Rachel Maddow was trying hard to figure something out!

More than one hundred Republicans have signed a brief in support of same-sex marriage. Many are former elected officials.

But only two of these Republicans are current office-holders. Question:

Why aren’t current office-holders willing to support same-sex marriage? For the second night in a row, Rachel was trying, very hard, to work this puzzle out:
MADDOW (3/6/13): Nicolle [Wallace] is a former communications director for George W. Bush. She was a senior adviser to John McCain’s the last presidential campaign. She is very bright.

She is also one of more than 100 Republicans who signed a brief to the Supreme Court in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples, ahead of the Court’s big cases on that subject at the end of this month.

In addition to Nicolle, 11 other high-ranking seasoned political operatives have signed into this brief, many of whom have worked for very anti-gay campaigns in the past.

As for Republican elected officials, seven former Republican governors, including Tom Ridge and Christie Todd Whitman and Jon Huntsman. Other signatures from ten former Republican members of Congress, including Chris Shays and Mary Bono Mack and Susan Molinari.

So seven former Republican governors, ten former Republican members of Congress, on the record in support of gay couples having a constitutional right to get married.

But what about Republicans who are holding office right now? Not former office holders, but current office holders?

How many, for example, sitting Republican governors are signed on to this brief? Zero.

How about sitting Republican senators? Zero.

Again, no Republican senator currently serving in the Senate signed that brief. What about the House? Well, there are a lot of members of the House from the Republican Party, right?...

How many of them decided to go on the record in support of marriage equality? Ding ding ding ding ding! Those two, jackpot! Two out of 233! That’s less than 1 percent...

Big picture: We are led to believe that something is changing on this issue in the Republican Party—leaders in the Republican Party evolving on the issue of gay rights. And that is true of some people who could be called leaders within the Republican Party by some measure.

But it is not true of the party’s elected officials. And why is that? Why is the party changing for everybody except elected officials?
Are you smarter than a third grader? If you are, you can almost surely explain why Republican office-holders are slower to embrace same-sex marriage than Republicans who don’t hold office. You might even recall that a Democratic office-holder—a guy named Barack Obama—wasn’t supporting same-sex marriage at this time last year!

If you’re smarter than a third-grader, you can surely figure this out. But last night, for the second straight night, Rachel burned a lot of time trying to get her Republican friends to help her puzzle this out.

On Tuesday night, she asked Nicolle Wallace about this deeply confounding conundrum. Last night, she called in Steve Schmidt, asking him to help her figure it out.

Is Rachel smarter than a third-grader? If so, why did she burn so much time these past nights trying to puzzle this out?

Last night, as we watched Rachel interview Schmidt, we asked ourselves a question: What do liberal viewers think as they watch Rachel killing time with this transparent nonsense?

Second question:

As a people, are we really smart enough to engage in self-government? Are we able to do it? We no longer have Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley to limit the number of things we hear.

Are we able to see past the tribal bullshit we get from out tribal gods?

Last night, were we liberals playing along with this silly discussion at home? Were we really trying to figure why Republican office-holders are slower to embrace same-sex marriage?

If we were, is there any real hope for our nation? Is there any real hope for for our tribe?

You can watch Rachel puzzle it out: To watch Maddow interview Schmidt last night, go ahead—just click this.

To watch her interview Wallace on Tuesday night, just click here.

Your question, should you choose to answer it:

Was Rachel really puzzled by this? If so, why is she she hosting a nightly show on a cable pseudo-news network?


  1. Fortunately Schmidt, who is smarter than a third grader, was able to explain it to her.

    1. And, of course, there you have the answer to Somerby's question. Rachel has a narrative: the Republican Party is held captive by the groups it panders to. On the social issues of immigration and gay marriage, it's the xenophobes and the theocrats respectively. Independent of whether you believe that narrative, it's much more effective if she can get a Republican to support the thesis than for her to simply state it. Schmidt fell into incoherence on immigration as he tried to defend Il Dunce's smarter brother, but he was quite clear on marriage. Somerby, as he is wont to do in his literal-minded way, likes to pretend that Maddow's rhetorical ploy is dishonesty on her part.

    2. Maddow had a very interesting segment after Tom Coburn backed out of Chuck Schumer's attempt to build bi-partisan sponsorship for a bill to expand background checks on gun sales. She showed polls showing overwhelming support in every state, including deep red Oklahoma, for such a bill against the "A" ratings of Coburn and others from the NRA.

      She asked the rather pointed question that when push really comes to shove on this proposal, what will the lawmakers value more? Their "A" rating from the NRA, or the will of their consituents?

      Of course, this fits what you describe as Maddow's "narrative" -- that the Republican Party will not cross the people who have both funded it and have formed the coalition of largely white religious right/anti-government populists (now called the Tea Party) that Ronald Reagan first cobbled into place, that now is shrinking so fast demographically that we've heard a string of Republicans now calling for a "kinder, gentler" party.

      Maddow certainly is asking fair questions when she for evidence and action instead of words at various conferences from various Republicans calling for a more inclusive party.

  2. I am surprised Mr. S. had no fun with her filibustering opening, in which she patted herself on the back for her rule not mentioning the 2016 campaign, which she violated to bring up Jeb Bush's changing position on immigration in order to segue to gay marriage.

    What a patented on trick pony phoney.

    1. You mean the segment in which she showed the "ban" on 2016 written on her whiteboard, then said specifically that she was going to violate her own rule by mentioning that yet another Bush is being primed and groomed?

      Yeah, how simply AWFUL of her!

      Gee whiz! Think you can find more nits to pick?