Rachel Maddow keeps it real


Rachel Maddow is just like us! Not just “us” as in lesbians and bisexuals, but “us” as in people. Rachel Maddow is a normal person. She updated her Twitter to say so on Friday afternoon.

OK, maybe having “smackdown” in the title of all the internet videos posted of you isn’t normal. As in, “Rachel Maddow smacks down Pat Buchanan.” “Rachel Maddow smacks down Bill O’Reilly.” “Rachel Maddow smacks down Tucker Carlson (again).”

In a world of political pundits who resemble wind-up toys built to shout, Maddow handles herself with unusual aplomb. Oh, she’s smarter than all of us to be sure, but she’s like us too: she’s got a puppy, she sleeps with comic books beside her bed, she shops on eBay.

The New York Times profiled the newest MSNBC host in yesterday’s magazine, and if you didn’t have a crush on her before, you’re definitely going to now.

Biggest misconception about pundits: That we all hang out together. I don’t know any of these people. Maybe all the pundits are hanging out and not inviting me.

Favorite Fox News put-down: I don’t talk much about Fox. That’s more Keith Olbermann, but the only time Fox tried to book me on a show — ever — was for me to comment on Madonna and Britney Spears having kissed at an awards ceremony. I declined.

Always on her: A handkerchief. One of my liabilities as a broadcaster is that I am little teary. Having a handkerchief is handy. My partner, Susan Mikula, buys me cute ones.

Concession to vanity: I’ve had to get contact lenses. I only put them in while I’m on TV. They are a miracle device that allows me to be on TV without glasses, which everyone tells me I can’t wear on TV.

Clothing item a talk-show host needs : For me, it is sneakers, which I can wear 80 percent of the time, secretly behind the desk. That reminds me who I am, even though I am dressed up like an assistant principal in order to meet the minimum dress code for being on television.

Fictional character she identifies with: Wally Cleaver. ’Cause he is a dork.

I’m kind of noticing a pattern here. The most talked-about wedding of the year: gay. The woman the whole country turns to in a financial crisis: gay. The smartest woman on cable news: gay.

It’s almost like gay is the new normal.

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