It’s really strange when MSNBC personalities wish for more civility in the political process. Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan brought on pseudo-Republican consultant Mark McKinnon on Monday to discuss his attack on talk radio on the liberal Daily Beast website. McKinnon obliged (Audio available here):
I think the Chicago incident, I think it was bad political instincts and bad political judgment, but I was disappointed that it didn't come to America. I think it’s patriotic, that we should have supported that move. So I was very disappointed to see talk show hosts like Mark Levin coming out with just jaw-dropping hate language about the President, and, again, echoing what one your panelists said earlier about reveling in the President's failure. That is very disappointing to see on both sides.
In response, Levin told NewsBusters:
Mark McKinnon -- This guy has a very loose jaw and the political integrity of a Sham-Wow salesman. He first worked at the highest levels on the McCain campaign and then resigned because he couldn't bring himself to campaign against Obama. What a guy. That's why he's invited on MSNBC. McKinnon, Brooks, Frum, et al, do not debate substance. They trash conservatives and conservatism. But if McKinnon wants to hear hate language, I understand the president's chief of staff, former minister, Weather Underground bud -- and the list goes on and on -- might provide McKinnon with some real examples. Or maybe tune in Jon Stewart, who has the craziest things to say about conservatives with a little "f-bomb" thrown in about every other sentence.
McKinnon was trying to summarize how he denounced Levin on The Daily Beast:
So, when I heard the news I was not surprised, but I was disappointed. I would have liked for the Olympics to come to the United States. But when I turned on my car radio and listened to conservative radio talk-show host Mark Levin, I was shocked by what I heard. He was spewing streams of hate-filled venom at Obama that were jaw-dropping. His favorite epithet for the president is ”jerk.” And he was reveling in Obama’s failure.
This is standard fare for Levin, who is truly a hate monger. Levin has proclaimed that “Obama is literally at war with the American people.” He calls the National Organization for Women “The National Organization of Women Who Look Like Men” and the “National Organization of Really Ugly Women.” He refers to Hilary Clinton as “Her Thighness.” He calls Sonia Sotomayor “Ruth Bader Ginsberg Plus 50 Pounds.” [Laziness alert: lifted from Wikipedia.]
Nice stuff. And for this, he is rewarded the No. 4 ranking among radio talk-show hosts. And that’s the problem. There is no reward for decency.
Notice that even in print, McKinnon doesn’t quote a single sentence from the Levin show to define what is “hate language.” (Here’s a slice of the Levin show from Friday.) McKinnon and other Obama supporters simply cannot understand that some people believe Obama is arrogant -- and so are all his supporters in the "news" media who told us that his charisma would overwhelm the world in Copenhagen.
Speaking of hate language, let’s look at Obama-loving McKinnon in another recent piece on The Daily Beast, sounding a bit like a radio host:
Make Joe Wilson pay.
And by pay, I mean beat his sorry ass at the polls and send him to the private sector. That is the only way to change the political discourse in America today. Because as long as louts like Joe Wilson can spout off and call the president a liar and get rewarded with re-election, then louts will continue to spout off. And we will continue to claw our way to the very bottom of the political swamp.
The Beastniks touted how McKinnon preferred a Democrat "with some fundamental character that Wilson lacks" and was "donating $1,000 to his opponent."
Dylan Ratigan should really name his show the Morning Bully. MRC’s Mike Sargent offers the transcript (and the EyeBlast video) that demonstrates how Ratigan yelled at McKinnon to get off his show if he’s not going to recite against conservatives. McKinnon tried to say something conservative, and Ratigan censored him – so much for civility in discourse:
DYLAN RATIGAN: Mark, from a more conservative perspective, and particularly – forget your politics as a former Bush strategist, walk us through your assessment of how this man, this President, is attempting to get things done, and how things went in past presidencies, particularly in those first few months.
MARK McKINNON: Well, let me just address something Chris talked about. I thank God that the President hasn’t passed the Employee Forced Choice Act, because that’s nothing other than a union bailout bill.
RATIGAN: Hold on a second. If you want to get into a choice conversation, and if you are saying that you’re in favor of corporate communism and in total control of the American people, so you can come out here and criticize labor, I would love that conversation. But quite honestly, that’s not the subject of this conversation. So if you want me to rebook you sometime to talk about that, I would love to do that. But what I am talking about here is the President's ability to get things done in the first few months. I am not asking your opinion on any given piece of legislation. Do you understand that, Mark?
McKINNON: Well, I was just, I was raising the question that Chris brought up –
RATIGAN: I don't care what you were doing. You’re a guest on the show here. You can either answer my questions and participate in the dialogue, or you can come back another time. What do you want to do?
That’s when McKinnon acted like a scolded student at Sidwell Friends and recited what was expected:
McKINNON: Well, I’d be glad to. The thing that I wrote about this morning in the Beast was the fact that both President Bush and President Obama promised to try and change the tone in Washington. And they have had a great deal of difficulty doing that. And I think that we have seen a lot of dialogue that is just outrageous from both the left and the right in terms of any sort of civility, and I am afraid that civility, if it’s not dead it's in the intensive care unit. And it’s amazing how parallel the speeches were in the early campaigns by both the President Bush’s, and Obama. And so I think the Chicago incident, I think it was bad political instincts and bad political judgment, but I was disappointed that it didn't come to America. I think it’s patriotic, that we should have supported that move. So I was very disappointed to see talk show hosts like Mark Levin coming out with just jaw-dropping hate language about the President, and, again, echoing what one your panelists said earlier about reveling in the President's failure. That is very disappointing to see on both sides.
Then the talk continued about “thuggery” – on the network of Olbermann and Ed Schultz:
KAREN FINNEY, Democrat: I certainly agree with Mark that there is, as I’ve called it, political thuggery going on in our discourse. But I also wonder, if we took a step back, we’re in an unprecedented moment in our nation’s history. The President has an unprecedented number of and complex things on his plate. Are we asking the right questions when we try to evaluate success or failure? Is it a matter of just ticking off a list of issues or is it making the best decisions on each of these things? The stimulus package, for example, we don’t – and I don't know you don't like it, I know there’s a lot not to like –
RATIGAN: No no, that's – it’s not that I don’t like it –
FINNEY: We don't know whether it has been effective or successful. So if we judge that now, at this moment, we might have a different answer than if we wait another year.
RATIGAN: But I think that, [unintelligible] the point of agreement that I see between you two, Karen, and what Mark just said, is that because of the thuggery that has taken over the political dialogue on every side, that the ability to get anything done in this country for the middle 80% of us that would like to see reasonable advancement and updating of the list of outdated American systems, none of it happens, Jonathan Capehart, because of the nature of the dialogue. I don't know whether that's the media's fault for basically amplifying and showing off the most extreme people, or maybe this was always there – I don’t have the answer, but we know what the problem is.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, Washington Post: Yeah, we know what the problem is, and we amplify it. But I think the key thing is the thuggery and the political discourse is one thing, but it’s also, the key thing that Karen just said is that the President is facing an unprecedented workload. From the economy to two wars, to everything else on his plate that needs attention now, all of them need attention now. And what I found devastating about the "Saturday Night Live" opening skit was that, remember, these are people who were perceived to be, you know, the President's backers. And so for them to turn on him like this, and I think, actually, in a rather effective way, should make folks in the White House at least pay attention to the fact that there are people out there who are concerned that all of these things on the President's checklist haven’t gotten done.