Mark McKinnon, a regular contributor to the liberal Daily Beast website, which owns Newsweek magazine, made a morbid gaffe as he commented on Texas Governor Rick Perry's stumble during the November 9 Republican presidential debate on CNBC. The New York Times on Wednesday quoted McKinnon labeling Perry's brain freeze as the "human equivalent of shuttle Challenger."
Times writers Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker cited the Democrat, who once served as an aide to former President George W. Bush, as an example of how "Republican operatives almost uniformly declared it [Perry's gaffe] as a sign of great trouble for his candidacy."
McKinnon, who co-founded the so-called No Labels organization with fellow pseudo-Republican John Avlon, has actually made a name for himself in recent years as a critic of the conservatives that the liberal media love to hate. When he worked on John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008, the "Republican consultant" lectured Rush Limbaugh for daring to speak out against his candidate. In October 2009, McKinnon bashed conservative talk show host Mark Levin on MSNBC for his supposed "jaw-dropping hate language" against President Obama (Levin replied in kind by comparing the former Bush aide to a Sham-Wow salesman).
Just over a year ago, on the November 9, 2010 edition of MSNBC's Last Word program, McKinnon blamed Sarah Palin for the Republicans' failure to take control of the U.S. Senate during the midterm election, adding, "You know, she's comparing herself to Ronald Reagan. And, you know, I didn't know Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan was not a friend of mine, but I can guarantee you this, Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan."
The same Reagan, who paid the Challenger astronauts the highest tribute in a well-known Oval Office address, would have cringed at McKinnon's inexcusable comparison.
[Update, 2:20 pm Eastern: McKinnon issued an apology for his remark on Twitter: "Comparing Perry gaffe to Shuttle Challenger insensitive to victims and families. Sincere apologies."]