Left wingers have claimed for decades that American foreign policy revolves around a central tenet -- the willingness to go to war over oil. Based on widening divisions among liberals over the Keystone pipeline, it appears that some on the left are similarly inclined.
First came Ed Schultz on "The Ed Show" Wednesday night defending himself from an onslaught of Twitter fury in response to his support for the project, followed by Schultz jousting with two liberals who oppose it, Joe Romm of ClimateProgress.org and Josh Fox, producer of the fraudulent pseudo-documentary "Gasland." (Audio clips after the jump)
On his radio show today, Schultz upped the ante right out of the gate (audio) --
Welcome to the Friday edition of the Ed Schultz radio show, from the north country (alluding to his home in Detroit Lakes, Minn.), where it's still below zero, global warming, all that stuff. Oops! That's a touchy subject. (laughs) I had quite an interesting week, there's no no question about it. There's one thing I've learned this week is that liberals can be just as mean as conservatives. I hate to say that, I hate to report that, but it is just I find it absolutely amazing, the all-or-nothing crowd is out and about for my head because of the pipeline story. Well, you know, I guess it goes with the territory. I wasn't looking for friends when I got this job. I probably won't end this job thinking I don't have enough, so whatever.
Some numbers are out there today which are never going to be good enough for the conservatives (alluding to job numbers for January). There's discussion that on the left when it comes to the environment that will never be enough, so I think we can draw a parallel. Somewhere in the middle we have to find ourselves as Americans. I've kinda not redefined myself on a lot of issues this week, but I guess I've kinda found out that I'm an American before I am a liberal. I'm an American before I'm a progressive. And if that's a sin against the movement, then I guess I'm going to hell.
But, you know, I didn't get into this discussion on the XL Keystone pipeline (sic) because I wanted a fight, nor was I looking to, quote, get anybody. I guess I maintained the option of having an independent thought. I guess, maybe, I'm not as pure as some of you think I am. Well, guess what? I've been looking at Twitter and you folks aren't as pure as I thought you were. So, somewhere in there, there has to be a country that we can both, I guess, share.
You know, it's interesting. About four years ago I had a gem car here at the lake and I was accused back then of being an elitist. Now I don't have that gem car anymore and now they want me to get one. And I'm not here to take shots at anybody, I'm not here to pick a fight or benchmark some issue that is going to divide people. I think that I have done a more than fair job this week bringing people on this program who do not see the world the way I do and I've let them talk and I haven't been personal, nor have I attacked them, although I've been attacked three times and personalized, had it personalized on me three times by what some people would term as professional people, professional talkers from organizations. I find that interesting, but whatever.
This is no exaggeration from Schultz about his willingness to talk with Keystone opponents this week. In addition to Romm and Fox appearing on "The Ed Show," Schultz has brought several anti-Keystone guests to his radio show, along with many listeners who called in and disagreed with him -- and Schultz did not get contentious with any of them.
After comparing the increasingly heated debate over Keystone with that which preceded passage of Obamacare nearly four years ago, Schultz said this (audio) --
And I took a lead from then-Senator Kennedy who had had a longtime history of negotiating deals in the Senate and doing different things and advocating for things and realizing that you're not going to get everything you want right away. And so that was kind of an eye-opening lesson for me. And then of course the next thing was defending what we had, getting it implemented, fighting all the conservatives lives (sic), and moving health care forward, and you know what it's been like since then. But I haven't turned on the president because we didn't get universal health care, nor have I turned on the progressive movement because we didn't get universal health care. And I feel like there's people that have turned on me and, you know what, I know this is really brash but go to hell, you know? I mean, and I don't mean it that way, I just had to say something, you know? I don't mean saying it like that, but I think you lose your compass a little bit when you get attacked for having an opinion. You lose your compass a little bit when you have to take a step back and realize -- who are these folks? I mean, the all-or-nothing crowd is on me because I think the pipeline is a safety issue for America. The all-or-nothing crowd is after me, they don't want to hear anybody else's view right now. They get mean-spirited when they get countered. They get personal.
As every conservative who's argued with a liberal is keenly aware. Doubly so for those of us who are former liberals.
Could it mean that former Limbaughesque conservative Schultz might return to the fold? Not holding my breath on that one, since it would surely take more than this. But now that he's seeing the intolerance of those who spout toleration as gospel -- providing that the opinions you express dovetail neatly with theirs -- he just might be a step closer to regaining his original voice.