Keith Olbermann is the Jet Li of Political Commentary
For several months, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has been concluding some of his programs with special commentaries on the failings of the Bush administration and descent into darkness of the Republican party. Last night’s commentary was a devastating smackdown to Bush for his continued attacks on American democracy. See the video here. Here are a few excerpts:
And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about — lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool… While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover… The President of the United States — unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats….
Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, quote, “we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.”
Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed.
If your commitment to “put aside differences and work together” is replaced in the span of just three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they’ve said, then the questions your critics need to be asking, are no longer about your policies.
They are, instead — solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.
No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to “wait until we’re attacked again.”
No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate, has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday… nor whatever is next.
You have dishonored your party, sir — you have dishonored your supporters — you have dishonored yourself.
But tonight the stark question we must face is – why?
Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats, now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?
Why have you chosen to go down in history as the President who made things up?
Some readers, even some of those who find much to agree with in Olbermann’s commentaries, find him a little self-righteous. Perhaps. But in a political environment where much of the commentary on the right amounts to little more than insult comedy (Rush Limbaugh), if not hate speech and incitements to murder (i.e., Ann Coulter), perhaps a serious, earnest, and unironic willingness to state the obvious is what’s needed.