Wha...? Maddow Describes Unanimous Senate Votes to Confirm Petraeus and Panetta as 'Controversial'

Controversy ain't what it used to be, not at MSNBC.

The network's Rachel Maddow cited two odd examples of what she deems controversial on her show Thursday, in the first and only time both examples will ever be cited as controversial (video after page break) --

In the midst of this partisanship so extreme that it has become quite literally pointless, today in the United States Senate there was a vote on one of the most controversial things in American politics and government and the final tally of that vote in the Senate, look, 94 to zero. Had six senators not missed that vote, dollars to doughnuts, I'm telling you it would have been 100 to nothing.

This was a show of bipartisanship not seen in Washington on any matter since nine days ago when there was in fact a 100 to nothing vote on something, something that was as big a deal, as controversial and frankly as unpopular with the public. Nine days ago it was the head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, getting unanimously confirmed to become the new head of the Pentagon. Now today, it was one of the top generals at the Pentagon getting unanimously confirmed to be the new head of the CIA. So, you know, just swap hats you guys.

Am I missing something here? Every single senator present to vote on Petraeus's confirmation to CIA does so, the only exceptions being those not actually on Capitol Hill when the vote is taken -- and this constitutes "one of the most controversial things in American politics and government"?

Just in case you were wondering if this was a fluke on Maddow's part, she doubles down. Not only was Petraeus's confirmation vote "controversial," so was Panetta's for defense nine days earlier, and this was just as "unpopular with the public," Maddow assures us. She clearly remembers how it was all the buzz that day at 30 Rock and everyone was in vigorous agreement, a sure sign something is controversial.

Why, there hasn't been such controversy from a unanimous Senate vote since the declaration of war against Japan after that alleged attack on Pearl Harbor.

In the remainder of the segment (which can be seen in its entirety here), Maddow talked about growing opposition to the war in Afghanistan, which appears to have accelerated since bin Laden was killed, and drone strikes extending into Somalia. What she does here is conflate controversy over the widening breadth of American involvement in conflict abroad with indisputable non-controversy over confirmation votes for Panetta and Petraeus.

How would Maddow describe votes where the tallies were nine-to-one instead of 100 percent -- super-duper controversial?

Toxic partisanship isn't the only thing "quite literally pointless" these days. So was this analysis by Maddow.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts