I'll get to the good stuff in a minute. But before I tell you just how Mark Green went about slurring VP Cheney, President Bush and religious conservatives, let me explain why he went out of his way to defame them in the most obnoxious possible manner on this evening's Hardball.
Mark Green is about to lose to Andrew Cuomo in next month's New York Democratic primary for Attorney General. The latest poll has him eating Cuomo's dust by 18 points. And that was before the final nail in his coffin - yesterday's AFL-CIO endorsement of Cuomo. Green has a history of losing. He lost to Al D'Amato for senator. He did manage to get himself elected consumer commissioner of NYC, but then lost to Bloomberg for mayor. His impending loss to Cuomo will in all likliehood mark the end of his elective political career. Any future run could put him in Harold Stassen territory.
Bottom line: Green is desperate. He's looking for something to stir the very liberal New York Dem primary electorate. That was made clear when he found a way to mention to Matthews that he is a "proud progressive Democrat" - hint, hint.
OK, enough prefacing, on to the slander.
Matthews asked Green how VP Cheney can be so impervious to his low poll numbers. Replied Green:
"He's #2, he's a bucket of warm spit," adding "said James Garner. You and I know it was FDR's Vice-President, James Garner." Actually, Mark, as long as you're parading your knowledge, it was John Nance Garner. But James Garner was great in Maverick.
Matthews instinctual reaction was to burst into laughter. Then, perhaps thinking better of it, he corrected Green: "Garner said that the job's not worth a bucket of warm spit." Green wasn't done with the Vice President. He added that, as that proud progressive Democrat, "it is sad for me that because both chambers are Republican, [Cheney] is never investigated for condoning torture . . . and for excusing lawlessness."
Green later turned his sights on President Bush, claiming that he "willfully and criminally violated the law when he wireless wiretapped."
Continued Green: "Apparently when George W. Bush took the oath to faithfully execute the laws, he took it literally." 'Execute' the laws. I get it. You're killin' me, Mark.
To further establish his left-wing bona fides, Green closed with an obligatory swipe at religious conservatives:
"42% of Americans believe in demonic possession. Just before I came on, I saw Joe Scarborough saying that five times more Americans know who the Three Stooges are than Sam Alito. So in this country, there are a big body of people who believe more in the Bible than the Constitution."
In the liberal world that Green inhabits and Matthews finds so amusing, belief in the Bible and the Constitution are apparently mutually exclusive.
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts 'Right Angle,' the award-winning public-access TV show. Contact him at email@example.com