Has Rachel Maddow ever considered trying her hand at fiction?
What am I saying? She already does, just about every night on MSNBC. (video after page break)
Last night, for example, Maddow provided a stellar example of her penchant for chirpy deceit while impugning Sen. Scott Brown in a manner unusually petty even for MSNBC.
Lest any of Maddow's goo-goo viewers miss her upcoming screed, she previewed it no less than four times, saying Brown went "somewhere I did not think he would go and I think he should stop going to," describing Brown as "perhaps the strangest senator in the United States Senate," a man hobbled with an "unhealthy obsession" (Maddow projecting here, as you'll see) and one who "gets weird again, in the exact same way he got weird before."
Maddow, it turns out, still harbors a grudge against Brown for mentioning her as a possible challenger in a fundraising appeal he sent out two years ago --
MADDOW: Just a couple of months after he became a U.S. Senator, Scott Brown sent out a national fundraising letter saying that I was running against him for his Senate seat. (Maddow reads from letter) 'Dear friends, it's only been a couple of months since I've been in office and before I've even settled into my new job, the political machine in Massachusetts is looking for someone to run against me. And you're not going to believe who they are supposedly trying to recruit -- liberal MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. I relish being an independent voice in Washington. ... The Democratic Party bosses in Massachusetts disagree. They want a rubberstamp who will vote for their plans to expand government, increase debt and raise taxes. Someone like Rachel Maddow. ... I just don't think America can afford her liberal politics. Rachel Maddow has a nightly platform to push her far-left agenda. What about you? ... I'm grateful you are with me. Thanks again for whatever support you can provide me, and I look forward to joining in future victories with you down the line.'
In other words, hello national conservative mailing list. Don't you hate Rachel Maddow on MSNBC?! She's running against me. Send money! Now of course, I've never run for anything and I never will. I was never running against Scott Brown for anything, ever, but he did not care. He just made that up, he raised money off it and he never took it back.
Vintage Maddow -- alleging that a conservative "just made that up" -- lied, in other words -- while she engages in the very thing she deems so odious.
Even the sources cited by Maddow -- the fundraising letter sent out by Brown and a March 23, 2010 Daily Beast story titled "Senator Maddow?" -- undercut her protestations.
In his letter, Brown wrote that "you're not going to believe who they are supposedly trying to recruit" -- operative word here: "supposedly." The Daily Beast story provides further illumination --
(Brown's) evidence appears to rest on a message sent out by Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman John Walsh on Twitter the same day a Facebook page supporting a Maddow bid went live. "Some are talking about you running vs. Scott Brown in '12," Walsh tweeted, and the Boston blog Universal Hub suggested the message could have been meant for Maddow. In three weeks, more than 3,000 people have joined the Facebook page dedicated to getting Maddow to run.
What the Daily Beast neglected to mention was that Walsh included his email address and cell phone number in the tweet, and wrote a follow-up tweet ("Oops. You caught me doing my job. All is fair, so I'll tell you who once I get to 1000 followers. Spread the word ;)," implying the first message was an errant post meant for a specific person. (To my knowledge, Walsh has never denied the initial message was intended for Maddow).
Walsh, it is worth mentioning, was Deval Patrick's campaign manager for his successful run for Bay State governor in 2006, a model for then-Senator Barack Obama's run for president two years later. Also helping Patrick in 2006 was a political strategist you may have heard of -- David Axelrod.
As you can see, Walsh is not some crank pontificating from a crate in the park. He epitomizes the Democratic "political machine" in Massachusetts. Moreover, a radio talk show host mulling a run for Senate is hardly a stretch, as Al Franken -- Maddow's former colleague at Air America Radio -- had already shown.
In other words, Brown did not "make it up" that Maddow was seen by Massachusetts Democrats as a potential future challenger against him. No matter -- Maddow whined about it at the time and went so far as to take out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe on March 26, 2010.
"I'm running this ad not because I'm running against Scott Brown -- I'm not, he made that up," Maddow wrote, "but because he's the Senator for all of us, and maybe this will make him think twice the next time he wants to smear one of his constituents to raise money out-of-state."
This was a bit much even for the reliably liberal editorial writers at the Boston Globe. In an editorial titled "Brown vs. Maddow: The feud that isn't," the Globe described the dust-up as "a lot of hot air designed to serve the needs of the two principals: Campaign cash for Brown, a ratings boost for Maddow. Any umbrage is unwarranted and undeserved. ... No one's being exploited here. Brown's donors are presumably accustomed to the campaign-finance racket in which candidates try to rattle their supporters into opening their wallets. ... Maddow, however, took out a Globe ad to chide Brown, declaring that he should 'think twice the next time he wants to smear one of his constituents ...'. But where's the smear? The letter says nothing bad about her, and the notion that a talk-show host might join the Senate is hardly an insult."
This wasn't the only example of knee-jerk deception from Maddow last night. She also described a dispute between Brown and Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy's widow, about upcoming debates between Brown and Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic challenger --
MADDOW: Elizabeth Warren is running against Scott Brown but Senator Brown has been very reluctant to agree to a debate schedule with her. The Boston Globe reporting that the senator and his staff have refused to meet with Elizabeth Warren or her campaign to discuss debate invitations or dates or terms for debating. This week, though, Scott Brown said he would agree to a televised debate with Elizabeth Warren, but he had conditions. And he said if his conditions weren't met, he wouldn't do it. His conditions are, first, that the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy not make an endorsement in the Senate race. Seriously, that was one of his demands. And two, his second demand, Scott Brown also demands that MSNBC not be the host of the debate.
MSNBC is not the host of the debate! MSNBC was never going to be the host of the debate. MSNBC never even got asked about hosting the debate. But Scott Brown demands that MSNBC be removed as the host of this debate! And please send him money for him to run against his Senate opponent, MSNBC TV host Rachel Maddow.
Maddow doesn't get much more emphatic than that -- a surefire sign that she is laughably, unequivocally, 180 degrees wrong. That MSNBC might televise a Sept. 26 debate between Scott and Warren was suggested by Vicki Kennedy, the Boston Globe reported June 12.
"In a letter received by both candidates Friday, Vicki Kennedy said the debate would be cosponsored by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate and the University of Massachusetts," wrote Globe reporter Glen Johnson.
The debate, Johnson wrote, "would be held at the UMass Boston Campus Center, broadcast locally on NBC-TV affiliates, and possibly to a national audience via MSNBC. (emphasis added). (Proposed moderator Tom) Brokaw was the longtime anchor of NBC Nightly News."
This is the context of Brown's seemingly odd request for Vicki Kennedy to remain neutral in the race before he would agree to take part in the Sept. 26 debate, a context Maddow was too lazy or dishonest to convey to her viewers.
"Brown bests Vicki Kennedy" was the headline of a column in today's Globe by Scot Lehigh. "Just as one wouldn't expect Warren to jump at the prospect of debating on Fox News," Lehigh wrote, "it's understandable that Brown would be wary about MSNBC and seek a more even-handed media sponsor. ... As for his condition that Kennedy stay neutral in the race, her debate invitation gave Brown his opening."
In the invitation, Kennedy stated that "the EMK Institute is nonpartisan and committed to educating our public about our government -- especially the United States Senate -- with an eye toward invigorating public disource, encouraging participatory democracy, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders."
"Well, OK," Lehigh wrote, "but please prove that putative nonpartisanship, the Brown campaign essentially replied." Zing!
There you have it -- Maddow still making it up that Brown had no basis for claiming she was being courted by Massachusetts Democrats two years ago, and Maddow making it up now that "MSNBC was never going to be the host of the debate." Which will come as news to Vicki Kennedy, the Kennedy Institute, the Boston Globe, UMass Boston and anyone else paying attention.
(Photo credit, Helen Hau's Blog)