Heritage's Ernest Istook Again Runs Circles Around Exasperated Ed Schultz

Don't expect Ed Schultz to invite Ernest Istook back on his MSNBC show any time soon.

As was the case back in November, the former congressman and distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation deftly engaged a hapless Schultz, to the point that Schultz this past Wednesday actually apologized to his audience because "this was not the way this interview was supposed to go." And Schultz had it all mapped out!

Keeping tabs on left-wing media usually provides all the appeal of a re-education camp, but the slog does have its moments. This was one of them, from "The Ed Show" on March 24. A transcript of the exchange follows, interspersed with snarky commentary in italics, along with a video clip below the fold -- 

SCHULTZ: Ernie, what's happening with the right wing in this country, the conservatives in this country, the over-the-top rhetoric, the acts of vandalism. How do you address that?

ISTOOK: Well, first of all, I condemn any sort of vandalism or violent rhetoric. But let's remember that it happens on both sides. Wasn't it just last month, Ed, that you said that they ought to rip out the heart of Dick Cheney? You know, did you want people to condemn you for that?

SCHULTZ: And get him the best health care in the country. He should become the poster child (... before dying a richly deserved premature death) ...

ISTOOK: Yeah, yeah ...

 

SCHULTZ: Now wait a minute now, now don't ...

ISTOOK: But it's that kind of rhetoric, Ed. It comes from both sides is my point. 

SCHULTZ: No, no, no. No, that's not rhetoric (... nor did I use words when I said it) and the fact is, is that that was said on a radio talk show and that not, doesn't excuse it (In other words, beyond the pale), but the fact is I said we want a successful conclusion for the vice president because we want him to become the poster child, everybody in the country should have the same health care as Dick Cheney, because most people ...

 ISTOOK: But rip his heart out, Ed?

SCHULTZ: Wait a minute, and stuff it back in him and make sure that he survives and has the best health care. And, you know, this is what happens in America, making a joke and ...

ISTOOK: My point is just that it happens on both sides, Ed.

SCHULTZ: No, it doesn't happen on both sides because I haven't cut anybody's fuel lines, Ernest. You know that, OK ...

ISTOOK: Well, Ted Kaczynski, the Unambomber, murdered people. He was an environmental extremist. That came from the left. It does happen on both sides.

SCHULTZ: You know, it's not happening on both sides at this level and you know it's not. You know that there are ...

ISTOOK: I've received death threats. I had a man go to prison for threatening to kill me and dismember me.

SCHULTZ: OK, all right (Realizing he's overmatched, flop sweat setting in). So the tea partiers are just, it's normal operation procedure, correct, Ernie? I mean, is that what your answer is?

ISTOOK:  No, I said ...

SCHULTZ (fingers pointing): You see, you're the problem, Ernest! Ernest, you are the problem! (It was you who cut that man's fuel lines!) You can't, Ernest, you can't point the finger at the culprit in any of this (Neither can anyone else, but who cares?). That's the problem, right there. 

ISTOOK: Those were the first words out of my mouth to condemn that.

SCHULTZ: Oh yeah, and then of course attack, saying it happens on both sides when it doesn't. It's not happening on both sides ...

ISTOOK: Ed, I just gave you examples where it does.

SCHULTZ: Democrats are not, Ernest, tell me, tell me a Democrat ...

ISTOOK: I did not get my threats from the right, I got them from the left. They threatened to kill me.

SCHULTZ: Tell me a Democrat who's thrown a brick through a window, who has also recently threatened families and also left messages about how you're gonna die. Tell me who those people are on the left right now? (... and I'll keep searching for conservatives guilty of these things).

ISTOOK: Like I said, Ed, a man went to prison for threatening to kill me because I would not vote to legalize marijuana. That wasn't coming from the right.

SCHULTZ: OK.

ISTOOK: That was coming from the left.

SCHULTZ: All right, so I guess you're condemning, you're condoning it then (Condemn, condon, whatever). Laura Flanders (Schultz's other guest), your thoughts on what should ...

ISTOOK: I just said I condemn it on both sides.

SCHULTZ: It doesn't mean anything, Ernest! You lose your credibility when you say it's both sides ...

ISTOOK: For being even-handed? (Istook right hook connects with Schultz glass chin)

SCHULTZ: ... for not condemning it the way it is right now (... the way everyone does at MSNBC staff meetings). I mean, you will not tell Boehner to come out and absolutely condemn this, call on the leadership ...

ISTOOK: Read Politico, Boehner already condemning that.

SCHULTZ: I don't have to read anything, I've got my own show, Ernest (What's the point of reading when you're a cable legend?). I'm sorry, I have to apologize to my audience tonight. This was not the way this interview was supposed to go (Why can't conservatives ever say what you want them to say?!). But you know, this is how the righties operate (With logic and specific examples -- these people are ruthless). You know, they can't even give good commentary without attacking (Using my own words against me -- the scoundrels!).  

Still rattled from the exchange more than a day later, Schultz said this on his radio show Friday (click here for audio) --

I'm really getting to the point where I don't want any conservatives on 'The Ed Show' on MSNBC because they all lie.

Even worse, they blow my cover as a buffoon.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts