RachelWatch: The state of the State of the Union


Today: Rachel breaks down the State of the Union address and does some inquiring about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“Our Union Is…”

In spite of the fact that she had already been punditing up a storm, Rachel kicked off the show unashamedly keyed up for State of the Union night.

After a quick slice-and-dice of the evening’s highlights, Rachel spoke with White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who puts her words closer together than any human being who is not being fast-forwarded. It’s like she thinks she’s on one of the shouty shows and she’ll get interrupted if she stops to draw breath.

I mention it because her technique of rattatatatting out as many canned talking points as possible makes her come off as so disingenuous that I got all skeptical and crabby and briefly forgot that I liked Obama’s speech.

Her dancing around the President’s promise to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is particularly challenging for someone who wants to believe. Part of the spin she launched into included “He’s going to begin the process, starting right away, to move forward…”

I think she’s just nervous. It’s OK, Ms. Jarrett. Rachel will let you finish those sentences.

Had You Heard that There Was Some Excitement over Healthcare Reform?

Rachel welcomed the terrific Senator Sherrod Brown (D – Ohio) to talk about what’s next for healthcare reform and the President’s remarks about Republican obstructionism and the slow pace of legislation.

Brown was refreshingly frank about the frustrating aspects of the current Senate process, but optimistic about getting the reform bill passed and most people liking it once it builds up a good head of steam.

And not just because the ones who don’t like it will get sent straight to the Obamacare noogie panels.

I Like it Best When They’re in a Bar

Chris Matthews of Hardball dropped in to give a glowing review of Obama’s speech, chat with Rachel about political theater, and maybe use the word “seduce” one too many times.

The two talked about the likelihood of the Republicans stepping up for true bipartisanship when every time one of them suggests some radical liberal compromise — like, say, only waterboarding people on weekends and holidays — they get a far-right primary challenger and Michele Bachmann holds another insane rally and Pledge To Keep Healthcare Expensive and Inaccessible So People Will Pray More for America.

As Rachel was closing out the segment Matthews broke in to try to explain a remark he’d made earlier in the evening that during the speech he “forgot [Obama] was black.”

Which… Oof.

Matthews is going to spend the next two days getting ripped a new one, so I’ll lay off him. He said a dumb thing, but I think the dumb thing he meant to say was a lot less dumb than the way it came out.

Matthews clarified that he was trying to say that he thought we’ve come so far that race, for that hour, was no longer an issue. Which is still dumb, but at least it’s naïve-wishful-thinking-dumb instead of outright-jerk-dumb.

Maybe some good will come out of Matthews’ impending skewering: He may get a clearer picture of how far we still have to go, and he may finally stop inviting noted racist Pat Buchanan on his show for “balance.”

The Real World D.C.

Rachel ran a bit of Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention and, wow, was he good.

She used the speech about bridging divides as a jumping-off point to talk about the President’s attempts at bipartisanship and then take a stern look at the likelihood of the Republican partisans turning bi, even if cocktails are involved.

“Right To Serve”

Obama called for the end of the ridiculous Don’t Ask Don’t Tell rule during his address, which is terrific.

And now everyone, or at least everyone in the non-bigot community, is eager to see the administration’s follow-up.

Rachel welcomed Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, a decorated pilot who is being discharged because of The Gay, to talk about his situation and his hopes for getting rid of DADT in time to do him any good.

Dress-Up Mess Up

For a little comic relief, Rachel looked in on the crack espionage team that tried to infiltrate the office of Senator Mary Landrieu (D – Louisiana) without even bothering to whip up some fake Kenyan telephone repairman certificates.

Reports now indicate that they weren’t actually trying to bug the Senator’s phones, just disable them.

Oh, OK, then.

Apparently they absolutely knew for sure that if the office phones were knocked out, Landrieu’s staff would, in front of the visiting “telephone repairmen,” start to cheer and laugh about how they don’t have to talk to those dumb old constituents anymore, and then presumably they would immediately start divvying up huge special-interest bribes and pre-stamping stacks of phony ballots for their ACORN minions to hand out.

And then boy, oh, boy, would the innovative muckrakers have some genius incisive video!

The great thing about their explanation is that it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard whether it’s true or not. Oh, and still really illegal.

Rachel noted that investigators are still trying to sort out the young men’s connections to various conservative organizations and their bizarre cereal-box superspy techniques, so there is probably still some very weird joy to come.

Thank you, crusading nitwits. You have really brightened my week.

“Our Union Is…”

Care to put a button on the evening, Dr. Maddow?

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