March 02, 2010
Some Modest Inquiries

Would the presidentís health care bill fare better if it wasnít longer than War and Peace and nowhere near as interesting? If it was cut to, say, ten pages, even Republicans would be able to digest it and it might now be the law of the land.

Might we take Rachel Maddow more seriously if she didnít wear sneakers on her news show? And wouldnít her news show benefit from more news and less cuteness? On a recent evening Maddow interviewed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the upstate New Yorker who was named to succeed Hillary Clinton when Clinton became capo di tutti cappi di tutti diplomati. When the camera drew back for a long shot of the two women sitting at facing desks we could see that Rachel was ready for some post-punditry hoops. She was wearing what appeared to be Converse high-tops, black with white rubber trimming. Gillibrand, who has shed a few pounds since joining the August Body, is certainly the best-looking Senator and probably one of the smartest. She was soft-spoken, businesslike, not wearing sneakers, and was not in the least bit cute.


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Would Chris Matthews find more viewers if he didnít constantly interrupt his guests by answering his own questions and spraying saliva all over the place?

During the presidentís state of the union address, Justice Alito, who was sitting directly in front of the president a couple of rows back, kept shaking his head from side to side in apparent disapproval of what he was hearing. Shouldnít our Supreme Court Justices, even those who are runaway ideologues and hypocrites, at least try to maintain some measure of political neutrality?

To be sure, thatís an old-fashioned notion and not one that will find favor with the likes of Alito, or with the oddly creepy Chief Justice, with the sneering Scalia, or Clarence the Clown. These gifted legal theorists have now declared that corporations are the same as people and therefore have the right to spend as much money as they want to elect their favorite candidates. Thus forty or fifty years-worth of laws limiting the pernicious influence of powerful corporate interests on democratic elections was wiped away. And those laws prominently included the McCain-Feingold Act, co-sponsored by the recent Republican candidate for the presidency. Nobody is safe from this court.

What is the OíReilly factor? Maybe if we could figure out what it is, we could eliminate it. (Ed. note: It is suavity.) Without his factor, might OíReilly go away, too? Of course, if OíReilly miraculously disappeared, then Keith Olbermann would have nothing to talk about on his news show and maybe he would also go away. As a recovering MSNBC addict, I can say that might not be all bad. Even if you like Olbermann, you can see that heís almost as far out of control as Rachel Maddow.

But if Olbermann is out of control, what can we say about Rush Limbaugh? Itís hard to understand the attraction of a man of such spectacular repulsiveness. Heís fat, loud, ugly, mean as a rabid coyote, utterly cynical, totally irresponsible, dope-addled, and breathtakingly dishonest. He spews hate and broadcasts lies, and, despite these traits, or because of them, lots of people think heís great. A great mystery. But then, lots of people thought Hitler was a fun guy.

A final few tidbits for thought. Why does anyone care what Arianna Huffington thinks? She used to be a loud-mouthed conservative and now sheís a loud-mouthed liberal. Huh?

Who is Glenn Beck and why do we keep hearing about him? There seems to be nothing about him that isnít reprehensible. Nobody likes him, including his mother. Everything he says is a lie. He lacks charm, wit and intelligence. So why the hell do we keep hearing about him? Letís put him out with the trash, with Sam Alitoís manners and OíReillyís factor.

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Posted by Paul Duffy at March 02, 2010 05:32 PM
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