Take Names, Kick Ass or Move On

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.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow

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.


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6 thoughts on “Take Names, Kick Ass or Move On

  1. I’ve never seen Maddow on TV, but I did hear her on Air America now and then when I used to work in Scarborough, ME. She’s ferociously partisan, in a not-very-helpful way.

    Sen. Stevens got a standing ovation. So? He’s out of the Senate, his reputation is shot, and he’s facing penalties. Letting him have his last moment of acceptance didn’t hurt anyone, methinks.

    As for prosecuting Bush and co. … That’s dubious territory. For one thing, we’d need to see more information than we have now.

    Does Pres. Obama really want to spend his time looking over all of the information to make that call?

    More than that, does Pres. Obama really want to give the Republicans that kind of weapon? If they spin successfully that Obama prosecuted Republicans for policy disagreements, then he will have opened the can of worms that does more damage to the republic than anything in half a century.

    Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, not because he thought Nixon deserved a pardon, but because the country had already been through enough. My raving-liberal, card-carrying-member-of-the-ACLU history professor in college said that he was furious at the time of the pardon, but when he looked back on it, he realized that it really was the right thing.

    I think that you’re right … move on. Let’s stop hurting our image, and take positive steps.

    Sorry about the long comment … especially since all I’m really saying is that you’re right, and you’re showing a lot of class.

  2. I’m with you on this, Rutherford. I really enjoyed her show throughout the campaign, but she seems to be having a hard time redirecting herself and her show now. She’s been needlessly critical of a lot that’s transpired since Nov. 4th.

    I thought it was especially nasty and even a bit childish to basically point and laugh at John McCain’s press conference. I was really disappointed in her for that too.

    Thanks for another good post!

  3. Lottie, I think Rachel may be running into the same problem as many bloggers such as myself. I spent several months railing against Hillary Clinton, then several months railing against John McCain. Now, the result I so ardently hoped for has been achieved. Where do you go from here? What do you write about?

    That’s the challenge and I think you hit the nail on the head with your choice of the word “redirected”. The trick now is to go after topics that promote a positive agenda for this country or oppose those who would derail that positive agenda.

    To that end, I’ve started posting Obama’s weekly YouTube videos. Original? No, But those who do read my blog don’t have to look elsewhere to see what Obama is saying AND, for what it’s worth, they’ll get my two cents thrown in every once in a while.

    Thanks for staying on board as I “redirect” my efforts! 🙂

  4. It definitely is overkill in the case of Stevens. You are right – it never should have come to this nor should one incident define an entire career.

    McCain, gracious in defeat – yes. Undignified, malicious, and dangerous in pursuit of the presidency, so…. wait and see.

    Bush, well some have been impeached for much less.

    So choose one: “You reap what you sow”? “Forgive and Forget?”
    “You can control your choices but not the consequences?” or “If the shoe fits, wear it?”

    RL, we’ve got to pick one and move on.

  5. Reverend, our history concerning impeachment is a sad one. In both cases (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton) impeachment was used more as a political weapon than as a valid prosecution of criminal behavior. Had Nixon stuck around, his impeachment would probably have been the first that was done for valid reasons. So, yes you’re right, some have been impeached for much less.

    As for your alternatives, I think they all resonate. Clearly, we have reaped what we have sowed the past eight years. Our economy is in ruins and our world reputation has suffered.

    I believe we should forgive, but not forget the lessons of the Bush administration.

    One could argue that choices made by Bush et al. did not anticipate the consequences that followed. I think the Bush administration had convinced themselves that we would be greeted a liberators and we would be in and out of Iraq in no time.

    Finally, I think history will decide which “shoe fits” for the Bush administration. Bush will either be viewed as the man who kick started true democracy in Iraq or as a man who badly damaged his own country in pursuit of ideology.

    But you are right. As I stated in my post, we have too much to do to get bogged down in the past. It is time to move on and heal this nation.

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