Rachel Maddow in verbal smack-down with former Bush speech writer (guess who won?)

Former Bush speech writer David Frum appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) tonight and accused openly gay political commentator Rachel Maddow of inciting the same kind of violence through satire and humor that John McCain’s campaign has been doing lately in its efforts to paint Obama as a terrorist (or terrorist sympathizer).

Then he spent the rest of the interview backpedaling as Rachel challenged his statement, and he tried to pretend that’s not what he said.

Since we’re not a news site (although we sometimes cover politics and news if it’s presented as entertainment, ala Saturday Night Live), I’m blogging about this not so much because of the issue being debated, but because of how riveting this argument is to watch, and how well I thought Rachel responded to David’s comments.

This is the kind of raw (if polite) argument we haven’t seen on TV since Rosie and Elizabeth Hasselbeck on The View — only this time, the stakes are higher, there’s less emotion, and the lesbian clearly won the debate.

Look for the interview to start about three minutes in. (If this video isn’t working for you, try this one.)

I don’t disagree with Frum that there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to lowering the quality of discourse in this country, but Rachel Maddow is hardly where I’d start pointing fingers (in fact, I’d argue she’s raising the quality, but that’s a blog topic for another day).

More germane to this site is Rachel’s point about the power of well-crafted humor to educate and inform. The increased acceptance of lesbian relationships in America in the last decade is arguably due more to the efforts and visibility of comedians like Ellen DeGeneres than to legislation and lawsuits (although the latter are important, too).

Smart, satirical commentary certainly involves more work and "thoughtfulness" than implying someone’s a terrorist.

Don’t believe me? Just try making Grey’s Anatomy funny every week.

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