Mark Finkelstein

Mark Finkelstein's picture
Contributing Editor

Lives in Granbury, Texas. 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein

Door, meet Hagel.  

That's how many Republicans are likely to react after retiring Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel blasted Republicans in general and Rush Limbaugh in particular, claiming Rush and fellow conservative talkers "don't have any answers."

David Shuster, subbing for Olbermann on tonight's Countdown, highlighted Hagel's remarks of today.

At 78, Larry Eagleburger hasn't lost his fastball.  Since leaving government, he might actually have added some MPH.  Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, the former Secretary of State in George H.W.'s administration warmed up with some rough words for Barack Obama and Christopher Hitchens . . .  then absolutely rubbished Bill Richardson.

Andrea Mitchell had invited Eagleburger on to assess the list of potential Secretary of State nominees.  While he wasn't wildly enthusiatic about Hillary, she was his pick among those under serious consideration. When Mitchell suggested that Bill Clinton's foreign policy experience might prove useful, Eagleburger unloaded on Obama's lack of experience..

Repent, all ye owners of Suburbans, thou drivers of Explorers.  Mend thy ways, ye Escalade-loving louts!  Take heed of the warning the prophet Mika has vouchsafed unto you: greedy thou art; verily, destroyers of the environment be thee!

Oy.  Mika Brzezinski was on quite a roll this morning.  On the one hand, free-marketers would find much to agree with in Mika's arguments.  As noted here yesterday, whereas Joe Scarborough has been vigorously advocating a federal rescue of Detroit, Brzezinski favors bankruptcy over bailout. But Mika couldn't help muddling her message, delivering a jeremiad against Detroit for producing larger vehicles and Americans for buying them, actually condemning the latter as "greedy."

View video here.

Before a few weeks ago, I don't recall seeing Kathleen Parker much on TV.  But tuning into Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, there she was.  And when I got back from the gym and fired up my DVR of David Gregory's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?"  Yup, Parker redux.

Let's see.  What might possibly explain Kathleen Parker's sudden popularity on MSNBC?  You don't suppose it could conceivably have anything to do with her September column calling on Sarah Palin to step down from the GOP ticket, do you?

Joe Scarborough didn't cotton to being called a "socialist," but that's just the label Krystia Freeland laid on him during today's Morning Joe.  The Financial Times editor used the s-word to describe what she mockingly described as Joe's "touching faith" in the wisdom of government bureaucrats when it comes to reorganizing Detroit automakers.

The Morning Joe host didn't take the insult lying down.

Panelist Pat Buchanan and Scarborough had been making the case over the course of the opening segments that Detroit was too important to be allowed to go under.  Then Freeland came on, preaching bankruptcy over bailout, and the ruckus erupted . . .

Forget Al Gore's measly 20-foot sea level rise from "An Inconvenient Truth."  That's small potatoes compared to the kind of catastrophe Meredith Vieira was talking about last night.  Kicking off NBC's Global Alarmism Green Week during the halftime of Sunday Night Football, Vieira raised the spectre of the seas rising . . . 200 feet!  Al imagined much of Manhattan under water, but if Meredith's scenario comes true, we're near to talking Manhattan, Kansas By The Sea! [H/t reader Mick L.]

Just one little problem:  Meredith's talk of 200 feet exaggerates the increase predicted by scientists by . . . literally hundreds of times.

Frank Rich has apparently figured out that after January 20, it's not going to be as much fun for him.  True, the Times columnist will surely disinter W as necessary to explain away Obama's missteps. But the buck for whatever post-inauguration problems the country faces will land ever more resoundingly on the new president's desk.

And so, like a vaudevillian tapping as fast as he can while anticipating the hook, Rich seems determined to spend these last few weeks of the Bush administration dancing on GOP graves and luxuriating in Republicans' perceived pain.  You might say Frank is making hatred while the sun shines.

As we discussed last week in Have Fun For Now, Frank, Rich's immediate post-election column was one long poke in the Republican eye.  The Timester is back at it again this morning, outdoing himself in sheer vitriol as he pour buckets of salt, generously seasoned with schadenfreude, into Republican wounds.

Annotated excerpts from The Moose Stops Here:

Is MSNBC being rewarded for having backed Obama?  That's what Jim Pinkerton suggests.  On this evening's Fox News Watch, the columnist and New America Foundation fellow cited the news that GE Capital, a subsidiary of MSNBC's parent company GE, has received a $139 billion government loan guarantee.

Host Jon Scott opened this evening's show opened with a clip of Chris Matthews [in a story that NB was first to report], saying that he saw as his "job" making the Obama presidency a success.  Pinkerton unloaded.

In the name of gender equality, the Today show plumped this morning for government regulation forcing health care insurers to charge men and women the same for individual policies even though women cost insurers more because of greater use of services.  Hasn't the financial crisis taught the MSM anything about the danger of government meddling in markets? No.

Insurers wind up paying out more in claims under women's policies than men's.  Under the circumstances, charging women the same as men would make as much sense as FedEx charging a flat shipping fee no matter how big the box.  But that didn't stop NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman and Today weekend co-host Amy Robach from decrying the unfairness of it all this morning.  Their solution? More government, of course.  They want legislation to force insurers to charge the sexes the same.

View video here.

By definition, projection is revealing of what lurks in a person's heart and mind.  Arianna Huffington projected tonight, and what she revealed wasn't pretty.  So much so, that even her liberal host hastened to diassociate herself from the HuffPo editor.  Huffington, grossly misquoting Grover Norquist's famous line about doing away with government, added an infanticidal twist.

Huffington was a guest on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show. The two shed crocodile tears about the diminished state of the Republican party.  It was in suggesting that, of all things, she and Maddow should head up a Marshall Plan to save the GOP that Huffington engaged in that ugly bit of projection.

Remember back during the campaign, when the Obama folks and their MSM cohorts adamantly denied that their man was a liberal?  That National Journal study that ranked him the most liberal senator?  Nonsense! Very misleading.  After all, this is the man who doesn't believe in a red America and a blue America, but in the United States of America. Someone with a history of reaching across partisan lines [even if no good examples were handy at the moment].

So . . . remember all that? Well, forget it.  Now that Obama is safely
ensconced in his Office of the President-Elect, the MSM can let the
[ill-concealed to many of us] cat out of the bag: yes, he's a liberal. Big time!  In fact, Obama is nothing less than the second coming of the biggest American liberal icon of all time: FDR!  Rick Stengel announced the news on today's Morning Joe.

Perhaps Luke Russert should drop his NBC gig as youth-vote specialist and become a full-time Republican consultant.  The son of the late Meet The Press host didn't hesitate this evening to share his advice to the GOP, which can be summarized in two words: go left.

The 23-year old Russert dropped his pearls of electoral wisdom while chatting with the hard-working Mika Brzezinski, guest-hosting for David Gregory on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after co-anchoring Morning Joe at the crack of dawn.

View video here.

It's not like Barack Obama is a socialist or anything. It's just that Thomas Friedman wants him to put a "government master" in charge of the country's biggest manufacturing sector. Friedman made his modest proposal in his New York Times column of today, and expanded on it during a Morning Joe appearance. [H/t reader Tom.]

Video also available here.

I've got three easy reasons why Friedman's idea won't work.

If Morning Joe seems every-so-slightly less up-to-date, there's a reason for it. The show is now seven seconds behind the times. A tape delay has been instituted in the wake of Joe Scarborough's unintentional dropping of an f-bomb two days ago.

B&C reported the change yesterday, and NewsBuster Ken Shepherd discussed it here.  The Morning Joe crew had fun with the move on today's show. Coming back from its first break, the show aired tape [via Jimmy Kimmel Live] of CNN's Rick Sanchez coming back from a break of his own.  With a screen over his shoulder reading "Transition to Power," Sanchez said: "We welcome you black.  Uh, welcome you back."  Point made: Joe's not the only cable TV guy capable of an embarrassing slip 'o the tongue.

The crew proceeded to a light-hearted discussion of the move to tape delay, with executive producer Chris Licht proudly displaying his finger poised on the red button.

View video here.

The next presidential election might be four years off, but it's never too early to sow dissension in Republican ranks.  So would appear to be David Shuster's creed. Interviewing Bobby Jindal this evening, Shuster was clearly more interested in luring the brilliant Louisiana governor into a fight with Sarah Palin than in exploring the substance.

Jindal was way too savvy and diplomatic to fall for Shuster's transparent ploy, but that didn't stop Shuster—sitting in for David Gregory as host of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—from repeatedly trying.

What's gotten into the NBC/MSNBC water?  Chris Matthews's verbal miscue on this evening's Hardball makes a triple-header of gaffes on the family of networks today.  As we've noted, Joe Scarborough kicked off the slip parade, unintentionally dropping an f-bomb on Morning Joe.  About an hour later on Today, Meredith Vieira stumbled into asking Matt Lauer a question that invoked the uncomfortable subject of his rocky marital history.  And now, discussing Sarah Palin's political future, Matthews committed the same stumble that an unscrupulous staffer claims the vice-presidential candidate made: calling Africa a country. [H/t anonymous reader.]

Matthews made his mistake in the course of posing a question to Larry Persily, a former member of Palin's gubernatorial staff.

Whoops. It's turning into quite the morning for gaffes on the NBC/MSNBC family of networks.  As noted here, during the Today opening, Meredith Vieira stumbled onto the sensitive subject of Matt Lauer's marital history.  Then, during Morning Joe's 8 AM hour, Joe Scarborough accidentally dropped an f-bomb, provoking a protracted apolog-a-thon. [H/t reader P.C.]

[Warning: video contains unexpurgated F-bomb 20 seconds in].

During a break, Time's Jay Carney had apparently told a story of some politico who had used the f-word. Back on the air, Scarborough had actually been praising the discipline of the Obama team members.   It was in describing them as people who, in contrast with the person Carney had mentioned, were careful with their words and deeds, that Joe's internal edit button went on the fritz.

Ruh-roh.  Things might get a little testy on the set when the lights go down after this morning's Today.  Teasing an upcoming segment about the right age to get married, Meredith Vieira stumbled into the apparently sore subject of co-host Matt Lauer's rocky marital history.

After mentioning that she had gotten married in her 30s, Vieira turned to Matt and asked when he had gotten married.  That elicited an embarrassed and embarrassing pause from Lauer, whose first marriage ended in divorce and whose second wife once filed for divorce before withdrawing the papers.

Mike Barnicle, come on up here and accept this morning's Lanny Davis Award for shameless defense of the indefensible.  You've earned it.  Not merely did the Morning Joe panelist excuse Barack Obama's nasty jab at Nancy Reagan, he actually claimed that we need more of those kind of "jokes" from our presidents.

Joe Scarborough began the discussion by asserting that whereas mayors, governors and other lesser officials can get away with what Obama said about the former First Lady, it is unbecoming in the mouth of a president. The Morning Joe host also suggested that had George W. Bush made a comparable crack about a beloved Dem First Lady, the New York Times would have taken him harshly to task. Leaping to Obama's defense, the former Boston Globe columnist didn't merely don the wetsuit: Barnicle went full bathysphere.

I don't begrudge Obama supporters a celebration.  After eight years in the presidential wilderness and an election that was, yes, historic, it's natural to whoop it up.

Even so, if Frank Rich were an NFL player [willing suspension of disbelief required], his end-zone dance of a column today would earn him a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Annotated excerpts: