Sunday, November 07, 2010

MSNBC's Katzenjammer Kids: Old Mischief-Making, New Realities

Salon columnist Glenn Greewald affirmed what this blog has been saying for some time now: An inchoate and incoherent MSNBC narrative that if there is blame to be laid for the Democratic Party’s historic losses, place it at the doorstep of the Left. “Bullpuckey!” as Rachel Maddow would say; or, as I’ll translate for those constrained by the standards of infantilism that control private corporate media, unlike BBC-UK or Canadian public broadcasting: BULLSHIT.
[A]lmost every time I had MNSBC on, there was Lawrence O'Donnell trying to blame "the Left" and "liberalism" for the Democrats' political woes.  Alan Grayson's loss was proof that outspoken liberalism fails.  Blanche Lincoln's loss was the fault of the Left for mounting a serious primary challenge against her. Russ Feingold's defeat proved that voters reject liberalism in favor of conservatism, etc. etc
I’ll second that. This was my reaction to O’Donnell’s rant about Blanche Lincoln, in case he unfairly blames Greewald for what others have said — To Lawrence’s “I asked questions!” disingenuous rationale:
Memo to Lawrence O'Donnell: Lost in that longwinded gas attack of his is the fact Blanche Lincoln was (a) polling exactly the same as her final election numbers v. Boozman, while Lt. Governor (hardly an unknown) Halter was super-competitive; (b) the public option was also a poll winner in Arkansas; (c) it was whole series of positions by Lincoln, including a very public and disgraceful objection to raising the liability limits for lawsuits against BP and the Gulf corporate polluters. It was not lost on progressives, Mr. O'Donnell, that Lincoln was the biggest recipient of corporate oil money among Democrats.

The answer to O'Donnell's rant masquerading as a question is, absolutely, progressives would have done it again. Double down. The real question is, would the Clintonite party elders be forward-looking and realistic enough to dump a Democrat who had done practically nothing to advance the Democratic agenda, and support Halter, a candidate whose race would likely be much more competitive and winnable.

By the way, Lawrence, all these pompous predictions based on your vast bureaucratic experience in the Senate — yawn. Your understanding of process and political currents comes off as clunky and kind of rusty. On the bright side, you've got an inside track on the Idiot Punditocracy.
So I totally get what Greenwald means here:
It sounded as though he was reading from some crusty script jointly prepared in 1995 by The New Republic, Lanny Davis and the DLC.
Whenever Lawrence pontificates with off-the-wall predictions about what Congress will do in this case or that, he comes across existing in a 1995 bureaucratic time bubble, which then quickly transforms itself into a 2010 time warp. O’Donnell’s opinions touting his “experience” as a high-level staffer in the Senate at that time are, well … dated. Invariably when I listen to Lawrence’s pompous affirmations that X will happen, and Y will not, my first reaction is — “not likely”— and my second is ... (rolls eyes) paging Ezra Klein, or Howard Fineman (gotta respect the old pros who actually have their ears pinned to the ground, at Keith’s “Listening Post”), or Glenn Greewald himself.

MSNBC's Matthews and O'Donnell get their sails trimmed by the PROFESSIONAL LEFT ... and me.

Thankfully, I missed much of the MSNBC O’Donnell rants taking point from Chris Matthews, dean of the Idiot Punditocracy, to risk entering the Greewald killing zone. O’Donnell seemed to relish the combat, although he exposed his Left flank with a feint admission he is “a socialist.” Nice try, Lawrence. You and Chris must think we’re really stupid — (“Must be those netroots people,” snarls Chris under his breath ... Priceless!) Which is a laugh and a half, but explains much about the beltway media, Politicos, WaPos, i.e., the Idiot Punditocracy — or that there is more than semantics separating Liberals and Progressives. Here’s a hint, Lawrence: Liberals and Progressives are cousins. Get it?

Joan Walsh, Salon’s Editor in Chief who doubles as Chris’s nanny on Hardball, also noticed the blame-the-Left beltway narrative:
I watched Democrats including MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell try to blame the blowout on whiny progressives.
Chris was rather muted on election night, perhaps chastened by Rachel Maddow’s intimidating presence or Keith’s cutting one-liners. But Chris can be volatile and ideologically erratic, too. He will literally change his stripes from day to day. So he got his irrational anti-Left jab in when he thought no one was looking. As he said in one of his promos, “I nailed him” in the Dumbass corner. I’ll do it again, too, if Chris is a glutton for punishment. Nothing personal. I like Chris. But he and Lawrence seem to have difficulty shedding their old skin.

What Lawrence and Chris are so exercised about is that the numbers behind who went down on the Democratic side, and why, tell a different story from the absurd DLC narrative they're pushing, to blame the Left. Greewald debunked it in his column, his appearance with comrade Lawrence on Morning Joe “Stalin,” and his follow-up column.
O'Donnell's refusal to cease speaking for any longer than a few seconds at a time — the standard form of adolescent cable-TV behavior — caused the segment to degenerate into one of those cable scream-fests which was ultimately more headache-inducing than enlightening.
What’s next for MSNBC’s Katzenjammer Kids? Who knows! They’re well nigh incorrigible … Here’s my suggestion: The MSNBC mischief-making Kids would be more useful to the cause of moving this country forward if they turn their ire and pranks on Republicans and the Tea Party. Just saying.

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