Olbermann Rants Against 'Pissy Juvenile Blast' of President Bush

On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to attack President Bush's "pissy juvenile blast" for the President's criticism of the MoveOn.org "General Betray Us" ad during the day's news conference, accusing him of "hypocrisy" for not criticizing what Olbermann called the Republican "hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and the lying about Lieutenant John Kerry." Olbermann further accused Bush of "pimping" General David Petraeus and of making the general into a "political hack" at the risk of moving America's government toward a "military junta." Olbermann: "It is a line which history shows is always the first one crossed when a democratic government in some other country has started down the long, slippery, suicidal slope towards a military junta. Get back behind that line, Mr. Bush, before some of your supporters mistake your dangerous and stupid transgression as a call to further politicize our military." (Transcript follows)

Olbermann opened his "Special Comment" reviewing the President's news conference from earlier in the day and declared that "the annual Republican witch-hunting season is under way." He then criticized Bush for calling the Democratic party the "Democrat party," and brought up Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss' 2002 campaign ad that has been much criticized by liberals, calling it an "advertising mugging" of former Democratic Senator Max Cleland, and referred to the "swift-boating" of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

Olbermann also threw in a conspiracy theory as he charged that President Bush used a planted question so he could end his news conference with an attack on MoveOn.org with no follow-up: "But most importantly, making that the last question -- a plant -- so that there was no chance at a follow-up? And so nobody could point out, as Chris Matthews did so incisively a week ago tonight, that you were the one who inappropriately interjected General Petraeus into the political dialogue of this nation in the first place! Deliberately, premeditatedly, and virtually without precedent, you shanghaied a military man as your personal spokesman, and now you're complaining about the outcome, and then running away from the microphone?"

The Countdown host soon showed a clip of an RNC ad from the 2006 election that invoked images of terrorism and implied that Bush was hypocritical for not criticizing the ad. Olbermann: "That one was okay, Mr. Bush? Terrorizing your own people in the hopes of getting them to vote for your own party has never brought as much as a public comment from you. The Republican hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and the lying about Lieutenant John Kerry, those met with your approval? But a shot at General Petraeus, about whom you conveniently ignore, it is you who reduced him from four-star hero to political hack, that merits this pissy juvenile blast at the Democrats on national television? Your hypocrisy is so vast, sir, that if we could somehow use it to fill the ranks in Iraq, you could realize your dream and keep us fighting there until the year 3000."

Olbermann soon accused Bush of being "dictatorial" and of hiding behind General Petraeus' "skirts" and behind the "skirts of the planted last question." Olbermann: "But, Mr. Bush, you have hidden behind the General's skirts, and today you have hidden behind the skirts of 'the planted last question' at a news conference to indicate once again that your presidency has been about the tilted playing field, about no rules for your party in terms of character assassination and changing the fabric of our nation, and no right for your opponents or critics to as much as respond. That, sir, is not only un-American. It is dictatorial."

After accusing Bush of "pimping" General Petraeus, Olbermann concluded his rant by bringing up the prospect of America's government becoming a "military junta." Olbermann: "You did it again today, sir, and you need to know how history will judge that line you just crossed. It is a line, thankfully only the first of a series of lines, that makes the military political, and the political military. It is a line which history shows is always the first one crossed when a democratic government in some other country has started down the long, slippery, suicidal slope towards a military junta. Get back behind that line, Mr. Bush, before some of your supporters mistake your dangerous and stupid transgression as a call to further politicize our military."

Below is a complete transcript of Olbermann's "Special Comment" from the Thursday September 20 Countdown on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN: Finally tonight, as promised, a "Special Comment" on Mr. Bush's smear today of MoveOn.org and, in a larger context, his smear of criticism of his own political front men. The President behaving a little bit more than usual, like we'd all interrupted him while he was watching his favorite cartoons on the DVR, stepped before the press conference microphone and, after side-stepping most of the substantive issues, like the Israeli raid on Syria, in condescending and infuriating fashion, produced a big wow political finish that indicates certainly that, if it was not already, the annual Republican witch-hunting season is under way.

"I thought the ad was disgusting. I felt the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. military. And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad. And that leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org or more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military. That was a sorry deal."

First off, it's "Democrat-ic" party, sir. You keep pretending you're not a politician, so stop using words your party made up. Show a little respect.

Secondly, you could say this seriously after the advertising/mugging of Senator Max Cleland? After the swift-boating of John Kerry?

But most importantly, making that the last question -- a plant -- so that there was no chance at a follow-up?

And so nobody could point out, as Chris Matthews did so incisively a week ago tonight, that you were the one who inappropriately interjected General Petraeus into the political dialogue of this nation in the first place!

Deliberately, premeditatedly, and virtually without precedent, you shanghaied a military man as your personal spokesman, and now you're complaining about the outcome, and then running away from the microphone?

Eleven months ago, the President's own party, the Republican National Committee, introduced this very different kind of advertisement, just 19 days before the midterm elections.
Bin Laden and Zawahiri's rumored quote of six years ago about having bought "suitcase bombs," all set against a ticking clock, and finally a blinding explosion and the dire announcement: "These are the stakes. Vote November 7th."

That one was okay, Mr. Bush? Terrorizing your own people in the hopes of getting them to vote for your own party has never brought as much as a public comment from you. The Republican Hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and the lying about Lieutenant John Kerry, those met with your approval?
But a shot at General Petraeus, about whom you conveniently ignore, it is you who reduced him from four-star hero to political hack, that merits this pissy juvenile blast at the Democrats on national television? Your hypocrisy is so vast, sir, that if we could somehow use it to fill the ranks in Iraq, you could realize your dream and keep us fighting there until the year 3000.

The line between the military and the civilian government is not to be crossed. When Douglas MacArthur attempted to make policy for the United States in Korea half a century ago, President Truman moved quickly to fire him, even though Truman knew it meant his own political suicide, and the deification of a general who history suggests had begun to lose his mind.

When George McClellan tried to make policy for the Union in the Civil War, President Lincoln finally fired his chief general, even though he knew McClellan could galvanize political opposition, as he did, when McClellan ran as Lincoln's presidential opponent in 1864, and nearly defeated our greatest President.

Even when the conduit flowed the other way and Senator Joseph McCarthy tried to smear the Army because it would not defer the service of one of McCarthy's staff aides, the entire civilian and Defense Department structures, after four years of fearful servitude, rose up against McCarthy and said "enough" and buried him.

The list is not endless, but it is instructive. Air Force General LeMay, who broke with Kennedy over the Cuban Missile Crisis and was retired. Army General Edwin Anderson Walker, who started passing out John Birch Society leaflets to his soldiers and was fired. Marine General Smedley Butler, who revealed to Congress the makings of a plot to remove FDR as President and, for merely being approached by the plotters, was phased out of the military hierarchy. These careers were ended because the line between the military and the civilian is not to be crossed!

Mr. Bush, you had no right to order General Petraeus to become your front man. And he obviously should have refused that order and resigned rather than ruin his military career. The upshot is, and contrary it is to the MoveOn advertisement, he betrayed himself more than he did us.

But there has been in his actions a sort of reflexive courage, some twisted vision of duty at a time of crisis. That the man does not understand that serving officers cannot double as serving political ops, is not so much his fault as it is your good, exploitable, fortune.

But, Mr. Bush, you have hidden behind the General's skirts, and today you have hidden behind the skirts of 'the planted last question' at a news conference to indicate once again that your presidency has been about the tilted playing field, about no rules for your party in terms of character assassination and changing the fabric of our nation, and no right for your opponents or critics to as much as respond. That, sir, is not only un-American. It is dictatorial.

And in pimping General David Petraeus, sir, in violation of everything this country has been assiduously and vigilantly against for 220 years, you have tried to blur the gleaming radioactive demarcation between the military and the political, and to portray your party as the one associated with the military, and your opponents as the ones somehow antithetical to it.

You did it again today, sir, and you need to know how history will judge that line you just crossed. It is a line, thankfully only the first of a series of lines, that makes the military political, and the political military. It is a line which history shows is always the first one crossed when a democratic government in some other country has started down the long, slippery, suicidal slope towards a military junta. Get back behind that line, Mr. Bush, before some of your supporters mistake your dangerous and stupid transgression as a call to further politicize our military. Good night and good luck.