How Can Americans Be So Smart But Maggie Rodriguez So . . .?

For someone who doesn't know something as obvious as the fact that—given her upcoming book—Gwen Ifill has a financial stake in an Obama win, Maggie Rodriguez has an awfully high opinion of the knowledge level of ordinary Americans.  Rodriguez interviewed a feisty Fred Thompson on today's Early Show.  During the course of the contentious exchange:
  • Questioning Thompson on Sarah Palin's inability to name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade with which she disagreed, Rodriguez claimed that “everybody” and “ordinary Americans” can cite Supreme Court cases.
  • When Thompson stated that Palin would be dealing tonight with a moderator with a financial interest in an Obama win, Rodriguez retorted “I don’t know about that.”

View video here.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ:  I’d like to ask you first about that clip that we just saw from the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin . Is it acceptable that she could not name a single Supreme Court ruling other than Roe v. Wade?

FRED THOMPSON:  You know, I think you got the answer there of probably almost 100% of non-lawyer candidates, if they had not been given a list of cases, to say they might ask you about this one, they might  ask you about that one.

RODRIGUEZ:  But everybody knows other Supreme Court rulings.

THOMPSON:  No they don’t.

RODRIGUEZ:  Ordinary Americans would know Supreme Court rulings.

THOMPSON:   Some do and some don’t.

And a bit later.

FRED THOMPSON:  Then she comes here and finds that the moderator apparently has got a financial interest in Barack Obama being elected president. So if I were in her shoes, I would come in --
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Well I don't know about that. We'll let Gwen Ifill answer that for herself. But right now, we have to leave it there.

THOMPSON: Does she not have a book coming out on Obama?
RODRIGUEZ:  We have to leave it there.
THOMPSON: Do you not think that there'll be more book sales if Obama's president?

RODRIGUEZ:  I think Sarah Palin’s performance will speak for itself tonight and that's all the time we have.

Let's first examine Rodriguez's claim to ignorance of the Ifill financial interest in an Obama victory.  Ifill's book is entitled "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race In the Age of Obama."  And it's scheduled to be released on . . . Inauguration Day.  If Obama loses, there is no ultimate breakthrough or Age of Obama.  So it's right to the remainder rack for Ifill's book.  But an Obama win means sales and a big leg up for Ifill with friendly sources in the Obama administration.

As to Rodriguez's assertion that "everybody" and "ordinary Americans" can cite Supreme Court cases, let's note that the CBS host mischaracterized Couric's question to Palin.  It wasn't "can you name any Supreme Court case other than Roe?"  It was "what other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?"  It would take a mighty biased MSMer, seeking to pounce on Palin, to claim "everybody" could answer such a question.  Oh, wait . . .

Note: Something's occurred to me. Rodriguez claims to know what's in the mind of every American . . . with one exception: Gwen Ifill.  Isn't that convenient?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.