MISTAKENLY TAKEN FOR SMART: Rachel Maddow’s Two Faces of Kasich!


Part 2—Our own absurd dumpster fire:
How dumb can it get when cable news star Rachel Maddow presents her “campaign coverage?”

Consider her recent, puzzling presentation about the two faces of Kasich.

John Kasich is in his second term as governor of Ohio. As Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports in today’s New York Times, it seems increasingly likely that he will enter the Republican White House race.

Kasich is 63. Because he entered the House at age 31, he’s been around a long time.

Kasich was chairman of the House Budget Committee during the Gingrich revolution of the mid-1990s. During that tumultuous era, he was often portrayed as the highest-ranking House Republican who wasn’t visibly crazy.

(For a memorable anecdote from Al Franken’s book, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, you can just click here, then scroll down.)

Whatever! Three weeks ago, Maddow was killing time on her time-wasting show with one of her nightly imitations of “campaign coverage.”

As usual, Maddow was wasting time this night commenting on the long list of possible candidates for the GOP nomination. As usual, she was pleasuring liberal viewers with long, snark-ridden ruminations about the inanity of these possible candidates.

This evening, it was Kasich’s turn. In an amazingly dumb presentation, Maddow actually said what is shown below.

As she started a deeply inane presentation, Maddow marveled at the fact that no one could pick “this guy” out of a lineup. What would make a guy like this think he should run for the White House?
MADDOW (5/27/15): One after the other, they keep either announcing that they`re in or signaling that they`re going to be in. Like, for example, this guy.

Do you recognize this man? Could you pick this man out of a lineup?
Could you pick him out of this specific lineup?

I mean no offense by that. I just mean to say, by virtue of his deep national obscurity, and honestly, his lack of any distinguishing political characteristics in this field, this guy was one of my personal top contenders for a guy who would take a look around and decide not to actually run.

But alas and behold, the Washington Post reports today that he, Ohio Governor John Kasich, is in.

Today, his long-time friends and strategists close to him told the Washington Post that John Kasich will formally join the race for the Republican nomination for president sometime after June 30th. And it turns out John Kasich might be kind of a fun addition to the race. The last time he ran for president was the year 2000, when George W. Bush chased John Kasich and everybody else out of the Republican field by just blowing everybody away in terms of early fundraising and early endorsements.

John Kasich talking to the Washington Post about the fact that he’s going to—he’s going to run this year again. He was asked about that experience in 2000, and he told the Post, quote, "I didn’t get scared out in 2000, I got destroyed out. I had no money and no oxygen." That’s what happened to him in 2000 when he ran against George W. Bush.

The Post then asked him about the prospect of doing it again, the prospect of running against another front running Bush brother who’s trying to push everybody out of the race with early, show-offy fund-raising and all the rest. But check out what John Kasich had to say about running against Jeb Bush this year.

This is from today’s article, Dan Balz and Robert Costa in the Washington Post. Look!

Asked in this recent interview whether his message would be similar to Jeb Bush’s message, John Kasich said, ‘I don’t know anything about Bush’s theme. I really don’t. I’ve never listened to him. What’s Right to Rise? Getting up in the morning?’”

Right to Rise is the name of Jeb Bush’s super PAC.

So Ohio Governor John Kasich. I mean (a), even though he’s the governor of Ohio, sadly at least for now, he’s totally unrecognizable and indistinguishable from all of the other candidates in the field. At least he will be to most Americans looking at him in the midst of this giant field of contenders, (a).

But (b), he’s apparently going to run anyway. And (c), if his initial quotes about running are anything to go by, let alone his well-known tendency toward emotional outbursts in Ohio politics, John Kasich might end up being fun to watch, if we can just remember which one he is when it comes to putting a camera on a guy who we think is John Kasich. Is that him?
She “meant no offense by that!” That said, a quick bit of background:

Over the past month, Maddow has alternated between two types of time-wasting during her “campaign coverage.”

On the one hand, she offers snarky putdowns of this type, in which she mocks the alleged lack of a national profile for a potential candidate like Kasich.

On alternate nights, she wastes enormous amounts of time attacking Fox News for its plan to limit the first GOP debate to just ten debaters. This will mean that people like Kasich won’t get to participate, she laments, at enormous time-wasting length.

Her portrait of Kasich was openly mocking on May 27—and it was rather dimwitted.

We wouldn’t vote for Kasich ourselves; we vote for the Democratic candidate. But is it true that a Candidate Kasich would arrive in the race with a “lack of any distinguishing political characteristics in this [Republican] field?”

Obviously, that isn’t the case, if you know anything about Kasich’s record—in which, for example, he accepted Medicaid expansion in Ohio under the ACA.

At any rate, Maddow mocked the pathetic Kasich this night. From there, she wasted time mocking George Pataki, displaying his head shot and leading us in a guessing game as to who this goober could possibly be.

Discussing Pataki at this point was an act of journalistic malpractice. It did allow Maddow to pleasure viewers by mocking every Republican she could find.

That said, Maddow underwent a quick conversion concerning the laughable Kasich. Eight nights later, without explanation, she flipped about his manifest greatness.

On this occasion, Maddow had started by mocking Candidate Christie for looking too fat in his softball suit. Now, she turned to the new-and-improved Candidate Kasich:
MADDOW (6/4/15): Also, today was probably not a great day for John Kasich, who is one of those guys on paper who ought to be a high-flying, top tier potential candidate. He’s a former very high-profile, very conservative member of Congress. After he got out of Congress, they gave him his own show on the Fox News Channel. They thought over at Fox that he was such a good politician and so conservative and so charismatic and so telegenic that he ought to be a TV anchor.

John Kasich is really well connected in the party, not only in his home state of Ohio, but across the country. He is now the governor, the sitting governor of the great swing state of Ohio, the current governor of that state.

But today was a bad day for Governor John Kasich because of this.

These were the results of the new Fox News national poll of the presidential candidates that came out today. And yes, at this point in the race in any reasonable year, under any reasonable strategy, nobody should care about national polling—except for the fact that this year we have to. And the candidates really have to, because of the debates, because Fox News is organizing the first Republican primary debate and the way they’re deciding who is going to make it into that debate, who`s actually going to be allowed into the stage, is that they’re only taking people who crack the top ten in the otherwise meaningless and totally non-predictive national polls. That’s what they decided to count on.

Well, in the new Fox News national poll out today, John Kasich, governor of Ohio, former Fox News host, doesn’t crack the top ten. And so he’s therefore on track to not be included in the first Republican presidential primary debate, even though that debate is going to be on Fox News, his former employer, and even though that debate is going to take place in his home state of Ohio where he’s currently the governor.

But at this rate, he is not going to be invited to participate in that debate. He’ll be watching from home, which awkwardly is the governor’s mansion. This is very sad, right?
What a difference a week can make! On Wednesday, May 27, Kasich was ridiculed for “his deep national obscurity, and honestly, his lack of any distinguishing political characteristics in this field.”

On Thursday, June 4, a whole new Kasich appeared. Suddenly, he was “one of those guys on paper who ought to be a high-flying, top tier potential candidate.” After all, he’s “really well connected in the party, not only in his home state of Ohio, but across the country.”

In truth, Kasich really wasn’t a “very conservative member of Congress” back in the day, certainly not by the standards of his party. If he enters the race for the nomination, he will have to answer for several of the ideological heresies which make Candidate Bush seem suspect to the “very conservative” voters who dominate Republican primaries.

That said, Maddow had discovered a second Candidate Kasich in the week which passed. But then, ridiculous nonsense of the type has dominated her embarrassing “campaign coverage.”

There’s an old saying in New Hampshire: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a while!”

The same principle seems to obtain with Maddow’s “campaign coverage.” Over the course of just eight days, she seemed to discover The Two Faces of Candidate Kasich.

In the process, though, she seemed to reveal a second puzzle. She seemed to reveal the deeply puzzling Two Faces of Maddow herself.

Is something “wrong” with Maddow? Over the course of the past month, her imitation of campaign coverage has been an embarrassing, insulting mess.

Originally, Maddow was sold to us as someone who’s very smart. Even today, her work is often mistakenly taken for smart.

But as the weeks continue to pass, the “journalist” sold as Our Own Rhodes Scholar is being described in less flattering ways. More and more often, Maddow is being mocked as Our Own Absurd Dumpster Fire. And let’s face it:

If liberals are willing to tolerate this type of work, the problem with American politics rather plainly is us.

Last night, the clowning continued apace. As a group, are we really this easy to play? Why do we tolerate this?

Tomorrow: Gilmore and Pataki and Christie oh my! After that, back to Monday’s pitiful discussion of Candidate Trump

Ways to pleasure the base: On June 4, Maddow unveiled the all-new-and-improved Candidate Kasich.

Suddenly, Kasich was “one of those guys on paper who ought to be a high-flying, top tier potential candidate.” After all, he’s “really well connected in the party, not only in his home state of Ohio, but across the country!”

Maddow worried about the potential exclusion of this great man from that first GOP debate. Quickly, though, she returned to a basic project—the maintenance of liberal viewers:
MADDOW (continuing from above): I mean, John Kasich hasn’t technically declared today. Heading into today, there were nine officially declared Republican Party candidates. The next candidates who have set a date for their announcement and earn themselves dotted lines on our chart, they are, in order in terms of when they’re going to announce, next Donald Trump on June 16th. Bobby Jindal, after him, on June 24th.

Sometime after Bobby Jindal, we are expected to hear from Congressman Peter King and from Governor Kasich, then your sister-in-law getting in, then the three guys who drive trash trucks, then a Cheney or two, and a whole football team, then my mom and Mr. T., then that Muppet, Janice, the one with the nice eye shadow.

Come on! Eventually we’ll be reporting on who’s not running.
Maddow returned to the ridicule with which she pleasures liberal viewers. Just that quickly, the glorious Kasich was linked to Mr. T, your sister-in-law and “three guys who drive trash trucks.”

(Maddow has little interest in, or respect for, people who work for a living. She cares about issues which affect the upper end.)

“Eventually, we’ll be reporting on who’s not running?” Maddow has already done a lot of that over the past clowning month!


  1. Warning to casual readers of this blog: These comments are unmoderated. They are infested by one or more trolls who routinely attack the blog author in a variety of ways, rarely substantive. Such attacks are not an indicator of the level of interest of other readers, the validity of the content posted nor of the esteem in which the blog author is held by others. Political opinions of the commenters do not necessarily reflect those of the blog author.

    1. You do know if you were not too dumb and lazy and had posted your disclaimer in Part 1 of this series the comment box might have been infested with double digit comments.

      There is still time.

    2. Hey, this thread is already above ten and we haven't heard from the guy who always complains Maddow imitates Jon Stewart or any spellcasters yet.

      Bob is just warming up. Wait till he gets to the part where Meredith Vieira cries about the mop.

    3. Maddow would address corporate corruption if she had any guts.

    4. Ratha Jumpov BridgeJune 17, 2015 at 1:52 PM

      Guess that puts her on the same plane as gutless Bob.

      But at least he cares about black children.

    5. Maddow comes off as a bit of a phony. Plus they don't have any money for good writers so she's just up there killing time most nights. It's not easy to watch. Sorta kills you on the inside.

      Still, I agree with your equivalency and Bob's obvious nefariousness.

  2. Tonight, across America, in an effort to prove they are not the problem with American politics, droves of liberals rushed to their open windows during the Rachel Maddow time slot on MSNBC and screamed into the night:

    "I'm liberal as hell, and I'm not going to tolerate this any more."

    1. Digby got there first.

      Maddow has no way for people to comment or send complaints to her about her show, so this is the only way someone could communicate with her.

    2. New to Twitter? Sing Up.


    3. @ 11:30 shame on you. Bob got there first.

      "Rachel Maddow loses her mind. Digby trains us to hate."

      The Daily Howler
      May 20, 2011


    4. Tweeting about maddow isn't the same as sending a complaint to the people who run her show. They apparently don't want to hear from viewers.

    5. @ 12:26

      Another Howler reader who thinks "links" are a food type which has yet to appear in Bob's reCAPTCHA sequence.

  3. We should be happy that more moderate candidates are entering the Republican field. They might help to pull local races more toward the center and thereby result in a Congress that is easier to work with for a Democratic president. Republican voters need to hear more reasoned voices that don't come from the left, which would make it OK for them to accept a more centrist viewpoint themselves. Maybe by ridiculing the moderate candidates, Maddow is using reverse psychology and trying to boost their stature in their own party (e.g., playing 11-dimensional chess).

    1. Maybe some coals from Rachel's dumpster landed on your roof.

    2. Your Howler ReadersJune 17, 2015 at 12:28 PM

      "Republican voters need to hear more reasoned voices that don't come from the left, which would make it OK for them to accept a more centrist viewpoint themselves."

      Our Iron-Clad Guarantee:

      -- No other Howler reader today will post a comment more valuable, more truthful, more accurate that that single sentence.

      That's why we'll make no further comment today, and just shut our mouths.

    3. Hahaha who wanted to have a real discussion anyway.

    4. @12:28 Thank you.

    5. "Republican voters need to hear more reasoned voices that don't come from the left, which would make it OK for them to accept a more centrist viewpoint themselves."

      That's very perceptive, because the same centrist policy proposals coming from a Democrat would make them gag. We've observed this phenomenon for the last 6 plus years and time after time centrist republican ideas put forward by President Obama have met with nothing but obstruction from republicans who have been amply rewarded with control of both houses of Congress.

      Republican voters ain't that smart you know.

    6. They bought Bill Clinton's welfare reform and crime control bill.

    7. yeah, and all they did was impeach him.

  4. Does anyone but Bob watch Rachel regularly?

    1. The analysts.

      Except Bob mistakes their chant as an attack on Maddow for egotisim instead of them singing the opening of the chorus to Cielto Lindo.


      Enjoy a great version.


    2. Die hard fans -- don't they deserve an intervention?

    3. No @ 12:32. They just sit in front of their screen, restraining in silence the esteem in which they hold the blog author.

      You are talking about die hard Howler fans aren't you?

      Or do you mean the liberals who are responsible for the problems with our politics?

      Or perhaps the clueless supporters who Bob guesses are Hillary's biggest problem?

  5. Who are we supposed to complain about first? Maddow or the New York Times?

    1. Why not both? You have two hands don't you?

    2. The same number as Kasich has faces!

    3. Any target of the Heritage Foundation can't be all bad.

    4. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/16/pat-boone-conservative-stalwart-guest-heritage-fou/

  6. Howling Haitian ProtesterJune 17, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    From Part 1:

    "What explains such low-IQ work? Tomorrow, let’s speculate!

    Tomorrow: At 9:30, Maddow moved on to Bush"

    1. I think Bob is one of the worst bloggers we've had in a long time.

    2. Fortunately there are lots of other places for you to spend your time.

    3. Yeah, he could be watching TRMS with Bob and the analysts on the big screen at the sprawling TDH campus.