Madonna had her confessions on the dance floor, but this one of mine comes straight from the bedroom: on many nights I go to bed with Rachel Maddow.
Only, she doesn’t know it.
Often I watch her show on the TRMS (The Rachel Maddow Show) iPhone app, which is even better than watching it on TV in the States because there are no commercial interruptions. Maddow is important because she is that rare creature: someone who is on television and who is also intelligent — searingly intelligent. After watching her thrust and parry with the best (and worst) of them, and even once having the privilege of interviewing her myself, I have no doubt that there is no debate which she can’t enter and not topple her opponent — almost.
On yesterday’s broadcast she took serious issue with Clint Eastwood, the actor who has found a new vocation as cultural disruptor extraordinaire by ad-libbing a speech, in which an empty chair figured prominently, at the Republican National Convention. By any account, and certainly from a non-partisan American perspective, Eastwood’s monologue was spectacular: bracingly refreshing. Brave enough to say that attorneys and the Oval Office don’t mix, suggesting that their attorney palaver is just that: useless and maybe worse.
Eastwood, like a growing number of Americans (not to mention Israelis) have the increasingly sinking feeling that they were sold a bill of goods when they bought into the Obama mystique and brought the onetime attorney to the country’s highest office.
His performance at the RNC may have been a little wobbly, but it was irresponsible for TRMS to re-broadcast only the wobbly bits, while studiously avoiding the substance and strange but beguiling style that held those bits together on either end.
True, Eastwood was a bit crass at times. And also entertaining. But then Maddow, as the new poster child of the reflexive liberal, broadcasts her show from one of the loudest, crassest cities on earth: New York City. And, she’s also entertaining. American culture is more than a little crass. And after all, it’s a political show-and-tell, a party convention, not a swearing-in of the next Supreme Court Justice. Lighten up.
But no: she actually suggested that whoever green-lighted the speech on Romney’s end be fired. When someone as perky and intelligent as Rachel Maddow uses the power of their intellect to try take someone down simply because they don’t like their style, it’s jumping the shark. Like a tired hen squawking all through the night simply because it doesn’t like the fact that the new rooster, for a few minutes of primetime, rules the roost.
Maddow’s role as a commentator is not to defend and protect the President’s “honor” or perceived slights thereto, but to comment on the news. Instead of going after Mitt Romney’s campaign organizers — real low-hanging fruit – why not ask viewers some hard questions about Obama’s foreign policy record to date? Talk about indefensible.
So the divorce, for now, is on. But the great thing about America is, we can always get remarried in Vegas.