They won't agree on much, but Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and Medea Benjamin, founder of the far-left anti-war group Code Pink, found some common ground on one fact Tuesday night: MSNBC talkers Rachel Maddow and Ed Shultz are hypocrites.
Both Schultz and Maddow defended President Obama's decision to impose a no fly zone over Libya on their respective shows. Maddow trotted out the "reluctant warrior" line, while Schultz insisted that the president "deserves the benefit of the doubt and our support."
O'Reilly asserted - and Benjamin agreed - that neither MSNBC host would have been so generous had Obama's predecessor engaged in such a conflict. "The word 'hypocrisy' comes to mind," Benjamin quipped (video and partial transcript below the break).
O'REILLY: Our Unresolved Problem segment tonight, as we have been reporting there is a split among liberal Americans over Libya and other issues. Some on the far left believe President Obama is not doing a good job. But the mainstream liberal media in general remains supportive of the man they helped elect in 2008. Imagine, if you will, President Bush ordering the Libyan bombing, even with UN approval. Do you think the left would have supported that? But last night here's what went down.
SHULTZ: I think the President of the United States, Barack Obama, deserves the benefit of the doubt and our support.
MADDOW: He very clearly did not want there to be another military action in the world. He is very open about his reluctance. He wants everybody to know how reluctant he was.
O'REILLY: Everybody knows how reluctant [imitates bomb dropping]. Joining us now from Washington, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink. When you hear that kind of stuff, Medea - you're honest woman, which is why we have you on the program. We know you are anti-war, we know you're Code Pink. We know all of that. You are honest. Those people at MSNBC cheer-leaded Barack Obama into office. They are hard core left wingers over there. Yet, yet, you know if Bush had ordered the bombing what they would be doing, but they are not doing with President Obama. What say you?
BENJAMIN: I think the word hypocrisy comes to mind. I'm sure if this were under President Bush they would be asking a barrage of questions about why didn't you go to Congress? Can we afford this? What's it going to cost? Don't we need jobs and not bombs? Is this really going to help the Libyans? Why not Bahrain, Saudi Arabia? All kinds of things.
O'REILLY: Alright, so you don't think they are doing due diligence in analyzing the situation. Now the question becomes: why? Why are they in the tank?
BENJAMIN: Well, you know, Bill, this is partisan politics. I think people that support President Obama wanted to see him as a reluctant warrior. But, yet, he was the one that gave us the surge in Afghanistan. We still have troops in Iraq. We are dropping drones in Pakistan that are killing innocent people. And now we see a - what I would say a rush to another war in Libya. So, at some point, have you got to admit that whether he is reluctant or not, he is giving us a lot of wars for a peace president.
What portion of this double standard stems from an earnest belief in the goodness of Obama's motives and what portion is simple partisan hypocrisy is a wholly different question. Allahpundit recently explained it this way:
So much of politics is driven by suspicions about motives; liberals cut The One slack that they wouldn’t cut a conservative because they assume he has good intentions, that he wants to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan ASAP, that he’s not serving any special interest overlords like Halliburton, etc. Rage is what gets people out in the streets, but it’s hard to feel enraged at a guy whom you believe is doing his earnest best to solve a difficult problem...
But … yes, of course some of the anti-war movement eight years ago was fueled by partisanship aimed at delegitimizing a Republican president (one whom they never really felt was legitimate in the first place), just as conservative complaints about Afghanistan from the likes of Michael Steele and Ann Coulter became more vocal only after Obama’s surge.
Which do you think better describes Schultz and Maddow? Let us know in the comments.