Yesterday I had some fun with the cluelessness of MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who had reacted with deadly seriousness to a town hall participant cheerfully identifying himself as a "right wing terrorist," and Congressman Wally Herger answering, "You're a great American." Chris simply had no idea the satirical comments were aimed at least partially at him and everyone—including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano – who has hinted sinister intentions by Tea Party and town hall protesters.
OLBERMANN: But our winner, Republican Congressman Wally Herger of California. In front of 2,000 people in Redding, scared into believing their own crap insurance and health care are better than having a choice between and ones that are cheaper and better, Herger not only said, quote, "our democracy has never been threatened as much as it is today." But then some idiot in the crowd stood up and said "I am a proud right wing terrorist."
Congressman Herger replied, "Amen. God bless you. There is a great American."
No, sir. That is not a great American. That is a man calling himself a right wing terrorist. Even if he was being allegorical or hyperbolic, you're a U.S. Congressman, damn it. You're bound by oath to uphold the Constitution. And if some buffoon in your audience describes himself with the word terrorist, you are, at minimum, required to remind him what that means and how many Americans have died at the hands of terrorists. And you have to tell him to shut the hell up until he can come close to living up to what you told everybody in that crowd when your little fascist rally started, they have to respect each other's opinions.
If you can't, Congressman Herger, you're not entitled to serve as Redding's dog catcher, let alone be in the House of Representatives. Congressman Wally "a right wing terrorist is a great American" Herger, of the California Second, today's worst person in the world.
You could, if you were generous, grant that at least Keith held out the possibility that the comments were "allegorical," so he's at least somewhat self-aware that people might resent constantly being called mobs of crazy tin-foil hat wearing racist gun nuts.
But at least Matthews was smart enough to let this one go. Olbermann decided to come back for Round 2. When Herger's spokesman pointed out that the comments were satire, this earned him Olbermann's sobriquet of "Worst Person in the Woooorrld!" (Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck are frequent honorees, which must mean that while I wasn't looking, an awful lot of dictators, mass murderers and criminal predators have died recently. Cue Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful Word," maestro!)
OLBERMANN: But our winner tonight, Matt Lavoi (ph), the spokesman for yesterday's worst, Congressman Wally Herger of Chico, California. After a constituent now identified as Bert Stead (ph) of Redding, California, stood up at a Herger town hall and identified himself as a, quote, proud right wing terrorist, Congressman Herger responded not with any rebuke but with by saying, "Amen. God bless you. There is a great American."
His spokesman, Mr. Lavoi, now says the Congressman has no intention of apologizing for praising a self-described terrorist. He says, quote, "the comment was in jest. The man was using satire to make his point," which does not have a damn thing to do with it. As I said last night, even if he was being allegorical or hyperbolic, this is not language to bandy about, not when people on both sides are showing up with submachine guns or guns at town halls. Not when members of right wing militias are showing up at town halls.
When faced with this crap on the eve of last year's election, even Senator McCain's conscience got the better of him and he reprimanded a woman spouting hate speech against McCain's rival. Congressman Herger and his spokesman need to do the same. Until they do, they're contributing tothis climate of paranoia and violence enveloping our political system.
Until they say something, Congressman Herger and this spokesman are not defending the Constitution, they are threatening it. Matt Lavoi, the spokesman for Congressman Wally Herger, second district of California, today's worst person in the world.
Memo to would-be comedians at town hall meetings. Give it up. There is NO way you are going to do a better satire of Keith Olbermann than he does of himself.
But Keith wasn't done this evening, not by a longshot. Stung by a comment that Bill O'Reilly had made in reaction to a guest referring to the feud between the two hosts, O'Reilly said that would be like the Yankees feuding with the Toledo Mudhens. That "no one" watches Olbermann or MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: And dateline, New York, number one, best sports blooper, Bill-O the Clown. His nightly round of self-applause last night, designed to drown out the echo of daddy hitting him. When somebody mentioned MSNBC's reaction to something, Bill-O belched, "They have no audience, nobody. What you just said is like saying, all right, the Toledo Mud Hens are going to be mad. OK? It doesn't matter. I'm not insulting the Toledo Mud Hens. But they're a Double A baseball team. What they think about the New York Yankees doesn't matter."
I hate to intrude with the facts, but ours is the highest rated cable news program [among] viewers 35 and younger, and the highest rated cable news program for all viewers not on Fixed [i.e., Fox] News. And since Fixed News has now migrated completely over to serving propaganda to tin foil hatters, conspiracy theorists, paranoids and racist, it's not a news organization, making THIS [Olbermann's] show the highest-rated cable news program, period.
Translation: Keith beats the CNN 8PM show. Whoopee!
This convoluted bit of ego gratification gives me an idea for my next batch of business cards. By this logic I can call myself The Greatest Writer and Political Consultant in the World…
… that is named David Forsmark