Eliot Spitzer returned to attacking the Tea Party and their allies on Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, lamenting that people "kind of from the fringe" like Christine O'Donnell "seem to be taking over the Republican Party." Guest Bernard-Henri Levy also joined in the Tea Party bashing, labeling the movement "really crazy" and insulted Sarah Palin as being less "American" than President Obama.
The new CNN program led the 8 pm Eastern hour with a replay of correspondent Jim Acosta's interview of Delaware Republican Senate candidate O'Donnell, which first aired earlier in the day. Once the interview finished, the former New York governor launched into his lamentation of the supposed takeover of the GOP, and invoked a past failed Republican presidential candidate as he continued:
SPITZER: Why there are so many folks like her [Christine O'Donnell] who seem to be taking over the Republican Party? I mean, this is not Bob Dole's Republican Party anymore- thoughtful, serious people. This (sic) is people who are kind of- I hate to say it, but kind of from the fringe.
Moments later, Spitzer echoed his criticism of conservative/Republican economic policy from earlier in the week:
SPITZER: When she [O'Donnell] says in her ad, 'I am you'...I sympathize with that. We want real, genuine people...but there's a difference between that and policies about economics and other serious things that- frankly, just don't work and don't add up.
When co-host Kathleen Parker responded that the recent O'Donnell ad was "resonating with the Tea Party people," the Democrat added another lament: "It's amazing to me that the Democratic Party has not filled that enormous chasm, that void in the middle of our political- that doughnut hole, where nobody from the Democratic Party has said, we are the ones who actually speak with that voice and with that empathy and that energy. Bill Clinton, as we have all been saying, would have done it."
Just after the bottom half of the hour, the new CNN host warmly introduced French philosopher/journalist Bernard-Henri Levy as "one guy Kathleen and I agreed we couldn't wait to get on the show" and as someone who "has no equivalent in America: the philosopher as rock star." Parker first asked Levy, "You have traveled all across this country several times, and what I love about you, among many things, is that you love America. But America is in a different state of affairs right now. What is- what has changed, in your view?"
Levy immediately launched his attack on the Tea Party movement:
LEVY: What is changing is that America is more lovable than ever, but becoming a little crazy. (Parker laughs) This Tea Party story- look from outside, is really crazy-
LEVY: It is not even ideology. It is pure hatred sometimes, and it makes you- for someone like me who loves this country, it is a little frightening. The duty of the moderate Republican leaders, which are still the majority and who are the honor of this country, should be to confront passion and irrationality with ideas and with facts.
SPITZER: I agree.
LEVY: This is a duty. They should not let Sarah Palin holding the front of the stage. (Parker laughs) She's alone on the stage today. What are the others doing?
SPITZER: Who do you blame? Blame is an easy thing to do, but who should step up?
LEVY: All these people who mobilized themselves two years ago should be on board again. They are too absent. They are disappointed, but disappointed by what? Reality is never exactly like the dreams, so Obama did a great job. He should be more supported than he is by his own party. And on the Republican side, you have a lot of good people- of great people who have entered the view of America. They should stand and not let the extremists, like Palin, for example, be on the front like this.
Later in the segment, the Frenchman made his bizarre claim about Obama and Palin:
PARKER: I want to ask you something I heard you say that this was actually- this is a period of brainstorming, which is a nicer way of describing current events. Can you talk about that a little bit? When you said brainstorming, what do you mean?
LEVY: I mean that today nobody knows exactly what are the solutions. We are all of us- European, Americans, right, left- in a sort of black hole, of course. All the old ways of thinking are dead- old ideologies. So we have to reshape and to reinvent, but to reshape and reinvent does not mean to let the passions speak, and to say- I know- we all know that 70 percent of the Republican voters believe that Obama is Muslim. They do believe that he was born in Kenya. He's more American- more American than a lot of them. Obama is more American than Mrs. Palin.
PARKER: Well, that's a good statement. That will get a lot of buzz.
SPITZER: You talk about brainstorming and a new (unintelligible)-
LEVY: Wait a minute. Obama is really- if America is what the founding fathers dreamt a few centuries ago, Obama is one of the embodiments of America.
PARKER: So you obviously like President Obama a good deal. Is there anyone on the Republican side that you admire?
LEVY: Today, the race for the Republican camp is to go back to the Barry Goldwater time- Barry Goldwater, 1964. The Republicans lost- did lose a lot of ground because of the extremism of Goldwater.
Levy exaggerated by a wide margin with his figure about Republican voters. According to an August 2010 Pew Research poll, "fully 31% [of Republicans] say Obama is Muslim."
The French journalist stayed on for the program's "Political Party" panel discussion, which consisted of three liberals- Levy, former supermodel Paulina Porizkova, and The Nation's Ari Melber- and only one conservative, Will Cain of National Review. Parker used Levy's earlier "crazy" remark to begin the roundtable discussion: "Paulina and Bernard, you are both foreign born looking at us from the outside. Are we crazy?" The journalist quipped, "Charmingly crazy most of the time, but sometimes not completely charmingly. When you see the Tea Parties, for example, it is crazy and not charming at all, I must say." Porizkova revealed her liberal leanings in her answer: "Well, I'm American now. I have an American passport so I feel like I can get into it a little bit more. I think that any country in which the word 'liberal' has become a swear word is weird."
Earlier in the hour, in a reply to Spitzer's "fringe" label of conservatives, Parker stated that "people like Christine O'Donnell and others who identify with her...feel very much left out of the conversation and marginalized....we've talked about this sort of anti-elite movement, and we are both in favor of elites, meaning smart people, sitting down at the table, but you can't be elitist, and I think that's...what she and others have responded to." Parker and her co-host might want to take her own advice, because one might get the impression that the two themselves are elitists, given their unanimous gushing over Levy.