What Now? MSNBC: Schiff Is Like Atticus Finch, Billy Joel, Prince, AND Springsteen!

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On Friday afternoon before the Senate impeachment trial resumed, MSNBC continued to search their mental thesauruses for new ways to describe their dearly beloved lead House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff (D-CA). What they came up with was to call his Thursday night speech “impassioned and unforgettable” and will be studied “in history books years from now.”

To make matters even worse, Schiff was compared to Atticus Finich, Billy Joel, the late Prince, and Bruce Springsteen. Really.

 

 

Let’s start there with the rock stars analogy as that’s some crazy talk. For this, we’re talking about MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson being the one responsible for it.

Continuing to nuke the idea that this was supposed to a sad and weighty affair, Johnson gushed that “just as a general feeling, I'm excited for tonight” because, Schiff’s “performances every single day, performances both from a substantive and a presentation level have been amazing.”

“It's like Springsteen or Billy Joel or Prince when he was alive, like you're clapping and they come back out and then they do another song that’s even better. I suspect that tonight he's going to do something that is absolutely outstanding,” he explained.

If we’ve learned anything from this trial, it’s not that Schiff is a liberal media darling, but rather he’s their knight in shining armor and Prince Charming.

Rewinding back 17 minutes, Deadline: White House host Nicolle Wallace had not yet been able to sound off on Schiff’s speech, so she told viewers at 12:00 p.m. Eastern that he “deliver[ed] an impassioned and unforgettable speech Thursday night that will ripple through this presidential election year and beyond” and will “leave a mark” on history.

Hardball host Chris Matthews hyped that Schiff was “speaking there, not just as a manager but as a Democrat was powerful” in having the party refute any belief that they’re “not patriotic, not really believing in the best part of our country which is its principles, what's written down.”

Matthews added that Schiff has been “working so hard” to the point now that “[h]e’s the best that he can be” and served as “the call to arms” for the Senate.

Still on cloud nine, Wallace boasted: “[E]veryone uncomfortable with Donald Trump has struggled for four years now to come up to a response to MAGA and it's right matters.”

Former Senator-turned-MSNBCer Claire McCaskill agreed and urged people to either tune in live to the final hour of the trial or “set your DVR” because she predicted that Schiff will “make his speech that probably kids will be reading about in history books years from now.”

Lastly, there was the Finch comparisons, which came thanks to Wallace’s interview with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) (click “expand”):

WALLACE: Tell me how that speech landed — we're going to look ahead too with you, but I just — I have to know at a human level, because I've been involved in partisan politics my whole career, but there was no way to watch Adam Schiff last night and feel like anything but an American. 

MARKEY: When I was sitting there, I was thinking back to when I was a boy watching Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch delivering his summation to the jury, asking itself to lift itself up to the highest American ideals to ensure that there was an equal application of the law to everyone and that's what I felt like last night. Adam Schiff had an Atticus Finich moment last night, but it wasn't fictional. It was in real life and it was with the stakes as high as it could be for our country, for what we stand for, who we are as a nation....This is a huge challenge for our country at this time and I thought Adam Schiff last night rose to the challenge and challenged the Senate to have their highest and best angels, be inspired to do the right thing for our country. 

WALLACE: Senator, I don't want to degrade this conversation from Atticus Finch to Fox News, but the truth is, Adam Schiff was quoting Colonel Vindman who has been smeared by right-wing commentators on Fox News and by some Republican-elected officials including one in that chamber. What is the prospect that right actually does matter? I mean, I don't think that the President's attorneys have signaled that they intended to dispute any of the facts as Colonel Vindman and other witnesses have laid it out. 

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from January 24, click “expand.”

MSNBC Senate Impeachment Trial
January 24, 2020
12:00 p.m. Eastern

NICOLLE WALLACE: Right now, we're watching live pictures from the Capitol where key figures in this trial are beginning to arrive in about 30 minutes. We expect to hear from the House impeachment managers. In one hour, we will return to the Senate floor for the final day of the Democrats opening arguments. Today they'll present their case on obstruction of Congress detailing a persistent and ongoing and damaging stonewalling campaign by the President, using lawyers, lawmakers, and lackeys like Rudy Giuliani to throw up political roadblocks for congressional investigators. Congressman Adam Schiff steps back into the spotlight this afternoon, hours after delivering an impassioned and unforgettable speech Thursday night that will ripple through this presidential election year and beyond. [INTRODUCES PANEL] I want to start because if anyone is just joining us now, you can't go any farther in this impeachment trial without watching Adam Schiff last night. Let's see that. 

[SCHIFF CLIPS]

WALLACE: There are speeches in politics that leave a mark. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that was one of them. Chris Matthews, I think that one of the challenges the Democrats have had is that for people who have been paying close attention, some of this material is familiar. For people who haven't, some of this material is complicated. That speech broke through no matter which side of that question you come down on. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, and — and speaking there, not just as a manager but as a Democrat was powerful because I think in their criticisms of our economic order in this country and unfairness, sometimes Democrats come off as not patriotic, not really believing in the best part of our country which is its principles, what's written down. That's the best part of our country is written down. Our ideals and in this case, it's given the Democrats as a party a chance to take the position, we're defending the ideals of this country against this guy in the White House and that's the high ground and I think just as an object lesson from here through November where they're going to face a tough incumbent, they should keep that in mind. Keep your high ground. Make your criticisms about the economy and all that and fairness, we all know that. People know that. Don't get caught as critics of the country and I think that's powerful information. I saw with Vindman, when he said in this country, right matters. I go, oh my God, this is — this Frank Capra stuff. This is positive about America, what we can be. Stay there. Don't let the right wing, with all their points of view, which I don't agree with, grab that flag again. Don't let them do it. This guy is really good and by the way, it's just about citizen two in a broader sense, every once in awhile you probably feel the same thing, Nicolle and I, I had a good night tonight or I had a good day today or I had a good show today, I made some points that are worth making. You're at your best. This guy is deliberately at his best. This Adam Schiff character here has been working so hard to get his game on that he's got it. He's the best that he can be and I wish everybody in that Senate would say today I'm going to be the best I can be as a U.S. Senator. That's the call to arms. 

WALLACE: I want — we have a senator waiting to talk to us and I don't want to keep him waiting, but I do, Claire, want to get you in on this because I think not just Democrats, but everyone uncomfortable with Donald Trump has struggled for four years now to come up to a response to MAGA and it's right matters. I mean, that is the other side of the coin.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL: It is the other side of the coin and it is such a — you know, Adam Schiff is trying to speak to the Senate chamber and to America and that's a tall drink of water because you have a lot of cynical orators in the Senate who think they can do it best. He has met and exceeded, I think, the bar of excellence in terms of oratory on both last night and the night before. So what I want to say to anyone who's watching this, watch tonight. Even if you've got something planned, set your DVR. It should be between 9:00 and 10:00 Eastern. This will be his summation and I feel sorry for him in a way because he did so well the night before last and then did even better last night. He's got to reach tonight, but as he closes the case for the House managers, I look for him to make his speech that probably kids will be reading about in history books years from now. 

WALLACE: And that we know Donald Trump will be glued to. He's already, you know, whining like the ratings-obsessed, former TV person he is about Saturday’s ratings. Joining us now, one of the jurors in this trial, Democratic senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. Tell me how that speech landed — we're going to look ahead too with you, but I just — I have to know at a human level, because I've been involved in partisan politics my whole career, but there was no way to watch Adam Schiff last night and feel like anything but an American. 

SENATOR ED MARKEY (D-MA): When I was sitting there, I was thinking back to when I was a boy watching Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch delivering his summation to the jury, asking itself to lift itself up to the highest American ideals to ensure that there was an equal application of the law to everyone and that's what I felt like last night. Adam Schiff had an Atticus Finich moment last night, but it wasn't fictional. It was in real life and it was with the stakes as high as it could be for our country, for what we stand for, who we are as a nation. Will we, in fact, have a trial which is a true search for all of the facts, to hear all of the witnesses to ensure that the American people and the democracy which they live in are protected from a President who clearly believes that he can't be investigated, can't be indicted, can't be impeached or can't be removed. This is a huge challenge for our country at this time and I thought Adam Schiff last night rose to the challenge and challenged the Senate to have their highest and best angels, be inspired to do the right thing for our country. 

WALLACE: Senator, I don't want to degrade this conversation from Atticus Finch to Fox News, but the truth is, Adam Schiff was quoting Colonel Vindman who has been smeared by right-wing commentators on Fox News and by some Republican-elected officials including one in that chamber. What is the prospect that right actually does matter? I mean, I don't think that the President's attorneys have signaled that they intended to dispute any of the facts as Colonel Vindman and other witnesses have laid it out. 

(....)

12:17 p.m. Eastern

JASON JOHNSON: So it’s interesting when he talks about the complaints that are happening. I reached out to some local sources that I have in Colorado. They said that Cory Gardner basically had a Martha McSally moment, like he's been running from local press the last time that he was home. Now, Martha McSally called, you know, Manu Raju a liberal hack, but you have a lot of those people who were concerned about how this looks at home. I bet you he's going to go home with his big binder of notes and tell everybody I worked hard, here's my homework because they want to make sure this doesn't become an issue going forward in 2020. I’ll also say this just as a general feeling, I'm excited for tonight. We talked about, you know, how good Adam Schiff has done. My feeling going into this evening, as somber as this all is, is his performances every single day, performances both from a substantive and a presentation level have been amazing. It's like Springsteen or Billy Joel or Prince when he was alive, like you're clapping and they come back out and then they do another song that’s even better. I suspect that tonight he's going to do something that is absolutely outstanding and leave a lot of the Republicans coming out tomorrow saying, you know, I can't follow with that. We’re just going to go through with it.

NB Daily Congress Trump Impeachment MSNBC Video Chris Matthews Jason Johnson Donald Trump Adam Schiff Ed Markey Nicolle Wallace
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