Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Which We Witness A Wonk Smackdown Heard 'Round The InterWebs

By now all of you have seen this clip, probably 2 or 3 times. It doesn't get old, really. It was shocking to see such racist opinions aired in such an unapologetic way. Rachel held her own, but her natural instinct to be polite and not interrupt her guest gave Buchanan too much of a platform. I wish, the rules of fair debating aside, that she had shut him down. At the end, when she gets all fierce and tells Buchanan he's playing with fire, I felt she was only beginning to get to the heart of the matter. I couldn't believe it when she let his statement about white men building this country go basically unopposed. It is logically, historically, demonstrably false, and should not have gone unchallenged. Of course, that's easy for me to say, sitting here in the comfort of my living room, with no camera on me, and no producer screaming in my ear to go to commercial. Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a favorite of ours here at SSI, saying it much better than I ever could, had some very interesting tweets about the smackdown:

MHL - I also think @maddow looked professional and reasonable in comparison.38 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - It's over. I'm definitely of two minds. I think spewing racism and uncountered racist falsehoods on TVNews is not Ok.39 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - I'm not sure I agree that it's "obvious" what's wrong with Pat. Huge gaps in racial & ideology perceptions are part of what I study.41 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - The funniest part to me is that nearly 100% of MSNBC shows are anchored by white guys. It's like SCOTUS.43 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok black people run fast. That is clear madness.44 minutes ago from Twitterrific

MHL - In the Ivy League we give out grades?!? Kiss my ass Pat.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - These are the death throes of Americas white supremacy. But I do think @maddow could have countered his false factoids.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok the worst part is "white people built this country". That's just a lie. @maddow not effectively countering.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - Ok I think @maddow is clearly giving him way too much time to say things that aren't true.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

MHL - There seem to be 2 opinions here. 1 group thinks @maddow did great. Others think giving Pat a hearing was wrong. Tell me what u think.about 1 hour ago from Twitterrific

I'm sure Professor Harris-Lacewell was apoplectic at the Ivy League comment. Check that; at the whole, damn, sorry diatribe.

I guess that I am shocked that Buchanan is so enraged. I expected resentment, but the rage scares me. It makes me fear that there is probably a much bigger chunk of our country that is virulently racist than I realized. I am praying that Buchanan is a voice for only a small, bitter segment of society. So much for post-racial, huh?

ETA: Perhaps my favorite Tweet of all time, courtesy of MHL, "Ok so I wake up to my Twitterverse to learn the SCLC is ousting it's Pres because he opposes Prop 8. Lord a mercy I'm on it."


  1. Rachel let's her guests talk and then she reacts but it is sorta hard when your guest loves interuppting and talking real loud.

    I think Rachel made him look like a fool ...and I believe that was her reason for bringing him on tonight, she hasn't had him on for a long time. The best part was when Rachel kept asking him what the thinks about those hundreds of white,male justices..and he kept going off on tangents. He looked pathetic.

    I agree with Melissa..he needs to be taken off air and I hope tonight leads to some kindof reaction from the MSNBC people.

  2. The thing about Pat is that he says outright the things that many old-school Republicans secretly think. Rachel's lifting the rock and letting everyone see the ugly creepy things that live underneath. Plus she's saying it to his face this way, which is the gentlemanly thing to do.

    - Chris aka Yank Abroad

  3. i do think the grand wizard was allowed too much leeway to spew is vile racist remarks. but have to give maddow credit for remaining relatively calm and being able to coherently counter such venom. i would have been screaming, probably incoherently, very early into it. she allowed him to put his white hood on full display. only problrm is there are a LOT of pat buchanans out there who were nodding along with this nut.

  4. Pat is a stain on MSNBC and Rachel has receieved a lot of flak for bringing on him. I hope she atleast addresses this on Monday.

    Atleast explains her reasoning, I believe it was to make him look like a racist but I want to hear from her.

    If MSNBC cared about their viewers, they would get rid of him sadly, ratings are everything and this video has been circulating everywhere on the eh :(

  5. Hey Chris! Wondered where you went. I like the "lifting up the rock" metaphor. And Sabrina, amen to the yanking the sob off the air. It's not necessary to show racist counterpoint.