WashPost's Milbank Hints Palin is 'Idiot,' Obama Should Use 'Reverse Psychology' on GOP

Appearing as a guest on Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank cracked that President Obama should use on the GOP the kind of "reverse psychology" that is used with children as he saw politics in GOP opposition to military action in Syria.

He went on to suggest that Sarah Palin is an "idiot" after host Al Sharpton read from her tweet opposing military intervention.

After Sharpton brought up New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm mentioning his opposition to war in Syria in a fundraising letter, he turned to Milbank went after the GOP as he responded:

Boy, there's a real profile in courage, isn't it? I think you could call the Republicans right now the "contrary caucus," so what it is, is it doesn't so much matter what the issue is, if President Obama is for it, they're against it. So he needs to start using some reverse psychology the way you would with a child.

The Washington Post columnist added:

So if he came out and said, "I really want some more tax cuts," they will say, "No, no, no, we won't support any more tax cuts." So maybe he needs to do this in reverse. But at some point they have to realize they're voting against their own interests, they're voting against the national interests just so they can say no to this President.

A bit later, the PoliticsNation host brought up "queen of the Tea Party" Palin's tweet and complained about "extreme and offensive language" from the former Alaska governor. Sharpton:

And you hear from the queen of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin. She says, "So we're bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I'm the idiot?" And then she added, "Let Allah sort it out." I mean, this kind of extreme and offensive language when you're making that last quip is where we are seeing this go.

After playing a clip of Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan voicing support for military action in Syria from the past, Sharpton turned to Milbank who took a shot at Palin as he began his response:

Well, first of all, when Sarah Palin is asking, "Am I the idiot here?" I think she does not want us to answer that question.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, September 6, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: It's the question everyone is debating. What to do about Syria? It's not an easy decision on either side of the aisle. But one thing is certain, it should have nothing to do with politics.

But listen to this. GOP Congressman Michael Grimm favored action in Syria until he sent out a fundraising letter today. Quote, "I decided to withdraw my support from President Obama's proposal. Will you stand with me in opposing President Obama's plan with a donation of $25 or more right now?"

What? Trying to fundraise off what's supposed to be a question of conscience?

GOP Senator John Cornyn supported intervention in Syria. Today his spokesperson said, "If the vote were held today, Senator Cornyn would vote no." And this is the big one. Donald Rumsfeld, yes, that Rumsfeld, is all over TV attacking the President's plan. Again, it's a tough moral decision, but this trend on the right is all about one thing: President Obama. Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Maria Teresa Kumar. ... Dana, you can certainly disagree with the President, but trying to fundraise off of it? I mean, what do you make of that?

DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: Boy, there's a real profile in courage, isn't it? I think you could call the Republicans right now the "contrary caucus," so what it is, is it doesn't so much matter what the issue is, if President Obama is for it, they're against it. So he needs to start using some reverse psychology the way you would with a child.

So if he came out and said, "I really want some more tax cuts," they will say, "No, no, no, we won't support any more tax cuts." So maybe he needs to do this in reverse. But at some point they have to realize they're voting against their own interests, they're voting against the national interests just so they can say no to this President.

SHARPTON: Yeah, but we're talking war when we're dealing with this, Maria. We're talking about whether or not there was chemical weapons. We're talking about children dying. Can't we expect, shouldn't we expect our people in Congress, our leaders of political parties to rise above partisan politics when it gets this serious?

[MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR]

SHARPTON: All right, well, Dana, here's the Washington Post's running tally on support in the House for military action. And I should note it's been changing throughout the day. But as of this tally, 222 House members are either against a strike or leaning against, 186 are undecided, 25 favor military action. Now, here's the thing: Of those 222 who are against or leaning against, 160 are Republicans. Now, is it surprising to see so much opposition to a military strike from the GOP?

MILBANK: It's, I would venture to say it's unprecedented. And what makes it particularly extraordinary is you have House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor out there saying we support the President on this. It shows that they've just, the leaders have lost control of this, and what's really driving this right now is these conservative groups like Heritage Action, Club for Growth, Tea Party-related organizations. And these guys are casting their votes in terror of that. John Cornyn, you showed him, he's in terror of Ted Cruz, the other Republican Senator from Texas. The leaders have no control here. It's a problem a little bit on the Democratic side, too, but particularly on the Republican side.

[KUMAR]

SHARPTON: And you hear from the queen of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin. She says, "So we're bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I'm the idiot?" And then she added, "Let Allah sort it out." I mean, this kind of extreme and offensive language when you're making that last quip is where we are seeing this go. But another Republican, Dana, criticizing President Obama on Syria was Congressman Paul Ryan. He said, quote, "The President has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria. He needs to clearly demonstrate the use of military force would strengthen Americans' security." But back when he was running for President, Ryan agreed with the President's stance on Syria. Let's listen back.

MARTHA RADDATZ, DEBATE MODERATOR: What happens if Assad does not fall? Congressman Ryan, what happens to the region? What happens if he hangs on? What happens if he does?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI): Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He's a sponsor of terrorism. He'll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this. Look, he mentioned the-

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So what would Romney/Ryan do about that credibility?

RYAN: Well, we agree with the same red line actually they do on chemical weapons. But not putting American troops in other than to secure those chemical weapons. They're right about that.

SHARPTON: So if Ryan agreed with the President's red line on chemical weapons, how can he accuse them of grave missteps now, Dana?

MILBANK: Well, first of all, when Sarah Palin is asking, "Am I the idiot here?" I think she does not want us to answer that question. But I think Paul Ryan has said that, and he said it on other occasions, too. Nothing has changed here. The only thing that's changed is the grassroots of the party have moved in a different direction, and Paul Ryan realizes that if he wants to stay out in front, if he wants to be a presidential contender in '16, if he wants to knock Boehner out as Speaker of the House, he has to be on their side of this issue. And it is extraordinary because it's, you know, I mean, the old saying about politics stopping at the water's edge is completely gone now. There's nothing but politics left in this vote.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.