MSNBC’s Ratigan Wonders If Americans Should ‘Stop Whining’

Citing a Democratic congressman who recently proposed a no whining day, on Friday’s Morning Meeting on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan asked: “...unemployment, health care, a couple of wars, Americans got plenty to be frustrated about these days...But some people say stop the whining....Is ‘shut up and deal’ the new American mantra?”

Ratigan made that question the topic of discussion for the ‘Trend or Talker’ segment near the end of 9:00AM ET hour of the show with correspondent Contessa Brewer and Financial Times U.S. managing editor Chrystia Freeland. Ratigan explained: “...the congressman, by the name of Emmanuel Cleaver, wants to declare the day before Thanksgiving complaint-free Wednesday.” He wondered: “Worthy proposition?”

Brewer replied: “Yeah, absolutely. Here you get a two-fer. No complaints on Wednesday and Thursday gives you something to be grateful for.” Freeland enthusiastically agreed with the idea: “I think the no whining day is a fabulous idea....What they say in preschools, you get what you get and don’t get upset.”

At the end of the segment, Ratigan asked Brewer and Freeland if the no whining push was a trend or a ‘talker.’ Brewer replied: “The griping continues, it’s a talker.” Freeland disagreed: “It is a trend and it’s related to your favorite subject, Dylan, the economy. Just as the depression generation was a lot tougher than kids of affluence like us who are whiners, maybe the recession will make us tougher.”

In response, Brewer remarked: “Who are you calling a whiner?” Freeland explained: “Generation X, we are, we grew up with everything.” Ratigan admitted: “She’s calling me a whiner....guilty. I’m just whining about the massive generational theft, mind you, but otherwise, you know, I’m going to shut up and deal.” Freeland absolved Ratigan of his daily whining: “That’s not whining, that’s reasoned politics.”

While MSNBC was more than willing to label Americans as “whiners” in the midst of various challenges confronting the Obama administration, when John McCain’s economic advisor Phil Gramm referred to America as a “nation of whiners” during the 2008 presidential campaign, the cable network bashed him for it. Hardball host Chris Matthews opened his July 10, 2008 show by declaring: “McCain’s ‘brain’ calls recession a mental problem, that we’re all just a nation of whiners. But is it smart politics to blame the voter?”

Here is a full transcript of the Friday Morning Meeting segment:
9:53AM

DYLAN RATIGAN: Alright. Time now for a little ‘Trend or Talker.’ Chrystia Freeland joining the conversation, nice to see you, how are you? You’re looking very holiday, actually, today.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yeah, I guess because we’re moving into Thanksgiving.

RATIGAN: Yeah. No, it’s appropriate, it’s very nice.

CONTESSA BREWER: Yeah, well it is the holidays.

RATIGAN: Alright, well, today’s ‘Trend or Talker,’ unemployment, health care, a couple of wars, Americans got plenty to be frustrated about these days. Unemployment, mortgages, da, da, da. But some people say stop the whining. Time for today’s ‘Trend or Talker.’ Is ‘shut up and deal’ the new American mantra? Joining the meeting with some answers, Chrystia Freeland, Contessa Brewer. They are answer-laden, shall we say. First up, a Missouri lawmaker wants Americans to stop complaining, in fact, he’s actually presented a proposal to the House of Representatives. In it, the congressman, by the name of Emmanuel Cleaver, wants to declare the day before Thanksgiving complaint-free Wednesday. Chrystia’s already nodding. So what about the economy, foreclosures, banks, profits, stealing, taxpayers. Well, on Wednesday, Cleaver says ‘ah, put a sock in it!’ I’ll take him up on that. Worthy proposition?

BREWER: Yeah, absolutely. Here you get a two-fer. No complaints on Wednesday and Thursday gives you something to be grateful for. You’re grateful for a day where you can complain about everything.

RATIGAN: Two good days. Alright, next, the ad wars getting ugly as AT&T loses a legal battle with Verizon. AT&T wanted Verizon’s ‘there’s a map for that’ ads yanked off the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCER]: And if you want to know why some people have spotty 3G coverage, there’s a map for that, too.

RATIGAN: Well, at issue, the map showing Verizon has much wider coverage than AT&T. AT&T says they’re blatantly false. Verizon’s response don’t shoot the messenger. The map is true. Truth in advertising? Is this valid?

FREELAND: Well, I think it’s a matter of fact, right?

RATIGAN: Yeah, it is.

FREELAND: So-

RATIGAN: Shut up and deal.

BREWER: Yeah.

FREELAND: Shut up and deal. And I think the no whining day is a fabulous idea. Every mother in the country will agree with it.

RATIGAN: Will sign on.

BREWER: Good luck with that.

FREELAND: What they say in preschools, you get what you get and don’t get upset.

RATIGAN: Shut up and deal.

FREELAND: Good cultural moment.

RATIGAN: I like it, you get what you get, don’t get upset.

BREWER: You can’t say that to preschoolers though.

FREELAND: That’s what they say. No, it’s what they say It’s the mantra for preschool.

BREWER: No, but Dylan’s trying to say ‘shut up and deal,’ I don’t think-

RATIGAN: Would they bring me in if I just said ‘shut up and deal’? That wouldn’t work?

FREELAND: No, that’s not good.  

RATIGAN: No, alright. Finally, this week, a former Republican tells his former colleagues to quit complaining about the Guantanamo detainees coming to the U.S. for trial. Bob Barr, 2008 libertarian candidate for president, supports the decision to transfer the terror suspects to federal prisons. He says the GOP needs to stop scare-mongering. Barr, David Keene of the American Conservative Union, and Grover Norqist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, say prominent Republicans should stop whining and fretting over the notion that dangerous terrorists could end up on American soil. So is indeed ‘shut up and deal’ the new mantra, Contessa?

BREWER: The griping continues, it’s a talker.

RATIGAN: Can we get this into the lexicon, ‘shut up and deal’?

FREELAND: Yes we can. It is a trend and it’s related to your favorite subject, Dylan, the economy. Just as the depression generation was a lot tougher than kids of affluence like us who are whiners, maybe the recession will make us tougher.

BREWER: Who are you calling a whiner?

RATIGAN: Yeah. She’s calling me a whiner.

FREELAND: Generation X, we are, we grew up with everything.

RATIGAN: Absolutely. Guilty, guilty. I’m just whining about the massive generational theft, mind you, but otherwise, you know, I’m going to shut up and deal.

FREELAND: That’s not whining, that’s reasoned politics.

RATIGAN: That’s reasoning politics. I'm going to spend some time with Chrystia so I can figure out-

BREWER: What is okay and what’s not.

RATIGAN: Yeah, she’s good with this.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC