Maddow: Conservative Governing's Odd, Like a Vegetarian Butcher

On Monday night’s edition of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, radical MSNBC/Air America talk show host Rachel Maddow rehashed the antiquated argument that since conservatives do not believe in the existence of government, they should not be allowed to run the government: "I like vegans, but it’s like letting a vegan be your butcher. If you have somebody that is really against the idea of providing you the service that you have hired them for, they are going to be bad at providing that service." (Vegans are the most ardent vegetarians, the ones that don't even consume animal products like milk or eggs.)

Typically letting his conservative disguise slip, Colbert joked that Hurricane Katrina was a Bush success, since they wanted to show "the government was able to do nothing."

Wearing the kind of thick nerdy glasses that advertise her self-described reputation as a "policy dork," Maddow was half-joking that she believes in government, that "we only have one and we should try to make it a good government," sparking this exchange:

COLBERT: Wait a second, we only have one government, sounds like the loyalists during the Revolutionary War. That’s Benedict Arnold talk.

MADDOW: I don't want there to be any Confederate states. I want the government to work well. And I think that when conservatives crusade against government while they are trying to be appointed to head the government, I think that’s weird. Why would you hire somebody who wants to abolish something, to run that thing? It's like, I mean --

COLBERT: But who better to destroy something than the guy at the wheel. Just drive --

MADDOW: That's true.

COLBERT: Drive the bus off the cliff. (Cheers and applause) I mean everybody thinks that Katrina was a massive failure. I think that was a success for the Bush administration. What they wanted was for the government to be able to do nothing in moments like that.

MADDOW: They wanted people to believe that the government can't help you even at a time of disaster.

COLBERT: Exactly. And they proved it.

MADDOW: Yeah, I think the Bush administration is essentially been like, I mean, I like vegans but it’s like hiring a vegan to be your butcher. If you have somebody that is really against the idea of providing you the service that you have hired them for, they are going to be bad at providing that service.

For this goofy analogy to work beyond the comedic realm, you would have to assume that every conservative is an anarchist who doesn’t even want a national defense. No conservative would campaign for federal office saying he wants to insure government incompetence. They might suggest there is government spending or even government agencies they would like to cut, but what about where leftists want government cut? By Maddow’s own analogy, you would never put President Obama in charge of winning the Iraq war, since he clearly doesn’t believe in it. But that’s what she’s campaigned for on MSNBC.

Colbert did keep his pseudo-conservative schtick as he asked Maddow about Keith Olbermann: "He’s crazy, right? He’s like, honestly, like dangerous, worried about him, insane? He thinks he’s a chicken." She said "I think Keith is having the time of his life." Colbert replied, "He doesn’t think he’s a chicken. He doesn’t eat bits of gravel to help him digest food, or anything like that?" She said no, "He’s kind of the king of cable right now, of cable news." Colbert replied: "I beg your pardon, madam." The crowd booed at this diss at Colbert. Maddow put on a goofy voice: "Maybe a do-over is in order." He thanked her for appearing.

(Hat tip: Melissa Lopez)

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