Editor's Note: Click here for Kill Bill, Vol. 1
In his "Kill the bill" special comment Wednesday night, Keith Olbermann followed Howard Dean, socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, and the increasing chorus on the Left to kill the current health care "reform" package as insufficiently socialistic.
Olbermann's primary reason was that it did not immediately and forever "destroy" the private health insurance industry.
But in his rant, he directly challenged the President's manhood on this issue by relating an exceedingly strange and egocentric anecdote—even by Keith's standards. This one should give the armchair shrinks in the audience, plenty of fodder:
OLBERMANN: On April 6th 2003, I was approached by two drunken young men at a baseball game. One of them started to ask for an autograph. The other stopped him by shouting "screw him, he's a liberal." This program had been on the air for three weeks….I could not fathom on what factual basis I was being called a "liberal," let alone being sworn at for being such.
Now, how many of you can put an exact date to a 6 ½ year-old incident THIS innocuous? And to find it significant enough to include it in a personal challenge to the President of the United States to "man up?" There's just a screw loose in there somewhere.
Here's the full quote in context. Olbermann taunts President Obama, as though the reason that the President has not been more forceful in pushing immediate full socialization of American medicine is that he's afraid of being called names by protesters—not that the polls are against him and his Party will suffer a bloodbath if he goes that far (of course, they are on the "precipice," to coin a phrase, of that now.)
OLBERMANN: On April 6th 2003, I was approached by two drunken young men at a baseball game. One of them started to ask for an autograph. The other stopped him by shouting "screw him, he's a liberal." This program had been on the air for three weeks. It had, to that point, consisted entirely of brief introductions to correspondents in Iraq or to military analysts. There had been no criticism, no political analysis, no commentary. I had not covered news full-time for more than four years. I could not fathom on what factual basis I was being called a "liberal," let alone being sworn at for being such.
Only later did it dawn on me that it didn't matter why, and it didn't matter that they were doing it. It only mattered that if I was going to be mindlessly criticized for anything, the reaction would be identical whether I did nothing that engendered it, or whether I stood for something that engendered it.
Mr. President, they are calling you a socialist, a communist, a Marxist. You could be further to the right on this than Reagan—and this health care bill, as Howard Dean put it here last night, this bailout for the insurance industry, that sure invites the comparison. And they will still call you names.
Sir, if they are going to call you a socialist no matter what you do, you have been given full, unfettered freedom to do what you know is just. The bill may be the ultimate political manifesto, or it may be the most delicate of compromises. The firestorm will be the same. So why not give the haters, as the cliche goes, something to cry about.
While I, for one, am willing to concede that calling Keith Olbermann a liberal and calling Barack Obama a socialist are equally accurate, this is a truly bizarre formulation for an argument. The Left's biggest mouth drags out an example of 2 people accurately (charitably, actually) labeling him for what he is and says, "Mr. President if I can take that, so can you."
Forget anything Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck has said about Barack Obama. Keith Olbermann has just relegated Barack Obama's political strategy to Junior High lunch hour name-calling.
And just for the record, in 1998, 5 years before his traumatic confrontation at the ball game, Keith made quite a stir on his MSNBC program, The Big Show with Keith Olbermann, when the network was still searching for an identity with the following rant:
Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Big Show , to Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren, Aug. 18, 1998: Can Ken Starr ignore the apparent breadth of the sympathetic response to the President's speech? Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God, family, his daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"
For Olbermann to claim that his leftward slant never surfaced before 2003 is just delusional. For him to make this a basis for changing the mind of the President of the United States, may just signal some kind of psychotic break.