On Monday night's All In show, MSNBC viewers saw an unusually heated debate between the left and the far left as Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin battled with Esquire contributor and frequent MSNBC guest Charles Pierce over whether former President George H.W. Bush was too accommodating to the "far right."
At 8:29 p.m., after taking a jab at President Donald Trump by asserting that House Speaker Paul Ryan's praise of Bush was meant as a backhanded criticism of Trump, Pierce then complained that Bush"was part of the Republican Party that made Donald Trump inevitable at some point." and then brought up Willie Horton as he griped: "He could have beaten Michael Dukakis without Lee Atwater -- without Willie Horton."
After recalling that Bush initially opposed the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, the liberal pundit then complained about him changing his position to support Ronald Reagan's tax cuts:
He said the one smart thing a Republican has said about supply-side economics in the last 40 years. He said it was 'voodoo economics,' and then when he took the job with Ronald Reagan, he had to reverse himself on that. He had to reverse himself on abortion, which was handing a lot of the party or his part of the party over to essentially the Christian right.
Pierce further trashed the former Republican President as he ended his rant by declaring: "The primary legacy of George H.W. Bush as President is that battlfield courage does not necessarily translate into political courage."
Rubin exclaimed, "Oh, my!" and jumped in to praise President Bush for his handling of the end of the Cold War, and for not occupying Iraq, but then also lauded him for going to the left on issues like the environment and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The two then got into a heated back and forth over whether Bush was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal as Pierce cracked that he "pardoned everyone but Shoeless Joe Jackson on his way out the door."
Rubin ended up taking one more jab at conservatives as she praised Bush for sometimes opposing the "far right," and recalled the time he criticized the NRA after he left office. Rubin:
George Bush actually did stick up and give it to the far right in a lot of instances. You forget he wrote that beautiful letter to the NRA resigning because they defamed the people who keep us safe day and night, and that kind of courage just stands in such contrast to what you have now where the President is, you know, slobbering over the far right, and they over he.
So I think that arguably may be the last Republican President who was willing to stand up to some of these groups and to say, "No, I have a higher obligation, and this behavior is un-American."