Ed Schultz's grasp of American history in the BB era -- Before Barack -- is tenuous at best. And when Schultz is wrong about something from that ancient realm of our past, he makes a fool out of himself.
On his radio show Friday, Schultz got on the wrong side of an argument with a better informed caller. Naturally, Schultz couldn't resist hanging up on the man and labeling him an idiot. That's when you know Schultz is 180 degrees off the mark -- he becomes dogmatic about being right. (audio after page break)
Schultz was complaining about Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho not being reprimanded by the Senate after he was charged with drunken driving over the holidays. What about Democrats like Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barney Frank getting off lightly for their misdeeds, a caller pointed out. Here's how the exchange went (audio) --
SCHULTZ: You say, it's the election, that's his restitution. I take issue with that. This man ...
CALLER: No, he's not. He's losing his license and I guarantee you, he's going to have to go through alcohol classes. That's the way it works.
SCHULTZ: OK, all right. But he is still in a position of authority, still in a position to render judgment where it has been proven that his judgment was not good. That's all I'm saying!
CALLER: Every other senator and Bill Clinton stayed in office. He was the commanding, he was the commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States ...
SCHULTZ: No, no, no, no one, well, this was, did Bill Clinton break the law? I mean, c'mon now! This, this senator, he knew that it is against the law to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel.
CALLER: I am sure Bill Clinton broke a workplace law ...
SCHULTZ: No! No! No! No! No, I don't want to talk about Cli-, I want to talk about, Clint, this is not, you brought up three examples of Democrats and I answered to that. Point in case ... (brief glitch in broadcast)
CALLER: ... bring into question your judgment.
SCHULTZ: He was impeached for that and the opposing party decided not to try him in the Senate. Correct?
CALLER: He stayed in a position of ....
SCHULTZ: No, I'm just, no, wait a minute! See, I'm putting out facts and you won't even come clean on the facts.
CALLER: I am putting out facts, Ed!
SCHULTZ: No, you're not! (crosstalk) Was, was Bill Clinton tried in the Senate, yes or no?
CALLER: He was! He still stayed in a position of authority.
SCHULTZ: No. No, no, no. (crosstalk) You don't have to get your blood pressure up, Clint, just because you're wrong on this.
CALLER: No, I'm not!
SCHULTZ: Here's the bottom line, here's the bottom line.
CALLER: You are a hypocrite and a liar.
SCHULTZ: No. Oh, I'm a liar? OK, so I guess, so I guess Bill Clinton did get tried in the Senate. OK, you're rewriting the history books which your side does a helluva job, yes you are! Yes you are! (crosstalk) He was never tried in the Senate. Thank you, Clint, you're an idiot. (hangs up on caller, gives phone-in number). The reason why I call him an idiot is because he's trying to rewrite history! Correct me if I'm wrong! Correct me if I'm wrong! Clinton wasn't tried in the Senate. He was impeached in the House and it stopped there.
Really a thing of terrible beauty, don't you think? Not only is Schultz indisputably wrong, and over the airwaves at that, he becomes bellicose in the process. For those unfamiliar with him, you've just encountered the quintessence of the man.
A suggestion for Ed, one of our more frequent readers -- Google the words "Clinton" and "Senate trial" and sift through the 33,000-plus responses you'll find. Might prove, uh, edifying.
Then again, I'd like to thank Schultz for allowing me to cite one of the great tabloid headlines of all time, as published in the New York Daily News after the Senate acquitted Clinton in that trial which allegedly never happened -- CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR.