MSNBC's New Star: Dems Have Never Fought the Culture War

Brand-new prime-time MSNBC star Rachel Maddow told the San Francisco Chronicle last week that while Republicans wanted gay people steam-rollered "out of the country," she thought the Democrats were worthless and weak. "I don’t think the Democrats have ever fought the culture war."

Chronicle media writer Joe Garofoli interviewed Maddow for a podcast from the Republican convention in St. Paul last Thursday. Maddow said Sarah Palin’s Wednesday night speech seemed drawn from Pat Buchanan’s 1992 address in Houston. Garofoli nudged the self-described lesbian into repeating her line "I was 19 and I felt my country was declaring war on me."

When asked the difference in the cultural battles between then and now, she replied: "At the time, I think the ascendant right wing was really looking to change America by steamrolling out of the country people they felt like were anathema to their idea of American values. Now I think there is a more self-conscious idea that they’re saying they want to do that, so as to create a divide in the electorate they can exploit for political gain."

When the subject turned to the Democrats, she pounced:

I don’t think the Democrats have ever fought the culture war....Whether it was 2004, with the anti-gay-marriage initiatives, whether it was 1992, with the rhetoric and the aggression we saw there, whether it was standing up for abortion rights, the Democratic Party has been sort of an ally, a here-and-there ally to progressive causes. But they havent led the charge. I mean, when have the Democrat led on cultural issues? Right now, the Democratic nominee for president, Barack Obama’s against same-sex marriage.

Garofoli changed her tone slightly when he suggested "He and McCain have very similar positions." She protested that:  

McCain’s, honestly, is much worse. McCain says that he thinks that gay people should be allowed to enter into legal arrangements, legal arrangements that reflect their relationship status. McCain’s is essentially saying that he believes gay people should not be excluded from American contract law? Well, thanks! We didn’t know that was an option, that you might want to exclude us from that. Really? That’s your big, that’s your big olive branch? That, you think that, what, we should be able to drive and own pets, too? Obama and Democrats have generally been nicer about it, but they haven’t been leaders. They haven’t even been leaders of the defense. They’ve just been trying to stay out of it. And I still see them doing that this year.

Later on, she claimed there were no sexist questions being asked of Sarah Palin – apparently, none of them had anything to do with her pregnant daughter Bristol or whether she could be vice-president and raise her son with Down syndrome. In a nod to her radical-left Air America base, Maddow also fretted about the "militarization" of big-city police massed against protesters since the riots in Seattle at the end of 1999.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis