On the night of the Fort Hood massacre, Keith Olbermann was worked up. Emotional, vein trobbing, voice trembling in fury worked up. The object of his wrath? Major Hasan who walked through an Army base gunning down unarmed Americans?
No, it takes Congresswoman Michelle Bachman to get him that agitated.
Here's how Keith began his first segment as every other network was covering the events at Fort Hood:
OLBERMANN: An elected Republican official today is leading a protest on the west steps of the Capitol that compared health care reform to Nazi death camps and encouraged mindless harassment of and possibly violence against the government. Not tea baggers anymore, not demagogic commentators, an actual congresswoman inciting a hateful rebellion against the rule of law and order. Her name is Michele Bachmann.
Rebellion? Really Keith? Encouragement to call one's Representative? That's right Thomas Jefferson said every now and again the tree of liberty must be watered with the tears of overworked Congressional phone staff.
Well, a sign some yahoo who knew he could get on MSNBC if he carried it made the odious Dachau comparison, anyway. We don't know if he was another LaRouchie, or even someone there to make everyone else look bad. Of course, no quote from any Republican Congressperson (while some were pretty lame) made any such assertion, but hey, there was sign!
Mindless harassment? Go visit your Member of Congress and register your protest. Why that's pretty close to anarchy! Call out the well-regulated militia!
OLBERMANN: Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: As if that were not bad enough, Ms. Bachmann today joined by the House minority leader as well as countless other GOP representatives. This orgy of veiled threat and not so veiled racism of white power minority rule now fully the province of the Republican Party. Welcome to the coup!
What's next, a call for a reinstatement of the Alien and Sedition Acts?
If the racism wasn't so thinly veiled, then you should have some proof of it, right Keith? Keith? We're waiting…
OLBERMANN: Congressman Bachmann staging what she tried to claim was a spontaneous meet-up of opponents to health care reform, in 25 buses paid for by the AstroTurf group Americans for Prosperity, could be considered spontaneous. An estimated 4,000 people today answering Ms. Bachmann's call, bringing with them on those buses, not just their misunderstanding of health care reform but also their hatred of President Obama, as well as pure hatred, period.
Again, just assume the hatred because Keith says so… and says so… and says so. And wouldn't you love to see those busses? Even if, fat chance, Keith wasn't under-estimating the crowd, that's 160 people per bus. Even Republicans don't drive vehicles that big. Think of the carbon footprint!
OLBERMANN: Lee Fang of ThinkProgress.org taking these photographs of a sign that reads "National Socialist Health Care, Dachau, Germany, 1945," superimposed over the horrific images of the corpses from Dachau. Other signs are slightly less shameful but many in no way related to health care.
Of course, we won't show you those signs, just trust us. All the signs we're not showing you, and all the comments we're not playing for you? Those were the racist ones. We promise. Just because there aren't any racist signs in the pictures at Thinkprogress.org doesn't mean there weren't any. The rally was huge—no wait, it was tiny, and it was racist, remember that's what really matters.
There was ONE offensive sign at a "hate" rally?
Then Keith played some less than scintillating clips of Bachmann and other Republican Reps shouting into the mic. Of course, John Boehner had to step all over the event…
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOEHNER: I'm going to stand with you and all freedom-loving Americans against this bill. This is my copy of the Constitution. And I'm going to stand here with our Founding Fathers, who wrote in the preamble, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." (END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: If Minority Leader Boehner had read his prop copy of the Constitution, perhaps he'd know that he was actually quoting the Declaration of Independence—or maybe he thinks that's the same thing as the Constitution.
When are the Republicans going to promote some of their articulate members into leadership?
Later, with guest Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, Olbermann exposed just how low a standard the Pulitzer Committee has now adopted. Lower than the Nobel Committee, in fact.
OLBERMANN: Today, we saw a member of Congress encouraging harassment of the government, fomenting—her word was revolution. And her behavior was sanctioned by her colleagues, the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives. And I recall that during the previous administration, if you disagreed with policy and just said it, let alone staged some sort of protest with banners and references to the Second World War, you immediately got branded a traitor. There seems to have been some kind of a shift of terminology in these times.
ROBINSON: Right. Your recollection is correct. I think it was more of a shift of party and control of the White House, and both houses of Congress. And I think that the outrage that was displayed at criticism of the president of the time of war a few years ago was situational. And it seems to no longer apply when a certain party is no longer in charge.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Did the wars end? Did I miss that? Did I not get the memo?
ROBINSON: You know, I missed the memo if they did. The wars—the wars did not end. And it really was quite a spectacle.
You know, every time you guys repeat this myth it gets just a little bigger. Soon we'll be hearing that Dick Cheney waterboarded the Dixie Chicks—not that there's anything wrong with that.
This is why Keith Olbermann only has guests who agree with him. Not mostly agree with him, but who will buy anything and everything he says—and that's about 10 people, the same guests over and over again. Congressmen Anthony Weiner and James Climer, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Chris Hayes of the Nation, Eugene Robinson, Clarence Page, Lawrence O'Donnell, Democratic "strategist" Chris Kofinis, and Richard Wolffe. I challenge you to find a Countdown that doesn't include at least two of these.
Because you can only make such stupid arguments in a bubble of approval. Even a reasonably informed Junior High student would point out that no one was called a traitor for disagreeing with Bush domestic policy. People were questioned for voting to cut off funding for the war, for trying to obstruct terrorist surveillance, for making intelligence operations public. Not for opposing Social Security Reform.
Then Keith made his most ludicrous suggestion of the week:
OLBERMANN: But it's always been appalling and it's always been Michele Bachmann, and I don't think she has any idea of what she's doing truly and its possible impact.
But today was when the Republicans say, "We own this." There is racism in here. There is bigotry. There's refusal to acknowledge the outcome of an election that was a pretty clear-cut decision…an associated point with this, how did the organizers of this not realize, you know what? We had better get somehow, even if we'll have to pay them to show up, some black faces, some brown faces, some Asian people, or somebody in this crowd, other than the crowd that we've seen at every piece of videotape that looked like—that looked exactly the same. This is otherwise going to look like a pro-apartheid rally in South Africa 35 or 40 years ago.
ROBINSON: Well, now, this is going to sound tendentious, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right.
ROBINSON: But I went to the Republican National Convention last year, and you did not see many minorities there. And it—look, this is a—this is a party that has been more and more hostile to minorities, to Latinos, to African-Americans. It certainly perceived that way and this didn't help that image at all. That—you know, that seems to be the hand they've decided to play.
OLBERMANN: It's terrifying.
Be afraid, be very afraid—of the early onset of Alzheimers. Really, rent-a-black? And you are looking for signs of racism in the CROWD? Check the mirror.