Goodbye Gush: MSNBC Bids Farewell to 'Excellent,' 'Top 10' Obama

The hosts at MSNBC are not ready to say goodbye. Previewing the farewell address of Barack Obama on Tuesday, Rachel Maddow enthused over the “excellent” President. Chris Hayes gushed over the “sheer political talent.” Maddow reminisced, “I think he'll go down in history as both a consequential and excellent president, viewed from the beginning of the country until now.”

She launched Obama into the top ten: “I think that his economic record alone, in terms of saving us from the Great Depression, if that's the only thing you knew, even if he hadn't been the first African-American president doing it, that alone will put him in the top 10 presidents in U.S. history. And nothing else that anybody says about him or nothing else that happens by his successor will ever change that.”  

The host subtly worried that Donald Trump may have the skills the current president possesses: “I think [Obama has], sort of,  made us redefine the way we connect to politicians. It's not always good. And when you see in the visage of other people who work in these similar ways, these very populist ways, you see sort of its power and the way it can be scary.” 

Hayes fawned: 

CHRIS HAYES: I think it was easy in some ways at points during his presidency to lose sight of that fact to lose sight of, for lack of a better word, his sheer political talent, his sheer communicative talent, which is, I think, you know, independent of his politics or substantive achievements, ranks at the very top of the list of American political figures in our nation's history. 

A partial transcript is below: 

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Live Coverage
1/10/17
8:56

RACHEL MADDOW: This is so unlike the way other presidents end their terms in office. This isn't what farewell addresses usually look like. Nobody speaks in front of 20,000 people. Right? Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office speaking for seven and a half minutes. That's more typical. This — He's going out in a big way. He came in in a big way and that was part of what people had a hard time with about him. But I think he's, sort of,  made us redefine the way we connect to politicians. It's not always good. And when you see in the visage of other people who work in these similar ways, these very populist ways, you see both sort of its power and the way it can be scary. But it’s —  he's a different —  he's a different type of presence. He's a different type of connector between people and to people in a way that I think none of us will forget covering him. 

CHRIS HAYES: You know, that's an important point because I think it was easy in some ways at points during his presidency to lose sight of that fact to lose sight of, for lack of a better word, his sheer political talent, his sheer communicative talent, which is, I think, you know, independent of his politics or substantive achievements, ranks at the very top of the list of American political figures in our nation's history. 

I think that’s not even that controversial an assessment and it was easy to lose sight of that at various moments and in some ways I found myself thinking a lot about that in these final days  just because what he was able to pull off politically is quite remarkable and the election of Donald Trump is a reminder that there was not a fundamental structural change in some ways that happened in America. In some ways, this particular unique figure was able to pull off things that maybe someone else could not have.

...

MADDOW: He got reelected in 2012, but meanwhile over the course of his presidency, Democrats lost the House, lost the Senate, lost state legislatures all across the country, got absolutely outmaneuvered in terms of all other levels of political power while he stayed not only in office, but now is leaving office with an incredibly positive approval rating and is the most respected man in America, if you believe the polling. So his journey has been singular, in so many ways, for better and for worse. But I think he'll go down in history as both a consequential and excellent president, viewed from the beginning of the country until now. I think that his economic record alone, in terms of saving us from the Great Depression, if that's the only thing you knew, even if he hadn't been the first African-American president doing it, that alone will put him in the top 10 presidents in U.S. history and nothing else that anybody says about him or nothing else that happens by his successor will ever change that.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.