On her MSNBC eponymous show, Rachel Maddow has been singing a tune of late that bothers me. Don’t get me wrong. I am usually a big fan of Ms. Maddow but lately it seems that Barack Obama’s recent victory is just not enough for her. She wants blood. She wants folks to take names and kick ass.
First example was a few nights ago when Rachel was disgusted by the fact that “convicted felon” Ted Stevens (that now appears to be his official name — Convicted-Felon-Ted-Stevens) received a standing ovation in the Senate upon his final speech to that chamber. Now fine, it IS against the rules of the Senate to give anyone a standing-o after they speak. But that was not the real source of Rachel’s dismay. She felt the Senate was honoring a disreputable individual. My loyal readers already know that I think the whole Stevens thing was much ado about nothing. Now that the 85 year old man who has, after all, devoted the better part of his life to service to his state and his country is about to limp into the sunset, what’s the matter with a little applause? I’m sorry folks but Ted Stevens was by no means the worst that the Republican party had to offer.
Then a couple of nights ago, and again tonight, Rachel got into an uproar about the likelihood of Bush “war crimes” going unprosecuted. Now I’ll be the first to admit that in moments of liberal rage over the past election cycle I’ve called for Bush and especially Cheney to get called on the carpet. Even in my earlier plea to leave poor Ted (the internet is a series of tubes) Stevens alone, I contrasted him with our current dastardly heads of state. Now that Obama has won, I’m finding myself of the thought that cooler heads should prevail.
We are in the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression. We are fighting two wars, neither of which directly involves probably our greatest threat, Pakistan. What purpose does it serve now to divert our nation’s attention to prosecuting Bush administration officials? If this were the best of times and not the worst then I might consider it but with all we have on our plate, it just seems like an exercise in vindictiveness. Maddow’s guest tonight, Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor, argued that to let the Bush administration’s crimes go unpunished would encourage future administrations to do the same. Prosecuting war crimes would send a clear message to the international community. I argue that the best message we can send about war crimes is to STOP THEM! Obama has pledged that there will be no torture, no extraordinary rendition on his watch. For the time being this is good enough for me.
Finally, tonight Rachel took what can only be described as a gratuitous kick in the groin to John McCain, Arizona Senator and recently defeated Presidential candidate. McCain gave a press conference today which few reporters attended and only MSNBC carried live. Ms. Maddow seemed to take great joy in how “pathetic” a display this was. I have never been an apologist for John McCain. He ran either by his own design or that of his handlers a despicable campaign. With VP candidate Sarah Palin as his kamikaze pilot, he stirred the ugliest instincts in his supporters. But I am a firm believer that success is the best revenge. Obama won. McCain LOST. Not only did McCain lose, but from the moment he began his concession speech to this very second he has been nothing if not gracious and conciliatory. He has exhibited the kind of class it would have been nice to see during the campaign. Today’s press conference was no exception. Not only did he admit that the Republican party needs to change, he also refused to throw Sarah Palin under the snow mobile. So, why can’t Rachel Maddow let it go? What more does she want from the man?
On January 20, 2009 we close one of the most troublesome chapters in American history. It is my sincere hope that from that day forward, Barack Obama takes names and kicks ass to ensure that this country gets back on the right course. As far as the past is concerned, let the history books pass judgement on the events of the Bush administration and the Republicans and the McCain campaign. We need to move on. There are just too many important things we need to do looking toward the future. We don’t have a minute to spare on the past.