Lawrence O'Donnell is an idiot, but I repeat myself.
I had been meaning to write on this earlier today but I spent a good chunk of the day writing on a different topic that I will put up in a post in a few minutes, and then there was snow to shovel, you know how it goes.
On January 19, 2011, I had the misfortune of catching a small section of Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC. He was discussing a new poll out with that other Washington sage Chuck Todd. I think their take home was something on the order of shooting a Congress member now and then is good for Obama's approval ratings. If I were a Congress member listening to these two, I would be concerned, just saying.
There sometimes is a single comment that captures the essence of the person. In Lawrence O'Donnell's case it came at the 00.08.35 mark in his broadcast when he turned to how people rated Obama on the right-left spectrum:
And my favorite people in america, the 11% who think barack obama is a conservative, let's ignore them for the purposes of adult analysis of this poll.
My bold. Here we see O'Donnell for the Versailles courtier journalist he is. How indeed could anyone consider Obama a conservative just because he embraced and expanded Bush's whole policy agenda, the war on terror, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, domestic surveillance, his unreserved corporatism, the war on the base, his freezing out of all liberals and progressives from his Administration, his use of the state secrets defense, his war on whistleblowers and wikileaks, the extension of the Bush tax cuts, his cuts to Medicare, his ongoing schemes to cut Social Security? Heck, even Dick Cheney recently had praise for him. If that doesn't scream socialist, what does?
But this is what we get from Lawrence O'Donnell. Don't look at anything like substance. Just look at polls that your insipid Conventional Wisdom and misinforming narratives help create.
Dick Cheney would relentlessly repeat that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Eventually something like 69% of the public believed it. If Cheney had been a Democrat, Lawrence O'Donnell would have been laughing at all those non-Serious, non-adults, who thought his claims were bogus.
O'Donnell plays the typical Villager game of mistaking numbers for reality, at least when those numbers favor his own views. Of course the other side of this is that when the numbers don't jibe with his positions, then he will talk about how "real" leaders don't govern by polls, they do what is "right".
Returning though to his performance last night, it got me thinking of how O'Donnell might react to various moments in history if he had been there. I can see him saying, "Hey, Galileo, what's up with that guy?" "Darwin, you may have descended from an ape but I didn't." "Einstein says space is bent. I'll tell you who's bent and it's not space." Of course, the difference between these O'Donnells and the real one is that the real one is daily exposed to the evidence of who Obama is and has been now for 2 to 3 years. Ostensibly, he is paid big bucks to at least see the obvious. Unfortunately, the truth is much more along the lines of Upton Sinclair's perennially insightful maxim:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
O'Donnell gets the big money not to see the obvious, and he doesn't see it with a vengeance.