Shabbiness Incarnate: Maddow Guest Badmouths Earlier Guest After His Departure

Wow, the unintended hilarity just keeps coming from "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Last night a genuine rarity occurred when one of Maddow's guests, Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell during George W. Bush's first term, ridiculed an earlier guest, former CIA and FBI official Philip Mudd. (Video clip after page break)

Maddow was so taken aback by Wilkerson's criticism of Mudd that she described it as "stunning" and promised to bring both men on her show "at the same time" to sort the whole thing out.

Wilkerson slammed Mudd not over his remarks on the Boston bombing suspects, but over their differences on the rationale for war with Iraq.

Here's what Wilkerson said about Mudd right after Maddow welcomed Wilkerson to her show --

Let me point out to you how fast we rehabilitate things in America. You earlier on your show had Philip Mudd. Philip Mudd was the one standing behind me in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at 2 a.m. in the morning, insisting I put items about terrorism back in Powell's presentation that I had thrown out, calling them garbage. In fact, he was so insistent that he went and ran and told George Tenet and the next morning on the floor of the UN Security Council, George Tenet accosted me about what I'd done. So, Phil Mudd is still around (Maddow laughs), still advising on terrorism and so forth! (chuckles). We rehabilitate people really fast.

That we do, including you, Col. Wilkerson. Is that why you had such a hard time spitting out "rehabilitate"? And then-CIA director George Tenet agreed with Mudd on this one, did you say? Not sure how mentioning that bolsters your argument.

Maddow, who fancies herself as unflappable, appeared flapped enough that Wilkerson did not say something instead along the lines of -- Do me a favor, Rachel, next time you invite Phil Mudd on your show, let me be a guest at the same time. Phil and I have some differences of opinion on Iraq and I'd love to share them with you and your viewers.

Of course, this is too much in the way of magnanimity to expect from a close ally of Colin Powell, or as I like to think of him, Polonius on the Potomac.

After laughing nervously while Wilkerson badmouthed her earlier guest, Maddow told Wilkerson that "you have described that kind of pressure before, although I will tell you I did not connect that to Phil Mudd and talking about a totally different subject tonight and thank you for connecting those dots."

Maddow and Wilkerson proceeded to discuss possible US intervention in Syria and Wilkerson's contention that many of those who wanted war in Iraq are now hot under the collar for conflict with Iran. At the end of their conversation, Maddow thanked Wilkerson for "making the connection with our earlier guest tonight." This was "stunning," Maddow gushed, "and now I have to get you guys in the same room to talk to me at the same time. That's gonna be a great night!" (claps hands in mock delight). "Any time," Wilkerson promised.

If this ever comes to pass, something will occur on the Maddow show even rarer than a guest piling on another behind the first guest's back -- we might actually hear differences of opinion over the US going to war in Iraq. This never happens, just as you never hear dissenting voices on abortion or gay marriage at MSNBC, sacred cows all. And as a wise newspaperman once observed, sacred cow makes tasty hamburger.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts