I realize, now that MSNBC has gone all in on the Former Republican Reputation Rehab business, that every day from now until the crack of doom a big, comfy chair will be pulled out for one or more of the goofs who helped create the GOP monster factory that is the reason our democracy is now hanging by its fingernails.
And I realize that, because MSNBC has gone all in on the Former Republican Reputation Rehab business, none of these goof will ever be asked any substantive questions about their responsibility for the deep shit we are all in. Instead they will simply appear as Athena leaping from the forehead of Zeus, fully-formed, with no inconvenient past and speaking of the GOP using exactly the same language, cadence and inflection that, for 40 years, Liberal have been mocked, slandered and ignored for using.
And while the reaction here at Castle Driftglass to the appearance of one of these goofs on our teevee machines is to quickly shut it off or change the channel, like iocaine powder --
-- over the past several years I've built up an immunity to Former Republicans having their crusty, bloody pasts whitewashed on "liberal" teevee, but (he hastened to add) only at the dosage level that MSNBC usually administers.
What I was not prepared for was Lawrence O'Donnell deciding for some inexplicable reason that it was time to deliver a video tongue bath to MSNBC's entire stable of these goofs. It was so cringy and craven that it swamped my immunity to such things and momentary stunned me into immobility. It has taken me this long to collect my meager wits and resume normal human activities like eating, sleeping and blogging about what utter shite the media has become.
Mr. O'Donnell begins innocently enough:
O'DONNELL: Around the early 1990s, Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing fanatics decided to change the name of the Democratic Party; they changed it to 'the Democrat Party.' They thought that was really smart, "the Democrat Party".
And then leaps us ahead 30 years with no mention of the events or actors of the intervening decades. It was just Rush Limbaugh one minute, and the next...
O'DONNELL: Republicans are no longer quite so fetishistic about their attachment to democracy. Instead of expressing their belief in democracy, Republicans now express their belief in stolen elections.
Which is true, but, where is this headed?
It's heading up the awkward on-ramp to where Mr. O'Donnell wants to take us:
O'DONNELL: The Republican Party has always presented itself as the defender of traditional American values against an assault on those values by liberal Democrats.
And Alphonse Capone always presented himself as a legitimate businessman. So what?
O'DONNELL: Michael Gerson may have been the single best Republican practitioner of that art of expressing American values as a speechwriter. Michael Gerson is an evangelical Christian who was the chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and the words that he gave to President Bush, who sometimes mangled those words, were among the most eloquent expressions of traditional American values.
Well fuck me. Not only is this arrant horseshit, but it conspicuously ignores the substance of what Gerson spent decades defending and attacking. I know this because I wrote a long, thoroughgoing post about it which got me blocked in some in the tonier precincts of the Beltway media, an "attaboy" from Brother Charlie Pierce and which was pretty much ignored by everyone else (except you lovely people.)
And by "a long post" I mean it clocked in at just over 16,600 words. Comprehensively long.
So at this point it probably goes without saying that Mr. O'Donnell's opinions of the merits and morality of Michael Gerson diverge widely from my own. Well, you're heard Mr. O'Donnell's, so here, from a small snippet from that 2019 post, are mine.
The Bonfire of the Sanities
...Mr. Gerson has written this same stupid column many times before and has been roasted to a fare-thee-well by the internet every time, and nothing whatsoever has changed, and nothing whatsoever will change until Yahweh blows Fred Hiatt out of his saddle on the road to Damascus.
So really, why waste the pixels?
Instead, this time around, I found it much more personally interesting to use Mr. Gerson's saccharine droppings as a jumping off point to trace the Pecksniffian arc of his intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Perhaps to get at the larger issue of why in the hell our media consistently fails our democracy so badly.
Our story begins with our nation struggling to dig out from the wreckage that the Dubya Administration left behind. A failed and despicable administration -- the worst in American history until the rise of Donald Trump -- in which Michael Gerson, a deeply Conservative Catholic, served with unswerving loyalty, and to which he owes his position in the Can-Never-Be-Fired-No-Matter-How-Fucking-Wrong-They-Are Pundit Guild.
And from the very beginning, Mr. Gerson clearly loathed and resented Barack Obama and did not hesitate to use his Washington Post column to say so. Which is no surprise. Gerson is first, last, and always a Republican -- a Republican who, in 2008, stood in front of the dumpster fire that was the Dubya Administration doing what all Republicans were doing at the time: trying frantically to change the subject by lobbing anything they could at the Democrats who were running for the honor of cleaning up their fucking mess.
So Mr. Smoking Gun/Mushroom Cloud had no compunction about attacking the character of candidate Obama. According to Gerson, Barack Obama was so "rootless, reactive and panicky" that he picked Joe Fucking Biden as his running mate. I mean, how foolish was that, right?
And now, back to Mr. O'Donnell:
O'DONNELL: Today in his column in the Washington Post Michael Gerson writes, "the GOP is a garbage scow of the corrupt, the seditious, and their enablers".
And then we sail right over the cliff, with emphasis to mark the spot where I momentarily lost consciousness
O'DONNELL: This is unprecedented in American political history, but by now we've grown used to it, that the most eloquent and lacerating and accurate descriptions of the Republican Party now come from the former leading lights of the Republican Party, intellectuals like George Will, speechwriters like Michael Gerson and Bill Kristol, presidential campaign strategists like Stuart Stevens and Steve Schmidt, and the list goes on and on...
So a couple of things.
First, the Alert Reader will note that every name on Mr. O'Donnell's Roll of Glory is either a fellow MSNBC employee, or has a guest and/or contributor contract with MSNBC.
And second, what the actual fuck Lawrence. The most eloquent and lacerating and accurate descriptions of the Republican Party have been coming from the Left for decades now -- eloquent and lacerating and accurate descriptions of the Republican Party which have earned those Liberals nothing but the mockery and contempt from the Very Serious People of the Beltway media and people like [checks notes] George Will, Michael Gerson Bill Kristol, Stuart Stevens and Steve Schmidt, and the list goes on and on. People who built an entire industry out of lying to the world about the state of their party and their movement -- swearing that the GOP was doing just fine and anyone who said otherwise was a crackpot alarmist. People who, once it all blew up in their well-fed faces and it turned out the Left had been right about the Right all along, have contributed nothing original or meaningful to the national political conversation beyond plagiarizing the eloquent and lacerating and accurate observations and critiques of the same Liberals they had been dismissing as crackpot alarmists five minutes ago.
So you can fawn over the 1992 Cuban Olympic basketball team of MSNBC Green Room Conservative pundits all you want, Lawrence, but deep down in your heart you fucking well know that if they were ever forced to go toe-to-toe, adjective-to-adjective with the Liberal Dream team they would get blown out in the first round 136-57.
Which is exactly MSNBC why will never allow any, actual eloquent and lacerating and accurate Liberal havers-of-opinions square off against any of their Green Room Conservative pundits. Because it would be a slaughter.
O'DONNELL: ...including our first guest tonight Jennifer Rubin who writes...
Yep. That's it. I'm done.
O'DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, our Eddie Glaude, chair of the African-American Studies department at Princeton University, and Jennifer Rubin, a conservative opinion writer at "The Washington Post," and author of "Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump." Both are MSNBC contributors.
Done. Done. Done.