MSNBC Looks to Lefty Ed Schultz for Reaction on Obama's 'Brilliant' Firing of McChrystal

Only 70 minutes after Barack Obama explained his decision to fire General Stanley McChrystal, Wednesday, MSNBC turned to leftist host Ed Schultz for analysis. Schultz gushed that the decision proved that the President is "brilliant on the basics." He enthused, "Well, as commander in chief, I think it's probably President Obama's finest hour," because it displayed toughness.

Host Tamron Hall knocked McChrystal, referencing his role in the investigation of Army Ranger Pat Tillman's death. She derided, "So, we know that McChrystal has a lot of, if you will, Xs on his report card."

Hall and Schultz continued to frame the discussion from how it impacted the left. She worried, "For those on the left and progressives who are not happy with this war this Afghanistan who were disappointed when the President decided to commit more troops, what does that say that he's emphasizing that this is not about policy, that he's committed to the direction he's chosen with this unpopular war?"

Later in the hour, Hall brought on Ryan Grimm of the liberal Huffington Post to discuss McChrystal. MSNBC apparently spans the spectrum of the left and the far left.

A transcript of the June 23 segment, which aired at 2:22pm, follows:

TAMRON HALL: We're getting more reaction to the breaking news that top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal has been relieved of his command. He's said to be replaced by General David Petraeus. Let's bring in MSNBC's Ed Schultz, the host of the Ed Show to react to it. Ed, I know you're listening to a lot of callers on your radio show. You've got thoughts on this. What do you make of the President's decision and what are the callers saying?

ED SCHULTZ: Well, as commander in chief, I think it's probably President Obama's finest hour, because he's answering a lot of critics with about how you wasn't tough enough or couldn't make a decision. Didn't have any experience. This man went back to the basics. The President showed us that he's brilliant on the basics. It's about team. It's about the civilian control, it's about the democracy and how we work. And we're not going to have anybody in a position of leadership and authority to go off and do what President- do what General McChrystal did. So I think the President was very clear and I personally got a sense in watching the President today that, you know, it just wasn't the Rolling Stone article. It's like there was other stuff there. That there's a lot of stuff-

HALL: Well, we know what happened last fall in London with the remarks made there. Also, the Pat Tillman investigation and what it has revealed, as well. So, we know that McChrystal has a lot of, if you will, Xs on his report card.

SCHULTZ: True. And- But even beyond those as we know publicly there's somewhat of a pattern there, I just got a sense that there was a little bit more and the President had somewhat of an angst about him. You know, I've had enough of this. He actually went back and paralleled a quote of President Truman about, you know, it's not one person, not one war, something like that. But the President went to the basics: Trust, loyalty, the conduct code, deep rooted with the privates. All the way through, the discipline. You lose the discipline, you lose the break down of completing the mission and you compromise the mission. And now of course the story is General Petraeus, who I think, ironically, is probably going to get more bipartisan support than anything else in Washington.

HALL: [Laughs] And you very well may be right on that as he's been praised by Republicans many times over and some Democrats. But, let me ask you this: People talked about and have talked about the President's response to the oil disaster. The critics say he's shown weakness. His numbers show that most Americans are not confidence in the way he's handled this. Where does this position him now? I know there are two very different issue, but it is about leadership with both.

SCHULTZ: Well, I think the President personally did show leadership in the gulf from day one. He's dealing with a multinational. There were contracts in it place that had to be adhered to when there is an oil spill and certain mechanisms had to kick in. No one predicted early on what this was going to evolve to.

HALL: right.

SCHULTZ: The administration was lied to by BP. First they said there wasn't that much coming out and it grew as the days went on. And I thought the proper reaction was there by the President. So, I think he's being wrongly criticized for it. The President goes out and gets $20 billion from a company that's butchering our environment and the Republicans are criticizing him for it. I find it absolutely amazing. It just goes to show how divided we are in this country.

HALL: And let me bring up something the President said regarding the transition from McChrystal to Petraeus. He said, "This has nothing to do with policy, nothing to do with personal insult." For those on the left and progressives who are not happy with this war this Afghanistan who were disappointed when the President decided to commit more troops, what does that say that he's emphasizing that this is not about policy, that he's committed to the direction he's chosen with this unpopular war?

SCHULTZ: The President wants a successful mission. He's going to get the right people in the right place to finish the job. And I'm sure that he probably turned to General Petraeus and said this is what the mission is, can you get it done. Petraeus went along with it, obviously. It's about team, it's about working together. The President was very clear that he encourages debate, but he does not want division. And you certainly don't go out and air dirty laundry. Now, your question about the left. There are a lot of Americans out there who believe that this mission is a fool's errand in Afghanistan. We've got a lot of issues at home, we're gutting our infrastructure. But the President, to me, seemed very committed today to knowing that this is the strategy that we have to follow in his best judgment to make sure that we fight the terrorists on their turf. And so I thought the President was very clear on where he's going on this.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org