Like many dim-witted but well-dressed people, MSNBC host Martin Bashir fancies himself a rather intelligent chap. He’s also got a penchant for making outrageous comparisons of people that he hates to historical figures that everyone else abhors.
The low-rated British import displayed his talent for extreme analogies on his program Wednesday evening as he seriously compared Republican senator Ted Cruz to David Koresh, a cult leader who thought he was the reincarnation of Jesus.
Bashir made his remarks in a discussion with economics writer Josh Barro, BuzzFeed reporter McKay Coppins, and Krystal Ball, co-host of “The Cycle.” As is typical of MSNBC, none of the guests was present to disagree with the host as he launched into a tirade against Cruz and the group of congressional Republicans who pushed for a partial government shutdown in order to block certain aspects of President Obama’s signature healthcare law.
After gleefully celebrating what he believed to be a complete failure of the conservatives’ strategy—the entire discussion was illustrated with a small graphic of Cruz’s face inside a lifesaver ring and the words “Cruzship Disaster”—Bashir then decided to play armchair psychiatrist as he asked the left-leaning Coppins whether or not he agreed that the Texas senator was similar to a suicidal cult leader:
“McKay, do you think Ted Cruz is a bit like the David Koresh of the Republican Party?” Bashir wondered. “He’s a bit like a character who believes himself to be anointed, believes himself to be a prophet, ignores everything, and torches the place in the process.”
Instead of answering, Coppins demurred a bit and gently (so as not to jeopardize future TV appearances) chided the MSNBC host for his comparison.
But Bashir, who was outraged just a few months ago when the NRA compared a gun registry law with Nazi Germany, insisted on his absurd analogy. “Is he the David Koresh of the Republican Party?” he repeated.
While the Koresh comparison is certainly offensive and absurd (and also historically wrong since Koresh and his followers in their standoff with the FBI did not start the fire which killed them), this sort of extreme rhetoric is very much in character for Bashir. Why it’s almost like he’s deliberately trying to come up with the most rabid analogies imaginable in the hopes that the few mentally disturbed viewers he still has will continue watching. Here’s a very short list of ridiculous pronouncements we’ve chronicled Bashir making in recent months:
The full transcript of the relevant portion of the October 16 edition of the Martin Bashir show follows. Hat tip: Noath Rothman.
JOSH BARRO: And he [Cruz] has been talking about this like there was some rousing success. He said months ago nobody said we could do this. Months ago, everybody was saying he couldn't stop Obamacare and he couldn't stop Obamacare. I don't think they were saying he couldn't cause an enormous political catastrophe for his party. That he has proved he can to.
MARTIN BASHIR: McKay, do you think Ted Cruz is a bit like the David Koresh of the Republican Party? He's a bit like a character who believes himself to be anointed, believes himself to be a prophet, ignores everything, and torches the place in the process.
MCKAY COPPINS: You always come to me with these excellent comparisons that get me in trouble with Republican sources. No, I think, look, you know, Ted Cruz --
BASHIR: Is he the David Koresh of the Republican Party?
COPPINS: There are two lines of thinking. One is that he truly believes that he is -- you know, the savior of the Republican Party.
BASHIR: So he does believe that.
COPPINS: There's the other line of thinking that this was purely cynical. That he knew from the start he was never going to defund Obamacare, but that this would put him, you know, in a great position for 2016 to run for president.
COPPINS: It's unclear which of those is true. I tend to lean toward the latter. I think most politicians like that generally are setting themselves up. But the question is next time he stages, you know, a stunt like this, will the House conservative caucus, will the Tea Party caucus, follow him the same way that
-- they did this time? Because I'm hearing from a lot of republicans that even among the tea party set, that are feeling pretty burned.