RachelWatch: Tea’d Off


Today: Rachel talks about race, analyzes Liz Cheney’s latest abrasive TV appearance, and looks at the fractioning of the Tea Parties.

Burn After Reid

Rachel started us off with a cringefest of racially insensitive and just plain racist speech by way of adding a little context to Senator Harry Reid’s (D – Nevada) already infamous quote about then-candidate Barack Obama. She made the interesting – and important – point that there’s a difference between being wrongheaded and just being plateheaded.

See how far you can make it through the clips without doubling over in anger and embarrassment. And just a soupçon of despair over how far we have to go.

Still, it’s worth making it all the way through (I did it with only two spit-takes). Once you stumble out the other side, Rachel and Tricia Rose of Brown University have the most grownup conversation about race I’ve seen on cable news.


When I first started seeing Liz Cheney on television, I honestly wanted to cut her a break.

If I had a parent who was a war criminal, I’d probably jump through a few mental hoops to justify his or her actions myself.

But then she started in with the misleading statements that were only technically not lies and then the occasional outright lies and then the smearing and still with the weaseling and I realized that, no, she’s not trying to reason away her father’s history as a merchant of war and torture at all.

She’s trying to work her way up in the family business.

Fine. Game on.

Rachel was also very much in “game on” mode – she had a great time busting out some dynamic sports reporting techniques.

Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation and TRMS Vocabulary Gnome, joined Rachel to bring up the vital point that there is no reason for Liz Cheney to be on television. None!

Steep Trouble

Rachel took another look at the woes of the nation’s Tea Party factions. As of airtime there were 38,957 of them, but it’s been a few hours since then.

Turns out that people who become dissatisfied enough to split off and form a third party tend to be the sort of people who split off and form new parties kind of a lot.

OK, in fairness, it isn’t entirely the core Tea Partiers’ fault.

Every time the teabaggers try to get a good anti-mainstream rally going, the Republicans run over and start throwing their arms around their shoulders and wearing jackets just like theirs and trying to get them to pose in photo booths together and announcing that they’re all just one big superteam, so why not stop running against each other in primaries and throw a couple of those orange pekoe dollars into the RNC coffers instead?

Ms. Information

As you may have heard, Proposition 8 rewrote the California state constitution to keep one segment of the population from getting married.

Since then an odd-couple team of lawyers, Ted Olson (conservative) and David Boies (liberal), have teamed up to fight Prop 8. And then, one hopes, crime.

(While both lawyers deserve praise for taking on Prop 8, Olson gets special props from me for, in this era of Republican purges and purity tests, quietly proving that being a conservative doesn’t mean you have to be a raving bigoted loonsphincter. God, what a depressingly low bar.)

Rachel reported that the judge – a Republican appointee – had ruled that the trial could be recorded and broadcast on YouTube, but the defenders of Prop 8 filed an emergency appeal. The anti-gay marriage folks stopped the broadcast because they don’t want to be seen as hideous bigots.

I wonder if they took down their mirrors too.

Rachel also filled us in on the latest dirt on the Li’lest Fox News contributor. According to the sleazebag political gossip book Game Change, Sarah Palin wasn’t clear on the whole North Korea/South Korea thing when she first joined the McCain campaign.

I’m sure Palin eventually got it straight. Though that may explain why she advocated sanctioning the “brutal Communist regime” of North Dakota.

Chapman’s Friend

Rachel glowed with wonky joy as she announced that the Nixon library has released 280,000 pages of new documents.

Most people think of Richard Nixon as creepy, paranoid, and ruthless, but these new documents show… Um… Well, maybe more of a gradual swing into paranoia and creepitude than you thought.

Rachel welcomed former Nixon legal counsel John Dean to talk about “Chapman’s friend,” the code name for undercover fake reporters that Nixon used to track his political opponents, scoop up gossip, and ask awkward questions.

Essentially it was a reverse Jeff Gannon maneuver, but with less hooking.

Which, in a strange way, is a relief. I’ve always been annoyed that Karl Rove got away with being mean and underhanded. It’s easier now that I know he wasn’t original.

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