MSNBC on Wednesday brought on Ed Schultz, a man who once decried Republicans as killers who profit off of "corpses," to lament the decreasing number of moderate, temperate voices in the U.S. Senate.
Host Chris Jansing mournfully discussed Senator Olympia Snowe's retirement and how there is "so much noise on the extremes." Schultz, who once trashed Laura Ingraham as a "right-wing slut," agreed. He said Americans need to focus on these questions: "What kind of candidate or challenger are the Republicans going put up against the [Democratic] opposition? Is it going to be somebody radical?" [See video below. See MP3 audio here.]
While bemoaning a lack of moderates, Jansing offered Barack Obama as the man to restore responsible speech. She began, "And is there something that can be done to put pressure on these politicians, via their constituents?"
Jansing highlighted Obama's (very divisive) address to the United Auto Workers. Apparently not thinking of her call for non-partisanship, she continued, "...[Obama] was fired up, and, you know, he really delivered the message."
Jansing praised Obama as this "incredibly gifted campaigner, the guy who really can make an argument." "Is there anything he can do," she wondered, to call for moderation?
Did it not occur to anyone at MSNBC that a hateful anchor who trashes his conservative opponents as "sluts" and accuses them of enjoying death might not be the person to decry a lack of moderate voices?
Additionally, perhaps a partisan Democratic president is not the best person to cite as a referee?
A partial transcript of the February 29 segment, which aired at 10:15am EST, follows:
CHRIS JANSING: Moderate Maine Senator Olympia Snowe blindsided party leaders yesterday when she announced that she will not run for re-election. Her reason? The increasingly polarized politics in Washington. Something that has frustrated President Obama as well. Well, today at noon, President Obama will host a luncheon with congressional leaders of both parties to see where they can find common ground to boost the economy and jobs. I'm joined by Ed Schultz, host of the Ed Show here on MSNBC. Always great to have you, especially since I know you were up late. Thank you for coming in.
ED SCHULTZ: Hello, Chris. Good to be here.
JANSING: Boy, Olympia Snowe has been a stinging critic of the way things are going in Congress. Let me read part of her statement. Quote, "I do find it frustrating that an atmosphere of polarization, and my way or the highway ideologies has become pervasive in our campaigns and in our governing institutions. I see a vital need for the political center in order for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us." I don't know how you can disagree with that statement, but how do you get there, Ed?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think there's a personal element here. You know, these are public servants, whether they are Republican or Democrat. They go to Washington with great ideas about how they're going to work across the aisle. But that all has changed in recent years. Yesterday on the radio show, I played a clip of Ted Kennedy that went back to 2007, asking for a raise in minimum wage on the floor and he was talked about the number of amendments that had been thrown on it. He was asking the Republicans to back off all the amendments and let's just get this one thing done. That went nowhere. That was really the beginning of the toxic attitude in Washington. And I think that it wears on the senators. I think that they go to Washington with the idea of wanting to do something good for the people, to want to make some-
JANSING: Well, that is what she said. She said, she didn't think she could get anything done, so why do it?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, they are personally vested and work long hours. They try to get things done and then there's the roadblock when it comes to, you know, "line up with us, because you are a Republican.' And the President time and time again has reached out and just has not been able to get things done. You cannot deny the record number of filibusters is what the culture that she is talking about and where she has come from, and she got sick of it. And, you know, there is people on the other side. I think that Byron Dorgan didn't publicize it, but for the same reason he got out of the Senate on the Democratic side, because he was tired or not getting people to work together and so something for the common good. I think it wears on these senators and there may be more.
JANSING: Yeah. She does join some moderate Democrats. Kent Conrad is going, and Ben Nelson is going. And I already saw it written this morning that adding her to the list there, and essentially adding her to that list there is essentially writing the obituary for moderates in what is supposed to be the world's great greatest deliberative body. Are we just to throw up the hands and say, look, there is so much noise on the extremes and pressure, and when you listen to these politicians talk, they think that they are doing the public's work? They think- They claim this is what their public wants.
SCHULTZ: Well, this is is where we are at a vital point of paying attention to all of these state conventions that are going to be taking place. What kind of candidate or challenger are the Republicans going put up against the opposition? Is it going to be somebody radical? Is it somebody that's going to stand up and say, "Hey, I want to go to Washington and I actually will work with somebody on the other side of the aisle?" Judging what the people want to hear is really going to be the dynamic here. And maybe there are no room- there is no room for moderates anymore. It would seem to me that Mitt Romney is probably more of a moderate than some of the other candidates that are in here. He is having a hard time, but it was a big win last night. If he could win in Ohio, he could turn the table quickly. I say that Ohio is a must-win for Santorum, so it all plays together here in many respects. I think the state conventions are going to be interesting to follow to see what is said, to see what the attitude is and see what kind of person different states want to send to Washington to compete.
JANSING: And is there something that can be done to put pressure on these politicians, via their constituents? You know, I was thinking as I watched the President yesterday before the UAW and he was fired up, and, you know, he really delivered the message. And I thought, this is not the guy I don't think that when they got into the race, Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum thought they would be running against. This is the incredibly gifted campaigner, the guy who really can make an argument. Is there anything that he can do?
SCHULTZ: Well, a year ago I spoke to that convention, the UAW and they are a friendly crowd. They love the President. There is not a bullet point or angle or proposal put on the table to turn labor labor away from the President at this point. So that the President went in there yesterday with a little bit of swagger, and he reminded them of exactly who was with them in the down times and who helped them get out to get to where they are right now. It is going to be awfully hard for the Republicans to come over that and they'd be better off saying, glad you have a job and let me see if I can do more instead of mouthing the process. I think Mitt Romney is making a mistake in that regard. But this is a friendly crowd, and this is a real success for the economy and the President. The President is going to meet with Republican leadership today. He's going to be able to go into that meeting an say, look, "You have stated that you want the defeat me. You've given me a record-number of filibusters and did you see the crowd that I talked to yesterday you cannot connect with them, and, oh, by the way, you are losing moderates such as Olympia Snowe."