Tuesday night, President Obama gave his State of the Union Address. Then afterward, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan gave the official GOP response to the president’s SOTU address, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann gave the unofficial Tea Party response. Most in the political world expected fireworks from Ms. Bachmann’s response, but, in the end, her speech proved to be highly unprovocative. In fact, many Republican pundits, like Redstate’s Erick Erickson, wrote that they were pleasantly surprised at how well Congresswoman Bachmann came across. As Da Tech Guy pointed out, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, there was “not a single word of snark from the panel” when the topic of her speech came up. However, perpetual GOP critic, Meghan McCain, found a way to say something, not just critical of Ms. Bachmann’s speech, but over-the-top and mean-spirited as well. To be specific, Ms. McCain said the following to Laurence O’Donnell when he inquired as to whether Michele Bachmann giving the Tea Party response to the SOTU was “your worst dream come true” :
“Michele Bachmann is not the leader of the Republican Party. Michele Bachmann is a poor man’s Sarah Palin, and I think the fact that MSNBC and Fox elected not to run this is admirable to the kind of journalism that Fox and MSNBC is airing, and I think that CNN should be ashamed of themselves for airing this. This is one rogue woman who couldn’t even look into the camera directly.”
Oh, where to begin, where to begin. I guess I’ll start off with question number one.
1.) Why should CNN be “ashamed of themselves” for running Congresswoman Bachmann’s speech?
As Allahpundit pointed out, “Bachmann did a good job in both emphasizing her role as a spokesperson for Tea Party Express rather than the GOP and sticking with economic and fiscal issues”, so she clearly wasn’t some “rogue woman”. And yes, her not looking directly into the camera was slightly distracting, but it wasn’t disgraceful. In fact, I have embedded the dreaded Bachmann speech below.
Oh, my eyes, my eyes–it burns, it stings!! The inhumanity of it all! I can’t believe that I just watched that hateful woman talk about job numbers, debt ceilings and unemployment for six minutes! I mean all of that talk about spending and inflation and other “hateful” stuff that John McCain’s always talking about and Zzzzzz….Oh, I’m sorry, I’m awake now.
Yeah, you see, the reason why most networks didn’t carry Congresswoman Bachmann’s speech is not because it was hateful (as Meghan McCain implies by stating that “CNN should be ashamed of themselves”), but because it was boring–as most of these SOTU replies are. However, if CNN’s viewers find Ms. Bachmann’s speech to be interesting for some reason, then it is CNN’s right as a private company to put it on the air. CNN should not be forced to make its business decisions based around who Ms. McCain personally likes or dislikes. Hey Meghan, censorship much?
2.) Ms. McCain, do you want to be a political pundit or a Valley Girl?
During the first few minutes of her interview with Laurence O’Donnell (see the embed above), Meghan McCain said the following when Mr. O’Donnell asked her if she “enjoyed prom night”:
“Um, I enjoyed following on Twitter all what the congressmen and pundits were saying and there were a lot of jokes about prom night that I enjoyed and I think it was good…um, it was definitely a very metaphorical thing to do.”
Really?! That’s your actual response when asked–as a political pundit–to give your opinion about the SOTU address? “A metaphorical thing to do”? I don’t even know what that means. Oh, and could we please have some more “ums”, name-calling (like “poor man’s Sarah Palin” or “H8er”), and over-the-top rhetoric (like “CNN should be ashamed of themselves”) because all of that really makes you sound so professional. Seriously Meghan, if you sound like the actress from the 1983 movie Valley Girl when giving a political opinion, then it’s time to step it up a notch.
I imagine that if the character from Valley Girl was asked by Laurence O’Donnell to give her opinion on the STOU Address, she would probably sound something like this:
“Oh. My. God. I just loved the whole prom night theme from the SOTU–it was like totally awesome. Um, I mean, I like couldn’t shut up about it on Twitter. Date night totally rocks!! It was just so metaphorical and stuff. But then that H8er Michele Bachmann had to come on and just ruin it for me. Like gag me with a spoon. Um, she like totally sucks! She is such a loser and is just a poor man’s Sarah Palin. CNN should totally be ashamed of themselves for putting her on the air and ruining prom night for me!“
And yes Ms. McCain–even though it is a bit of an exaggeration–that mental image is what people are reminded of when you start to talk. It might sound catty, but if you are going to give an outrageous opinion–like say, stating that a network should censor a politician’s speech simply because you don’t like that person–then it would help if you didn’t sound like a walking, dated parody yourself. (That movie was made in 1983.) In other words, if you want people to start taking you seriously, then start taking yourself seriously and drop the Valley Girl routine.
3.) What in the heck does the Tuscon shooting have to do with Michele Bachmann’s SOTU rebuttal?
In the beginning of Meghan McCain’s interview with Mr. O’Donnell, he immediately started off with the discredited meme that “heated political rhetoric” somehow played a part in the Arizona shootings. Well, when Ms. McCain had the chance to respond and set him straight, she instead gave the following reply:
“Although I do think that it’s a wake-up call for what’s going on in the country, I don’t think that the shootings were necessarily politically motivated.”
Again, really??!!! “Weren’t necessarily politically motivated”? So, in other words, they might be politically motivated, but you’re really not sure, huh?
Then, to make matters worse, Ms. McCain goes off on a tangent and plays useful idiot to Laurence O’Donnell by agreeing with him that having Michele Bachmann speak is her “worst nightmare”, because of Bachmann’s supposedly “hateful rhetoric”.
[What pray tell was hateful about her speech? Bachmann was talking about spending and deficits--basically, the exact same thing that your father has talked about his entire political career. Does your father engage in "hateful rhetoric"?]
However, what is particularly galling about Ms. McCain’s willingness to play useful idiot to Mr. O’Donnell, is that MSNBC was ground zero for hateful rhetoric for pretty much the entire week after the AZ shootings by perpetually insinuating that Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party were somehow responsible for the shooter’s rampage (and they failed to mention that the killer was an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic). I think that David Brooks (of all people) said it best when he wrote the following:
“All of this evidence, which is easily accessible on the Internet, points to the possibility that Loughner may be suffering from a mental illness like schizophrenia.
In short, the evidence before us suggests that Loughner was locked in a world far removed from politics as we normally understand it.
Yet the early coverage and commentary of the Tucson massacre suppressed this evidence. The coverage and commentary shifted to an entirely different explanation: Loughner unleashed his rampage because he was incited by the violent rhetoric of the Tea Party, the anti-immigrant movement and Sarah Palin.
Mainstream news organizations linked the attack to an offensive target map issued by Sarah Palin’s political action committee. The Huffington Post erupted, with former Senator Gary Hart flatly stating that the killings were the result of angry political rhetoric. Keith Olbermann demanded a Palin repudiation and the founder of the Daily Kos wrote on Twitter: “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” Others argued that the killing was fostered by a political climate of hate.
These accusations — that political actors contributed to the murder of 6 people, including a 9-year-old girl — are extremely grave. They were made despite the fact that there was, and is, no evidence that Loughner was part of these movements or a consumer of their literature. They were made despite the fact that the link between political rhetoric and actual violence is extremely murky. They were vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness.”
So, isn’t it a bit ironic that you, Ms. McCain, and Mr. O’Donnell were calling out Michelle Bachman for engaging in imaginary vicious, heated rhetoric, when it was you guys who were actually being the vicious ones by falsely accusing her (her speech was standard wonky stuff), and implying that her past rhetoric had something to do with the shooting. (Yes, you guys were clearly doing that by mentioning her speech right after you talked about “heated rhetoric” with regard to the AZ massacre.)
4.) Ms. McCain, what “hateful rhetoric” is specifically over the line for you?
For instance, it’s now a well-known fact that MSNBC was part of the MSM cabal that falsely implied that Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party and conservatives in general were accessories to mass murder. Moreover, as Robert Stacy McCain recently pointed out, Chris Matthews went on a sexist rant a couple of nights ago calling Michele Bachmann a “balloonhead”, and referred to her as “that woman” five or six different times. Of course, sexist rants are nothing new to Chris Matthews. John Guardiano gallantly called out Matthews, in a recent column, for his disgraceful bullying and abuse of Sarah Palin on Harball. Not to mention, liberal columnist Amy Siskind wrote a column for The Daily Caller where she asked the question, “Why does MSNBC tolerate Chris Matthews’ misogyny?” (Siskind even pointed out the fact that Chris Matthews has a long history of making sexist comments towards Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann–and pretty much every major female political player.) Oh, and speaking of MSNBC and misogyny, who could forget Keith Olbermann stating that “someone should take Hillary Clinton into a room and only he comes out”?
And finally, Ms. McCain, your pal Lawrence O’Donnell is a well-known anti-Mormon bigot who went on a long tirade a couple of years ago trashing Mitt Romney for his faith (see the embed below).
So now, my question to you Ms. McCain is exactly what is your definition of “hateful rhetoric”? Because, right now, it’s starting to look like you would give the following answer to my question:
“Um, like I don’t really mind the misogyny at MSNBC so much, because those guys are cool and hip unlike that stick in the mud Bill O’Reilly, so they’re just blowing off steam. They don’t really mean it when they call Michele Bachmann a “Balloonhead” (which she is), or say that people should kill Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, Sarah Palin like totally ruined my book tour, so she and her family kind of have it coming in my opinion. Umm…and, as far as Larry O goes, well, he’s my buddy–and besides, Mormons are weird and creepy anyway. Oh, and everyone knows that those teabaggers are all a bunch of H8ers and racists, so I don’t really care what people say about them–mocking them is kind of like a metaphorical thing to do because they are just so gross. But dammit–I draw the line when it comes to giving speeches about the debt ceiling and spending, because that will just like totally rile up all of those H8ers and teabaggers. Gag.”
So, in conclusion, Meghan McCain seems to think the reason that she rubs conservatives the wrong way is because we’re all a bunch of haters and bigots who want to automatically exclude her because of some of her more liberal sensibilities. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I am not a big social conservative and I feel right at home in the Republican Party. The Republican Party is indeed a big tent party–we have social conservatives, libertarians, fiscal conservatives and defense hawks all happily co-existing under the same roof together. Meghan McCain’s problem is that she demands tolerance for her views, but shows none in return towards her fellow conservatives. My friend and colleague Amy Miller hit it out of the park when she wrote the following dissecting Ms. McCain’s writings:
“There is a place for the far right in this party, Malkin included, and I respect their right to be heard. But the Republican Party will continue to lose elections unless we start reaching out in a more effective way to people my age and to moderates. Barack Obama won the last election on the slogan “Yes We Can,” and there is no reason why Republicans can’t go forth and win elections with equally positive messages. We will not get anywhere by continuing to sell hate and fear…The old conservatives of the past need to start accepting that this is a new era and I am a part of a new generation. I am as sick of the infighting as everyone else, but I would like to point out that I am not the one starting this fight or demanding that the other half of the party leave.
Uh huh. There’s a place for me, a member of the “far right” crazy mob, but we should probably shut up so we don’t offend the sensibilities of those members of the party with questionable morals and an overwhelming desire to please everyone. Got that, everyone? Moe? Erick? EPU? STOP OFFENDING PEOPLE! It’s your fault we’re losing elections. Wake up, think young, and get serious. We, the youth of the world, have our iPods, our motorcycles, and our tattoos, and we’re taking over. And we’re going to be POSITIVE about it, because God knows all of your hateful fear mongering over the years has completely destroyed any chance the Republicans have of kissing the butts of people who live to destroy conservatives. UGH. Now my buzz is totally harshed. Thanks a lot.”
In other words, Meghan McCain has no problem going on television shows that routinely trash conservatives and playing useful idiot by joining in the fun. However, she wants you to be totally cool with her calling you an ignorant racist/hater on MSNBC, all the while, sounding like an ignoramus herself. What this behavior demonstrates is that Ms. McCain has no real interest in helping out the conservative movement–she is just in it for herself and to raise her own profile. Furthermore, someone needs to explain to Meghan McCain that one sounds disingenuous when her mantra is, “Everyone should be tolerant and listen to what I have to say, but shut your mouth you stupid teabagger because you should be ashamed of yourself for even wanting to give a speech. The First Amendment only applies to enlightened people like me–not to H8ers like you.” Tolerance is a two-way street. It’s high time that Meghan McCain realizes this simple fact.