O’Donnell Flips Out on MSNBC Again, Calls Everybody 'Cowardly Warmongers'

One of the most extraordinary moments of the 2004 presidential campaign was when MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell went totally ballistic on one of John Kerry’s swift boat compatriots, John O’Neill, on the October 22, 2004, installment of “Scarborough Country.” Roughly two years later, O’Donnell was once again a guest of Joe Scarborough, and this time the object of his disaffection was Republican strategist Terry Holt (video here).

The discussion centered on Rep. Charlie Rangel’s recent suggestion that the draft should be reinstated. After playing a video clip of the Congressman, quite a melee ensued wherein O’Donnell called Holt and basically every person in the Administration that hasn’t served in the military including the President's daughterscowardly warmongers”:

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, he suggested this a couple years ago, and he was fairly open last time around about not being serious. He says this time that he is serious. What he makes, Joe, is a very, very serious point, which is to say we now have an American combat force that has no connection to the society at large. We have a military culture in the United States...

HOLT: That`s just not right, Larry. I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Oh, yes? How many combat veterans do we have on this panel tonight? I don`t like to hear...

HOLT: There are dozens of...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second!

O`DONNELL: ... cowardly warmongers –

Trust me. That was just the beginning:

O`DONNELL: Not one of us has the courage to put ourselves in a military uniform...

SCARBOROUGH: Well, Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... or ever go into combat! So don`t you dare tell me...

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... that you are in any way connected to this military! You`re as much of a coward...

Scarborough tried reining O’Donnell in, but to no avail:

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on! Lawrence, you are so out of line, I don`t even know where to begin! Walter Cronkite -- I don`t know if Walter Cronkite served in World War II or the Korean war, but Walter Cronkite could come on and talk about the Tet offensive. Yes, I am connected to people who are over in Iraq right now.

O`DONNELL: Joe, you are connected...

SCARBOROUGH: I know people...

O`DONNELL: ... Terry Holt is not.

SCARBOROUGH: I know people...

O`DONNELL: Terry Holt is the typical...

SCARBOROUGH: ... over in Afghanistan.

O`DONNELL: ... draft-dodging...

Sadly, it got worse:

O`DONNELL: Does Terry Holt have any relatives in Iraq? I don`t think so.

HOLT: No, but I have members of my church, members of my community, people that I have met with. And Larry, come on...

O`DONNELL: And you would never dream of it yourself! You live your whole life...

HOLT: But Larry, look at the reality!

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: ... supporting this kind of war without ever -- one minute of your life has not been spent contemplating military service yourself, have you!

O’Donnell continued with this attack:

O`DONNELL: Terry Holt gets to live completely apart from this war. Not a single relative involved. Nobody he cares about does he have to worry about going to Iraq.

HOLT: Well, I wouldn`t attack you personally, Larry. I`m sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: I`m just not going to go there with you.

SCARBOROUGH: That`s an awful personal -- that`s an awful personal...

O`DONNELL: It is personal!

SCARBOROUGH: ... attack, isn`t it?

Finally, Lawrence went after the President’s daughters:

O`DONNELL: President Bush has two kids who belong in Iraq, and they`re not there! And if they had to...

HOLT: Oh, my goodness!

O`DONNELL: ... go there, he would make a different decision! It is a disgusting disconnect...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second! Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... from military service!

SCARBOROUGH: ... I don`t know why you think that people who don`t want to serve in the armed services shouldserve in the armed services...

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: People who are afraid of the armed services should not advocate war!

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: If you`re afraid of being in the armed services...

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... you cannot advocate war!

How amazingly disgraceful. What follows is a full transcript of this segment.

To answer those questions, let`s bring in former executive producer of NBC`s "The West Wing" Lawrence O`Donnell. He`s of course, a frequent contributor to the Huffingtonpost.com. Also Michael Crowley, senior editor for "The New Republic," and Republican strategist Terry Holt.

[…]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: There`s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm`s way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH: And of course, Charlie now is pushing, Lawrence, for a military draft. Is that...

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, he...

SCARBOROUGH: What`s he -- what`s he trying to do, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for Democrats?

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, he suggested this a couple years ago, and he was fairly open last time around about not being serious. He says this time that he is serious. What he makes, Joe, is a very, very serious point, which is to say we now have an American combat force that has no connection to the society at large. We have a military culture in the United States...

HOLT: That`s just not right, Larry. I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Oh, yes? How many combat veterans do we have on this panel tonight? I don`t like to hear...

HOLT: There are dozens of...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second!

O`DONNELL: ... cowardly warmongers --

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: One at a time!

O`DONNELL: Not one of us has the courage to put ourselves in a military uniform...

SCARBOROUGH: Well, Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... or ever go into combat! So don`t you dare tell me...

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... that you are in any way connected to this military! You`re as much of a coward...

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, Lawrence!~

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on! Lawrence, you are so out of line, I don`t even know where to begin! Walter Cronkite -- I don`t know if Walter Cronkite served in World War II or the Korean war, but Walter Cronkite could come on and talk about the Tet offensive. Yes, I am connected to people who are over in Iraq right now.

O`DONNELL: Joe, you are connected...

SCARBOROUGH: I know people...

O`DONNELL: ... Terry Holt is not.

SCARBOROUGH: I know people...

O`DONNELL: Terry Holt is the typical...

SCARBOROUGH: ... over in Afghanistan.

O`DONNELL: ... draft-dodging...

SCARBOROUGH: I know people all the time that have to go over there. I know wives who have left their husbands!

O`DONNELL: I know you do, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH: I know husbands that have 2-year-old kids they have hardly seen at all! There are people who are connected to this war. I don`t think, though...

O`DONNELL: Does Terry Holt have any relatives in Iraq? I don`t think so.

HOLT: No, but I have members of my church, members of my community, people that I have met with. And Larry, come on...

O`DONNELL: And you would never dream of it yourself! You live your whole life...

HOLT: But Larry, look at the reality!

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: ... supporting this kind of war without ever -- one minute of your life has not been spent contemplating military service yourself, have you!

HOLT: But let me make a point to you, sir!

O`DONNELL: Tell the truth!

HOLT: Let me make a point to you...

O`DONNELL: You`re just like me, you wouldn`t dare enlist in the military...

HOLT: I`m sorry, I just am trying...

O`DONNELL: ... because you are as afraid of it as I am!

HOLT: ... to interrupt to make a point to you, and that is that people in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana, and Des Moines, Iowa, have friends and families that have suffered and sacrificed in this war.

O`DONNELL: And you don`t!

HOLT: And for you to suggest that a draft would make people hurt more, I think that`s unfair to the millions of military families around this country...

O`DONNELL: What Rangel is saying is a draft will connect the military...

HOLT: ... that have made a sacrifice.

O`DONNELL: ... to the wider American population, which is absolutely true.

CROWLEY: Joe, may I budge in for a minute? I think that maybe the key point is that political, and frankly, media leadership in this country. So it`s not that average Americans have no connection to the military or that tiny numbers of Americans do, but unfortunately, I think the people who make the decisions about war and peace in the corridors power and at the newspapers, to some extent, editorial boards -- those people are all too disconnected from the culture of the military.

SCARBOROUGH: And Michael Crowley -- Michael Crowley, that`s a great point.

CROWLEY: And by the way, I am one of those...

SCARBOROUGH: The fact is...

CROWLEY: And that applies to me. I`m not trying to point the finger.

SCARBOROUGH: Right.

CROWLEY: And it paralyzes my thinking about these issues.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, sure. And it`s not that middle America is not connected to the loss that our men and women are suffering overseas. It is a fact that elites -- and because I`ve got a TV show, by my definition before I got into TV what an elite would be, I would be one of those. Elites in this country, people in the media, people in Congress, people in the executive branch, they are disconnected.

I remember hearing Doris Kearns Goodwin talking about her son deciding from Harvard to serve this country and talking about how she`d go to dinner parties, and people would like at her like her son was out of his mind. Of course, he wasn`t.

HOLT: Joe, does a draft make that happen?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: And Lawrence -- let me ask that question to you, Lawrence, because we know how the last draft went. I mean, the elites are still going to be able to keep their kids out of the draft.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Tell that to John Kerry and everybody else from his Yale class who enlisted. The draft put the pressure...

HOLT: Whatever!

O`DONNELL: ... on people to...

SCARBOROUGH: John Kerry...

O`DONNELL: ... face the decision...

SCARBOROUGH: John Kerry went in in 1965...

HOLT: The draft brought people in the middle...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

O`DONNELL: My brother went in and I have cousins going in...

HOLT: Go ahead. Go ahead. Talk.

O`DONNELL: ... who don`t want to go in, and they had to go in! So it did happen, and the draft did connect you. Everybody had a draft number, and they had this relationship to this war at the time...

HOLT: But does it make them a more effective fighting force?

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Terry Holt gets to live completely apart from this war. Not a single relative involved. Nobody he cares about does he have to worry about going to Iraq.

HOLT: Well, I wouldn`t attack you personally, Larry. I`m sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT: I`m just not going to go there with you.

SCARBOROUGH: That`s an awful personal -- that`s an awful personal...

O`DONNELL: It is personal!

SCARBOROUGH: ... attack, isn`t it?

O`DONNELL: President Bush has two kids who belong in Iraq, and they`re not there! And if they had to...

HOLT: Oh, my goodness!

O`DONNELL: ... go there, he would make a different decision! It is a disgusting disconnect...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second! Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... from military service!

SCARBOROUGH: ... I don`t know why you think that people who don`t want to serve in the armed services should serve in the armed services...

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: People who are afraid of the armed services should not advocate war!

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: If you`re afraid of being in the armed services...

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence...

O`DONNELL: ... you cannot advocate war!

SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence, you are just so out of bounds tonight. Let me finish my sentence. We`ve got over a million people that serve in our military, that do it proudly, that are proud of what they`re doing, and as much as this may shock you and other people, they`re very proud of what they`re doing in Iraq. They`re proud of what they`re doing in Afghanistan. They`re proud of what they`re doing in the Balkans. Don`t tell them...

O`DONNELL: I`ve had family in Iraq...

SCARBOROUGH: ... that they`re the dregs of society!

O`DONNELL: ... myself, Joe. What I`m telling you is if someone is afraid to put on a military uniform and afraid of combat, they have no right to advocate war.

HOLT: Who`s talking about being afraid? We`re talking about...

O`DONNELL: You Terry! You`re afraid!

HOLT: ... a policy...

O`DONNELL: You didn`t do it!~

HOLT: Larry...

O`DONNELL: And you advocate war!

HOLT: We`re not talking about fear...

O`DONNELL: Just like President Bush!

HOLT: ... or no fear. We`re talking about...

O`DONNELL: He was afraid of combat, and he advocates war.

HOLT: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. Did you say that about Bill Clinton also?

O`DONNELL: Yes! Bill Clinton was a draft dodger, classic afraid, terrified draft dodger.

O`DONNELL: He

SCARBOROUGH: OK. And he sent our trips overseas...

O`DONNELL: That`s right.

SCARBOROUGH: ... and aren`t you glad that he sent them to Bosnia and Kosovo?

O`DONNELL: I`m not sure that I am glad that he sent them there.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, there were a hell of a lot of people that were being killed there...

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: It rather tends to limit the 2008 Democratic presidential field. I mean, Lawrence, I`m sympathetic to a lot of what you`re saying, but it makes it a little bit difficult for the Democratic Party to continue to exist...

O`DONNELL: Well, the Democrats will continue to be as hypocritical about it as the Republicans...

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: ... from war cowards loathsome!

SCARBOROUGH: All right, we`re going to have to leave it there. Lawrence O`Donnell, you came to fight tonight. Michael Crowley, Terry, thanks for being with us.

HOLT: Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH: It`s an important debate you`re going to be hearing in the coming future, I`ll guarantee you that, if Charlie Rangel has his way.

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