08 January 2010

Is that all there is?

The BCS Championship Game was a damp squib thanks to Colt McCoy's early exit from the game although Texas showed a bit of spirit and got it close.

The satellite was already in the network-affiliate neighborhood so I punched down to the next channel which was the CBS affiliate and was treated to the, er, spectacle of Rachel Maddow appearing on David Letterman's show.

Speaking of spectacles, Maddow had chosen a none-more-hip pair of bowling-ball blue Buddy Holly frames that had either cost a fortune or had been stolen from the science lab at PS 143.

I admit that I'm an MSNBC neophyte strictly because there's no legitimate reason to watch it is there? As such I hadn't been exposed to Maddow before but she was unleashing such a nonstop stream of nonsense that I was fascinated in a train-wreck sort of way.

Her delivery and message were hardly unique; we've seen the same smug eye-rolling from dozens of others especially before and after the most recent election. It was the usual dorm room boy-aren't-these-right-wingers-evil stuff. Forget the content for a moment - is something this redundant worthy of a nightly show?

You will all be relieved to know that Maddow has declared the recession over, the economy sound and every single Obama policy an unqualified success. Maddow seemed unable to deliver any sentence without a smirk so I'm not sure if she was pulling our leg but she certainly seemed in earnest. According to her 'even conservatives are admitting the stimulus worked' which is four lies in one short sentence - surely some kind of record. I know of no conservative in favor of the plan before, during or since. I have heard no 'admission' from anyone because there are no facts that would support such an admission. The term 'stimulus' has joined 'change' as a misnomer and a punchline avoided even by most loyal Obama supporters. Finally, as the so-called stimulus was designed strictly to toss more cash into the governmental abyss claiming it 'worked' is a dubious honor at best.

Even the Eleanor Clifts of the world have cancelled their order to place Obama's face on Mt Rushmore but in Maddow the president still has one true believer. Even Copenhagen had a positive outcome (?!) because, according to her, 'the US will make a gesture.' One can only imagine how many billions that 'gesture' will require.

Letterman was eating it up and chuckled through Maddow's declarations although not a single drop of humor was contained therein. The chat-show Casanova did have the presence of mind to point out that things got really grim in 2009 (remember, it's just ducky now in 2010) and that unemployment was still at 10% or higher. Mere details according to Maddow who trotted out the old 'lagging indicator' line but enunciated it as if she had worked out the formula for Coca-Cola. No mention was made of the obvious fact that this 'lagging indicator' has been worsening after all the wonderful and effective Obama policies were enacted. Maddow looked out at the audience when delivering this line as if she expected gasps of wonder at her brilliance but said audience, probably already disappointed that they got a mousy policy wonk instead of an actress or a musician, were singularly unimpressed. Could it be because they have familiy and friends out of work at present?

Letterman, dutifully feeding lines as if to a visiting comic, then turned to Dick Cheney of all people. Cheney is obviously driving them crazy because every criticism he levels at Obama is hitting its target dead center. Cheney is a man running for nothing and needing nothing from his party or politics in general. At present he's simply a prominent private citizen demonstrating, once again, that The Truth Hurts. Even Maddow had nothing when it came to Cheney. The best she could muster was that Cheney said very little publicly while in office as Vice President but he seems quite garrulous today (damn him). That's pretty weak tea from any liberal given a free pass to rip into their bĂȘte noire but it was reassuring in a way because it demonstrated that apart from petty ad hominem attacks they have absolutely nothing when it comes to the former veep.

In the end it appeared to be nothing more than a run-down of liberal talking points but the dynamic was quite interesting. Rachel Maddow has obviously been built up as the anti-Coulter - a polar opposite in sexuality, appearance and of course opinion. But whereas Coulter's humor is predicated on holding up a mirror to the lefty circus (no funhouse distortion required) and their never-ending parade of sleaze, Maddow really had nothing more than stock-standard Air America we're-smart-and-they're-dumb haughtiness with some nervous laughter posing as wit thrown in.

Rachel Maddow seems to have much in common with tourist traps like The Blue Hole or The Thing?: relentlessly promoted, claimed to be seen by everyone and a reputation wildly out of proportion to reality. Like a family in a hot car trudging towards their beach rental and desperate to distract their bored kids, I admit I stopped and looked but at least I know now that I wasn't missing anything.

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