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Posts Tagged ‘Rush Limbaugh’

A free democracy being a free democracy—an overwhelmingly good thing—the general euphoria over the death of Osama bin Laden quickly descended into bickering, sniping and posturing—at least among Beltway talking heads—some of it valid, some of it, in my view, damn near offering aid and comfort to the enemy.

For the far right wing, it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. According to their script—penned, no doubt, by stooges of the Koch Brothers and their ilk—Barack Obama was supposed to be a dangerously anti-American–if not foreign–Trojan horse, the culmination of a vast left-wing conspiracy to make very, very rich people pay taxes; and/or he was a secret Muslim extremist, resolved to finish bin Laden’s work and turn the US into a caliphate; or he was Steve Urkel, a liberal milquetoast who would not “keep America safe.” Or all of the above. At the core of all this, of course, is racism—cynical pandering to the angry, frightened white folks who “want their country back.”

What Barack Obama was not supposed to be, according to the right-wing scenario, was a steely, clever commander-in-chief who oversaw a meticulous, months-long military intelligence operation to take out the most hated mass murderer since Adolf Hitler. It isn’t just that POTUS is a moderately, or at least pragmatically liberal Democrat. It’s that he’s a black guy.

It reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles, when new lawman Cleavon Little rides into town and a Gabby Hayes type hollers “The Sheriff is a N—!” Not so very long ago this country wasn’t even ready for an African-American NFL quarterback; then we elected Obama, and the far right went into overdrive challenging his legitimacy, largely through the ruse of “birtherism.” Now that he’s vanquished our worst enemy, the man responsible for 3,000 ghastly deaths on 9/11,the countless shattered lives of their survivors and a national trauma that changed the American way of life—there has to be SOME way of trashing the achievement.

Enter the parade of Bush administration vets and apologists invading the Beltway chatter shows. The only way Obama could have caught Osama, they say, is through “enhanced interrogation techniques”—i.e. torture—of Gitmo detainees, that led to the couriers who led us to bin Laden. Thank God for Bush and Cheney.

Well, that’s been debunked—and kudos to Sen. John McCain, whose conscience emerged from its two-year stupor, that far-right pandering fueled by his bitterness over 2008 and a fierce RWNJ primary challenge in 2010. McCain, who was tortured in Vietnam, of course, spoke eloquently and passionately on the Senate floor, insisting that waterboarding and other “enhancements” played no part in tracking down OBL. With his stature and moral authority, he burst the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld bubble.

And a bubble is what it was. For I would suggest that Bush-Cheney & Co. had no interest whatsoever in capturing or killing bin Laden. His gaunt, bearded visage was the face of the enemy, the excuse for the War on Terror. Take him away, and where’s your support for Iraq, for Gitmo, for Afghanistan, for ginning up the fear Republicans so rely on? They needed bin Laden.

Then there was this tack taken by the execrable Rush Limbaugh: That bin Laden was an unarmed private citizen, and who was Obama to invade his home and blow him away? Can you imagine radio’s most noxious gasbag belching out such nonsense if a Republican had nailed bin Laden? Of course not. And can you imagine if Obama had told his Navy Seals to take bin Laden alive—and then one or two of those brave men had died in action, victims of a bomb or bullets? Or if OBL had been brought back to the US for a trial—think of the ensuing circus. And ponder the political hay Rush and the righties would make of it; not to mention the propaganda/recruitment value for al Qaeda.

That a rightist goon and Bush apologist like Limbaugh is so consumed by his desire to bring down Obama that he actually took bin Laden’s part—or pretended to—well, how’s THAT for propaganda value? It’s what I mean by “aid and comfort.” Rush Limbaugh, al Qaeda sympathizer: Who knew?

Of course there have been, less surprisingly, similar noises on the Left. Michael Moore, for one, said he believed even bin Laden deserved his “day in court.” I consider myself pretty liberal and I probably agree with Michael Moore 90 percent of the time. But here is where I depart. Somehow, I think if Franklin Roosevelt had sent a team into a Berlin bunker to shoot Adolf Hitler through the head, no one would be talking about a day in court, or complaining that we invaded the property of an unarmed private citizen.

Osama bin Laden was a mass murderer who waged war on the United States—and elsewhere. Because of his evil, thousands of innocents–our wives, husbands, sweethearts, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, children and friends—died horribly, their last moments on earth an unimaginable hell.

In most ways I am as liberal as they come. But had I had the chance to exterminate Osama bin Laden, my only regret would have been if his death were too mercifully swift.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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One of the most entertaining shows in American politics at the moment is the spectacle of conservative intellectuals like George Will and Charles Krauthammer, among others, desperately trying to lock Sarah Palin in the attic like the mad wife in Jane Eyre. When Republican and independent voters hit the pillow at night, these small-government sages want them fantasizing about the vast, sweeping forehead—and the considerable brain underneath—of Mitch Daniels, not SarahPac’s sophomoric smirk.

You could have called it. With the 2012 Presidential race looming, lamestream Republicans are trying with all their might to push Palin under the bus. With her approval ratings at an all-time low, they’re ganging up to finish her off. Even Roger Ailes has criticized her for that grotesquely narcissistic display of victimhood in the wake of the Tucson tragedy. You can just see them all huddling with Karl Rove, planning their lines of attack.

The reasoning is obvious: Palin is utterly unelectable. To thoughtful advocates of conservative political philosophy, she is beyond an embarrassment. And to everyone outside her aggrieved, white, fundamentalist, know-nothing base—in other words the current base of the Republican Party—she is at best a figure of fun, at worst a vicious, hate-mongering moron.  Indeed, from the moment a desperate John McCain chose Palin for the 2008 ticket, some grownups on the Right cringed. Remember when a live mike during an MSNBC commercial break caught Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy essentially saying the Palin pick had doomed the GOP?

And that was before they knew the monster McCain had loosed upon the world. Before they knew that Sarah Palin would suck the air out of all American politics to the right of Bill Clinton, and become the GOP rock star. The face of the party. And that she would become a media-enabled juggernaut, stopping at nothing to fuel her own celebrity and wealth.

Now they want desperately to put her back into the bottle.

Too late, guys. And you should know by now that the one thing NOT to do to Palin is attack her—otherwise you’ll wind up being called “impotent” and “limp” and you’ll have her in your face for a few more news cycles.

The real problem is that Palin does strike a chord with the hardcore right wing base. Today’s ABC-Washington Post poll tells the story: Nationally, Palin’s approval ratings are in a bus station toilet; among Republicans generally, she’s lost a great deal of ground; but among conservative zealots, the kind who vote in primaries, she’s stronger than ever:

“Palin has a 58 percent net favorable rating among Republicans, and a 37 percent net unfavorable rating. While that rating is still positive, it’s the worst she’s had with Republicans since she emerged on the national stage; her previous low was 63-31 percent…”

But don’t get too cocky, Mitt, Newt and T-Paw:

“Among strong Tea Party supporters, strongly favorable views of Huckabee and Palin are highest, at 45 and 42 percent, respectively; strongly favorable views of Gingrich and Romney drop off in this group to 35 and 31 percent, respectively…..” And among “Republicans who say they are “very” conservative. Palin and Huckabee (at 45 and 44 percent) again attract much higher strongly favorable ratings among strong conservatives than do Gingrich and Romney (30 and 28 percent).”

Another revealing trend in the poll is Mike Huckabee‘s continued high rating: It explains his recent descent into wingnut birtherism—obviously Huck saw a recent survey showing that 51 percent of Republicans think President Obama is foreign-born. That underscores the can’t-live-with-’em-can’t-live-without-’em dilemma that drives the conservative intelligentsia nuts: They can expound on Adam Smith and Edmund Burke and Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman all they want—Republicans need their Yahoos, their Ignoramiat. You can’t win primaries without them. Since they’re your base, you can’t compete in general elections without them, either. And yet ultimately, elections are won in the center—which recoils at extremist wingnuttery.

Of course, the whole GOP has moved sharply to the right and arguably dragged the political center with it.  There are the radical plutocrats like the Koch Brothers, who bankroll stooges like Scott Walker, John Kasich and Rick Snyder; the Teabaggers and the Christian Theocrats, groups that overlap with the Yahoo-Ignoramiat Palinistas—those aggrieved white know-nothings who revel in their reactionary ignorance while wrapping themselves in Jesus, Old Glory and the Constitution—well, at least the Second Amendment.

And don’t underestimate the racial element. Ever since the GOP pursued its “Southern Strategy” Republicans have captured the white vote, usually by healthy margins.

% Votes White Republican Democrat Other
1976 89 52 48
1980 88 56 36 8
1984 86 66 34
1988 85 60 40
1992 87 41 39 21
1996 83 46 44 9
2000 81 55 42 3
2004 77 58 41 1
2008 74 55 43

These stats are heavily skewed by the South, of course. Consider that Barack Obama won just 9 percent of the White male vote in Mississippi against 91 percent for John McCain (of course the black vote was similarly imbalanced). But John Kerry didn’t exactly tear it up, losing 18-81 against George W. Bush in Ol’ Miss.

The problem that by pandering to whites, painting the Democrats as the party that takes hard-earned money out of your pocket and gives it to drug addled “welfare queens,” suggesting President Obama is an un-American “other,” Republicans made their own bed. Those aggrieved, poor and middle –class whites were ripe for a demagogue, and Palin has more than filled the bill. They love her. Attack her, you attack them.

And then you set up one of the central themes of her victimhood politics: The Washington elites—conservative ones in this case—versus the 5-college Real American ignoramus. Them versus Us. And now Rush Limbaugh has come to Palin’s defense, which makes it worse—attack her, you attack Rush. And that’s something you just don’t do.

Palin may well not run for president in 2012.  For one thing, it would certainly entail a huge pay cut. But she’s not going anywhere.  Even if she doesn’t enter the race, she’ll continue to be a huge, air-sucking distraction, with her inane, snarky Tweets and comments, her feuds, her breathtaking ignorance.  And she will overshadow everyone in a blandly uninspiring GOP field.

So conservatives: Own Sarah Palin. She’s all yours.

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“One of us, one of us, one of us.”

–Tod Browning’s Freaks

Et tu, Huck?

We always knew Mike Huckabee was conservative—even very conservative. He’s a Baptist preacher from the South after all—and yes, I know that’s stereotyping, so don’t even go there.

But on a personal level the former Arkansas governor seemed a kind of Right Wing Lite, reasonable, intelligent, with an everyman face and a name that makes you want to whistle The Fishin’ Hole—Earle Hagen’s theme to The Andy Griffith Show. Huck always seemed to have a sense of humor about himself, and his whole weight loss battle was rather endearing.

Even more endearingly, Huckabee recently defended Michelle Obama’s healthy eating, anti-obesity campaign against the likes of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh, who naturally portrayed it as some kind of big government conspiracy to keep American moms from churning out the most porcine children in the industrialized world. As the Founding Fathers intended. Also.

Perhaps that was Huckabee’s sin—at least in the eyes of the radical right-wing base. Just as Ronald Reagan proclaimed Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill Of A Fellow Republican, it is strictly verboten to praise anyone named Obama—Sasha and Malia included, I presume.

And, of course, Thou Shalt Not Defy Boss Limbaugh. Rush’s gazillion-yahoo listener base turns brave Republicans into oatmeal. One suspects he’d even have Teddy Roosevelt in retreat.

In any event, it has been sickening this week to see Good Ol’Huck play along with the Right’s worst impulses—birtherism. The mythology promoted by conspiracy theorists and enabled by mainstream pols like John Boehner, which posits that President Obama was born in Kenya and may be a closet Islamofascist. Or Marxist. Or Nazi.

Though he stopped short of questioning Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy, in an interview with a Far Right radio host,  Huckabee first erroneously asserted that POTUS grew up in Kenya,  then corrected himself to say Indonesia—where Obama did live from age 6 through 10.

But Huck avoided entirely the fact that the President spent most of his childhood in his native (yes) Hawaii. What’s more, he falsely claimed Obama attended a Muslim madrassa—when in fact, he spent most of his time at a Catholic school.

Huck’s verbal gymnastics and geography aside, this whole meme serves to paint the president as, in Bill O’Reilly’s terms, “not a traditional guy.” Or, as Huckabee himself put it, little Barry Obama didn’t grow up going to Boy Scout meetings and Little League games.

Well, this former Little League batting champ (.556) calls Racist Bullshit. Whatever the code words, this is just a continuation of the Right’s campaign to portray Obama as The Other.

Not One of Us.

He doesn’t share our worldview. He doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism. Or, as the wingnut radio host interviewing Huckabee said, he “despises the west” and, for good measure, Israel.

He’s Black, in other words. With an exotic name, which, in this post-9/11 world, makes it a two-fer.

The use of The Other isn’t new in American presidential politics. Lincoln and Harding—spanning the historical rankings from top to bottom—were both “accused” of bearing African-American blood, an outrage in 1860 or 1920.

And 2011. Thing is, they obviously can’t “accuse” Obama of being Black—so they call him un-American. Or, as righty crackpot Dinesh D’Souza wrote in Forbes, his Kenyan father instilled in him anti-colonialist rage. This even though Obama scarcely saw his father as a youth, and was instead raised by the white mother and Middle American maternal grandparents (Grandpa fought with Patton) Right Wingers conveniently avoid mentioning.

Personally, I’m glad the President didn’t lead the pinched, parochial youth most of us Americans do. It gave him a perspective on the wider world.

But what if Obama were white? Imagine that some other, Caucasian Democratic presidential aspirant had been elected in 2008—a Dick Gephardt or Tom Vilsack or Chris Dodd or Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton. And imagine that president had a foreign-born father and had spent four years of his or her youth in Indonesia.

Would they be questioning that president’s Americanism? Would they portray him or her as some alien being?

And imagine that that hypothetical POTUS had followed all of Obama’s barely center-left policies. Would Teabaggers have been whining to get “their country back?”

This much I know. Even if Barack Obama were foreign-born, I’d rather have him in the White House than a lying, bottom-scraping panderer like Mike Huckabee.

Huck, we thought you were better than that.

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It’s been a month since Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC, and many liberal cable-news junkies have changed the status of their relationship with the station to “It’s complicated.”

Keith’s ardent fans delight in the news that, sometime in late spring, he’ll be returning to his old 8 p.m., time slot with a show on Al Gore’s Current TV, for which he’s also serving as Chief News Officer.

In the meantime, the former Countdown host is spending some of his “non-compete” limbo on Twitter, posting links and 140-characters-or-less comments on some of the astonishing news events—the Mideast, Wisconsin, et. al.—unfolding since his exit, while keeping his chops sharp chiding Congressional Republicans

(@KeithOlbermann: Sen. McConnell: “Olbermann is out, and Reagan is in.” Olbermann: “Olbermann is back, and Reagan is dead and he was a lousy president.”);

and smacking down nasty Tweets from right-wingnuts.

@RightWinger: “Hey Keith, what’s happening in #Wisconsin is democracy. You ought to try it. We love Scott Walker. Keith your a dick.”

@KeithOlbermann: “No no – nobody following your childish driveltweets – THAT’s democracy.”

Keith also Tweets on everything from baseball (he continues his delightful Baseball Nerd blog) to Manhattan sunsets (photos included).

But what of MSNBC in the wake of his departure? Sadly, the early returns suggest that some of Keith’s audience has, for the moment, tuned out. This today from The Hollywood Reporter:

“Ratings for Lawrence O’Donnell‘s The Last Word, which replaced Countdown With Keith Olbermann, are down approximately 10 percent from results for the same time a year ago when Olbermann was in the coveted 8 p.m. time slot. O’Donnell’s ratings are also down 22% from Olbermann’s performance in the fourth quarter of 2010, reports the New York Times. Both ratings drops are within the viewer age range of 25 and 54, which is the ideal target market for news programs.

Of course it’s a tough act to follow for O’Donnell. A self-described socialist (albeit a pragmatic one) he has a varied resume—onetime Chief of Staff for the Senate Finance Committee and co-creator of The West Wing (long married to actress Kathryn Harrold).

Judging anecdotally—from the Friends of Keith (#FOK) on Twitter—it’s true that some of Olbermann’s fans haven’t quite taken to O’Donnell, which I think is a shame. I enjoyed his 10 p.m. show. He’s smart, articulate and gets some intriguing guests—including far-righties who don’t normally venture onto MSNBC, like off-the-charts-extremist Rep. Steve King and the execrable Ann Coulter—and with whom Lawrence gets into occasional shouting matches. To emphasize his fiery side, perhaps in an effort to reclaim some Keith defectors, MSNBC now uses as a promo spot an excerpt from O’Donnell’s argument with Arizona Rep. Trent Franks over ammunition control.

I hope O’Donnell hangs in there—but of course, if he stays in the 8 p.m. time slot, he’ll go head-to-head with Keith. And that will be a testing time for MSNBC’s entire primetime lineup. By all accounts Rachel Maddow’s ratings are holding firm since KO’s exit—and she’s been fierce, in her cerebral way, particularly about the GOP assault on women’s reproductive rights, as well as Egypt. Even after Keith’s up and running at Current, I suspect she’ll hang on to her loyal fan base.

A  question mark is Ed Schultz, whose ratings reportedly, have been rocky in O’Donnell’s 10 p.m. slot. I think he brings something special to the table—like Olbermann, he’s combative, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He seemed a bit strait-jacketed at first, especially once his entertaining “Psycho Talk” segment was (for whatever reason) discontinued.

But the Battle of Wisconsin  highlights Big Ed’s big passion—fighting for the middle class, the blue-collar and white collar workers who’ve been getting screwed for 30 years—three decades that saw their incomes remain flat, while the gap between the rich and everyone else widened into a canyon. Ed’s reporting, more than anyone, made Wisconsin into a national story—even as many mainstream media ignored it.

Maybe Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting power play—a Labor vs. GOP battle that will play out in Ohio, Indiana and many other states over the next two years—will give Schultz the boost he needs. We need someone who can call out Rush Limbaugh in language he can understand. When “the Drugster,” as Ed calls him, called Wisconsin workers “freeloaders” and “parasites,” and suggested they were leading an “anti-democracy movement,” this was Ed’s response:

If you want to follow the Limbaugh and the Becks of the world, and you want to turn your back on firefighters, turn your back on police officers, turn your back on nurses, turn your back on brothers and sisters who have stood in solidarity to fight for the middle class in America? Is that wrapping yourself in the flag? Hey Rush: why don’t you wrap your fat ass in the flag on Monday?”

I’d hate to lose that. Let’s hope Liberal-leaning cable news is big enough for Keith Olbermann and MSNBC, the network he, more than anyone, helped create.

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Understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”  Barack Obama, 2007

 

Dear President Obama,

I have been one of your staunchest supporters. Along with tens of millions of other Americans–black, white, brown liberal, moderate and even some conservatives– the experience of your campaign and election was one of the most euphoric events of my life, something I never imagined in my wildest dreams.

I saw you as not only the first African-American president, but a transformational leader.

And I still do. Through all my fellow liberals’ criticism of your presidency, I have stood by you. Through Afghanistan, through the tax cut compromise, when you were being called a turncoat—one liberal writer, Roger Hodge, skewered you with a book titled The Mendacity of Hope— I gave you my unwavering support.

I touted your accomplishments. I understood the concerns of the progressive base, and shared many of them. But I also knew the realities of American politics, the complexities of Congress and the fact that if you lose the middle, 2012, and any hope of a progressive agenda, is lost.

I still support you. Ardently. But now, I implore you:

Fulfill your campaign promise to walk with workers facing the loss of their collective bargaining rights.

Go to Madison, Wisconsin.

Perhaps you’re waiting, watching Gov. Scott Walker self-destruct, abandoned by his fellow GOP governors, exposed as a preening fraud by a prankster. Maybe you’re afraid that, by going to Madison you’ll somehow slow down the Walker train wreck.

Then go to Indianapolis. Or Columbus. Or Trenton. Anywhere workers fight for their rights against the conservatives waging war against them, people like the Koch Brithers, who vow to crush them and enact their ideological agenda—no taxes, no regulation, no rules, privatization. Dismantling decades of social progress.

Show the world you stand with them, inspire them with the power of your words, the full force of your Bully Pulpit.

Speak out and inspire the thousands of ordinary citizens massed in the capital, fighting for their liberty.

Show solidarity.

If you have any hope of reclaiming the progressive base, bonding with the middle class¸—the folks Arianna Huffington said you’re “just not that into….” Bonding with the “real” Real America.

Go.

On the night of your election victory you told the crowd in Grant Park, “In this defining moment, change has come to America.”

This is a defining moment. A turning point in the history of our nation.

In Wisconsin, Ohio and across America, Republicans who have vowed to destroy you —fueled by the Kochs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Club for Growth and other groups–are using union-busting tactics to cripple the Democratic Party, weaken it permanently.

Unions are the only large entities that mobilize and organize Democratic voters. They have fought for our workplace rights and for social welfare for generations.

If the unions fall, we all do.

And meanwhile, under the guise of “fiscal responsibility” Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. John Kasich, et. al., are attempting to steal away workers’ rights to collective bargaining, fair representation, vital civil liberties.

For the sake of tax cuts for the wealthy elite and Big Business, for the sake of expanding the ever-growing chasm between rich and poor, between plutocrats and working folks, these anti-government corporate activists are breaking the back of middle class and low-income Americans.

All while wrapping themselves in the flag.

This is more than a matter of your personal political fortunes. It is a moral imperative. You will be accused of high-handed interference. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin will call you a Marxist dictator. Or a Fascist dictator. Or a Nazi.

In the words of John Boehner: So be it

Go.

This is not a time for centrist diffidence. It is a time for passion and emotion and conviction.

The conviction shown by Wisconsin Democrats who fled their state in protest to deny their legislature a quorum.

The courage of teachers, cops, firefighters, nurses and students who, by the thousands, now crowd the state capital of this cradle of progressivism. “Real Americans” the Right-Wing attack machine now calls un-American.

This is not about a budget. This is about the survival of the Democratic Party, and the survival of liberalism, the liberalism that forged so many of the rights Americans now take for granted.

And the survival of American workers.

There is one person who can overcome all the corruption, all the poison, that the Kochs and Walkers of the world—and the Foxes and the Palins– are injecting into American politics.

You. With that Bully Pulpit. Now is the time. The 2012 campaign will be too late. There are many who said–unfairly, I believe–that your reaction to the uprising in Egypt was too slow, too cautious.

This isn’t Cairo. This is Wisconsin. It’s America. It’s home.

Mr. President:

Go.

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This is a short pissed off, post.

Why does the enforcement of media civility always work one way—to the left? The short answer, of course, is corporate control.

And so Keith Olbermann, MSNBC‘s liberal lion, took hits from the right—and apparently the suits—over his Worst Persons in the World segment, one of Countdown’s trademarks. And one of the features that helped make him the station’s Number One host—its signature figure.

And, incidentally,WPITW was meant to be humorous—Keith’s wicked wit was–and is–a major part of his appeal.

Now he’s gone—to what degree that departure relates to his fierce on-air work remains murky—leaving his fan base bereft (and, evidently, deflating MSNBC’s ratings; much as we love Lawrence O’Donnell, who was suddenly thrust into Keith’s 8 PM slot).

Well, we’re still processing all this when word comes down that Ed Schultz‘s “Psycho Talk” has been killed. Just as WPITW was pure Keith, PT is all Ed—boisterous, passionate—his way to pillory cant, hypocrisy, hate speech and well, insanity, in political discourse. Both segments in both shows were DESIGNED to call out incivility, and heap upon it commensurate scorn.

What galls is that none of this is being enforced on the Right. Palin and Bachmann, Broun and Gohmert, Limbaugh and the radio Righties, Beck and the Faux Newsies—they’re  hard at it with their demagoguery, ginning up anger, intolerance and paranoia. Comparing the Obama administration to Nazis, firing up the birthers and other Don’t Tread on Me wingnuts. (And now, doubtless, savaging POTUS over Egypt, which they’d do no matter what Obama does).

Rush mocks the Chinese—then Leland Yee, a California state legislator calls out (in the words of Al Franken) the big, fat idiot. And what happens? He gets death threats from a Limbaugh fan.

Well, all’s fair, I guess. Our friends on the Right, those masters of Orwellian propaganda, whined like toddlers, shocked—shocked—that some bloggers and others blamed Tea Party extremists for the Tucson shootings—an entirely reasonable conclusion, however premature, given the Rightist hysteria in Arizona, the threats leveled at Gabby Giffords, and the quasi-erotic relationship many Arizonans have with their firearms (Name of Tucson’s ABC affiliate: KGUN).

All that faux outrage paid off. Whether it has anything to do with Comcast, whether or not it was his decision, Keith’s gone.

Now Ed’s getting muffled.

Oh, and they killed the Peacock.

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Was he over the top? Sometimes. And for liberals—or those of us who timidly call ourselves progressives—that was the whole point.

For years, we’ve been hearing the Right carp about the so-called liberal media. Meanwhile, all across the country, Right Wing demagogues like Rush Limbaugh and lesser lights have vomited out angry hate speech on talk radio; now the Right even has its own TV network, Fox News, essentially a public relations and fund raising arm of the Republican Party. We saw a concerted effort to bring down the Clinton Administration, then the stolen election of 2000 and, well, we know what happened then.

The liberal response? I’m reminded of the scene in Casino Royale, wherein Woody Allen, about to be shot by a firing squad, threatens his executioners with “an angry letter to the Times.”

Watch out, or we’ll go all Adlai Stevenson on your ass.

Then Keith Olbermann came along. And liberals finally had a fierce media voice of our own–a lonely voice at first–to call out the crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration, the lies and distortions of the O’Reillys, Limbaughs and Becks, and all the other Worst Persons in the World.

Here was a man who could declare, on national TV, what rational pundits, politicians and  ordinary Americans think (including many on the Right) but are too cautious or gutless to say:

Sarah Palin is an idiot.

But I take vehement issue with critics who, especially amid the recent–and doubtless ephemeral–climate of civility, have equated Olbermann with the worst demagogues on the Right. I’m sorry but I don’t believe Keith, as Glenn Beck did, ever advocated shooting opponents in the head.

Did I always agree with him? Well not 100 percent of the time (maybe 97 or 98). But he was there for us. He was the Babe Ruth who built MSNBC. He gave liberals a powerful media voice—as well as some balls and backbone. And I’ll miss him something awful.

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