In what appears to be a daily theme on MSNBC, the liberal network seems to find new ways to smear the Republican Party. The latest example from the liberal network was on the March 5 Now w/ Alex Wagner on March 5, when the all-liberal panel took to smearing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-Va.) on his bid to be the next Governor of the Commonwealth.
The liberal panel, including host and former Center for American Progress employee Alex Wagner, spared no mercy in their vicious attack on Cuccinelli. Wagner introduced the segment with strong vitriolic rhetoric:
From the party that brought America Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Herman Cain, meet Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General, former state senator, Tea Party provocateur, and presumed Republican nominee for governor of Virginia. Cuccinelli, most famous for suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act has a formidable track record. He is pro-life, anti-gay and a climate change denier. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Wagner followed this up by showing her outright liberal opposition to Cuccinelli:
If I had to bet on it, and I'm not a betting woman, I bet he [Terry McAuliffe] runs away with it because the Republicans once again are putting someone out there who has extreme views.
As the segment continued, fellow MSNBCer Martin Bashir -- who once compared another Catholic, social conservative Republican to Stalin -- continued the attack on Cuccinelli:
I don't think he is thinking about the end product. He enjoys the principled assertion of his views, and if that invokes a war and a fight that’s what he enjoys. That’s what this is about.
The segment took a severe turn for the worse, when Jacob Weisberg, former editor of Slate magazine, called Cuccinelli to a “Tea Party troglodyte” and mocking him because:
He is the kind of candidate who is going to deliver a race that Republicans could win probably to Democrats, but it's interesting. I mean Cuccinelli sort of obviously represents the worst of the Republican Party right now. He is a Tea Party troglodyte. He doesn't believe in global warming. He doesn't believe women have any reproductive rights. I mean he has sort of been left out there. He bet on the sort of Tea Party, you know, a while ago.
Apparently someone who is pro-life and doesn’t believe in global warming is akin to a primitive creature with reclusive habits and outmoded attitudes. Not surprisingly no one on the MSNBC panel challenged him for his harsh rhetoric.
See relevant transcript below.
Now w/ Alex Wagner
March 5, 2013
12:35 p.m. EST
ALEX WAGNER: The state of Virginia has seen plenty of major battles, and it is about to witness another. The 2013 governor's race. From the party that brought America Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Herman Cain, meet Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General, former state senator, Tea Party provocateur, and presumed Republican nominee for governor of Virginia. Cuccinelli, most famous for suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act has a formidable track record. He is pro-life, anti-gay and a climate change denier. He is called the Obama Administration the biggest set of lawbreakers in America. He has equated Medicare to mugging the sick and elderly. He has said that Virginia has outgrown the institutionalized racism that gave rise to the Voting Rights Act. He has sued the EPA. He has suggested that gays are not protected by the 14th Amendment. And he has said your Social Security number is being used to track you. While Cuccinelli may be the presumed nominee, his breed of ideology poses serious concerns for more moderate members of the GOP. Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Bill Bowling, a Republican and potential opponent, told the National Journal in many ways I think our party is in search of an identity. Are we going to be a party that's more interested in rigid ideological confrontation, or are we going to be a party that's focused on getting things done? Bobby Kilberg, a prominent Republican operative said of the race, everyone is going to be focused on Virginia as an indication of the future direction of the party nationally. It is exceptionally important that the direction be a mainstream direction. And with that Ken Cuccinelli for governor. That's my addition. Virginia, let's talk a little bit about the Old Dominion. President Obama won in 2008 and 2012. Since then the last Democrat to win the state was L.B.J. in 1964. To say that this is a shift and that things are changing is an understatement. Minorities may now make up 30% of the population. If you look at the numbers. The Hispanic population in the last ten years has grown by 92%. Asian population by 70%. The African-American population growing by 11%. These are -- these numbers -- this is a demographic reality. And yet, here you have a race that's wide open, and Terry McAuliffe, who’s the presumed Democratic nominee, is -- if I had to bet on it, and I'm not a betting woman, I bet he runs away with it because the Republicans once again are putting someone out there who has extreme views.
KAREN FINNEY: I think it's that as well as terry has good relationships with the business community and as we know, some of these extreme views that Cuccinelli has make the business community a bit nervous, and that means those folks live in Virginia they vote in Virginia, they give money. The thing that I think Cuccinelli is hoping for is, remember, it's not going to be a presidential election. So yes, all those demographic shifts are true, but will those voters turn out. I mean, Terry is going to have to turn those voters out in order for it to make up the margin of difference. I think that's part of what Cuccinelli is hoping for. He is probably also hoping that a lot of women don't turn out and vote given the Cuch is for the vaginal probe, if you will. And that's a part of the shift. And it's also -- it will be interesting to see as the sequester plays itself out and we know that federal workers are going to be -- Virginia is going to be one of the states that will feel it sooner rather than later. How does he react and respond to that? McDonnell has actually I think had a pretty good tone on this. It will be curious to see how Cuccinelli responds.
WAGNER: To that point Martin, Virginia, the New York Times had a front page piece this weekend about the fact that Virginia is actually going to feel the sequester cuts harder than any other state. 90,000 civilian employees.
MARTIN BASHIR: That's why the president went there on Friday.
WAGNER: And you have to think that that is going to play into the 2014 race in some fashion.
BASHIR: You do, but I think in Cuccinelli’s case, you mentioned his book "The Last Line of Defense."
WAGNER: The new book he has out.
BASHIR: He has a new book out. And in part of it he talks about that fact that he believes there's value in fighting over everything, so the process is what matters. The outcome less important it seems for this guy. So if he has a war about everything, whether it's the Affordable Care Act and he loses or, you know, as you know, he questions global warming. He has authorized state police to check on citizenship.
WAGNER: He has questioned Social Security numbers.
BASHIR: Right. But in his position in the book is that principles are fixed. It's only their application that needs to change. And so his position is very much that dogmatic ideological position that you just laid out. I don't think he is thinking about the end product. He enjoys the principled assertion of his views, and if that invokes a war and a fight that’s what he enjoys. That’s what this is about.
WAGNER: That's interesting, Sam. I always think back to the great cover story that you did in the New Republic, the white album, the sort of thesis there about the Republican Party's strategy that's based on Calhounism. It's giving a disproportionate amount of power to a minority in the face of majority domination. And here is Ken Cuccinelli taking that sort of thesis and applying it to his own campaign, which is fight against power in every sense of the word, regardless of whether you actually end up winning in the end.
SAM TANENHAUS: Well I think Martin put his finger on it. It's the lost cause. Barry Goldwater was the lost cause in 1964. Fight for another day. Make sure the principles aren't erased. You know, now the party is going through this period of self-doubt. Maybe they're really all liberal Democrats, you know, like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush. What do we do? Someone has to stand up for the things we really believe in. If we get hammered a little bit, okay, the faithful will still have us. Next cycle comes around. He learns a little bit through the process. He positions himself. You know, somebody has to be the tribune for the Tea Party. That's still one of the bigger constituencies they have, and some people are going to go out and grab it. Why not?
WAGNER: I mean, Jacob. You wrote the story in "Vogue" about the Castro brothers, and we’re talking about all these demographic shifts and these states that have been previously solidly red, whether it's Texas, that is maybe turning shades of purple whether it’s Virginia, which is distinctly blue in the last two presidential cycles. We're looking at North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado. I mean, the country is changing. The strategy on the Republican side does not seem to be changing accordingly.
JACOB WEISBERG: No, I think that's right. And Cuccinelli he’s just clearly out of sync to run in a swing state. He is the kind of candidate who is going to deliver a race that Republicans could win probably to Democrats, but it's interesting. I mean Cuccinelli sort of obviously represents the worst of the Republican Party right now. He is a Tea Party troglodyte. He doesn't believe in global warming. He doesn't believe women have any reproductive rights. I mean he has sort of been left out there. He bet on the sort of Tea Party, you know, a while ago. But Terry McAuliffe, let's not let him off the hook. He represents the worst of the Democratic Party, which is power achieved through money, selling of access, lobbying, connections. Basically relationships based on connections with big business, and who do you blame for this race between the worst of both parties?
WAGNER: The state of Virginia.
WEISBERG: I blame the state of Virginia, partly because they have a one-term term limit, which essentially says -- I think it's fundamentally undemocratic. Because it says you can't elect who you want if you have already elected them. It says experience is a bad thing. So if you think you have a governor who has learned how to do a good job, you're not allowed to re-elect him. So the field is always being reopened to opportunists from both sides.