So I understand Keith Olbermann, the multimillionaire media egotist and ex-sportscaster who deems himself eminently qualified to comment on political affairs, whose resurrected show Countdown is an echo chamber of one-sided thought with no room for debate and no tolerance for any divergence of opinion, ended his first program on the Current TV network with some singularly unsolicited instructions (not advice, but instructions, mind you) of what exactly the President should do regarding Afghanistan.
I don’t know what the President intends to do about Afghanistan, and I won’t know until well after he’s said it. By the time he speaks this evening, I’ll be settling down for a night’s sleep in the UK; but I do know that I’m not going to attempt to second-guess, much less, instruct him as to what he should do.
I was born during Eisenhower’s first Administration. I barely remember Kennedy, and came of age during Nixon and Watergate. In all that time, I can never remember any President previously getting so much unsolicited advice from all quarters, nor can I ever remember any President receiving such hateful and spiteful gratuitous criticism and petulant behaviour from people who are supposed to be from his side of the political equation.
Before every major statement or speech, up pop various and sundry professionally Leftish talking heads, first, to tell us all what the President SHOULD say in his address; then after the speech, itself, they inhabit our screens, the very embodiment of moral and righteous consternation, to tell us why and how the President is wrong, what he should have said and, just basically, what a very bad, weak and naughty boy he has been. The boy bit is never openly stated, but it is just as much implied as if Joe Wilson, himself, had been issuing the criticism.
But then, Joe Wilson, is supposed to criticize. He’s the opposition.
From Olbermann and his crony, Michael Moore, on down, we’re presented with a series of armchair quarterbacks, who would always do a better job than this President, who know exactly what he should do and just how he should treat the most recalcitrant of Congresses, and who always end up by issuing a dire threat to the President that all-important votes will be witheld in the ensuing election, if he doesn’t abide by their advice and orders.
For the life of me, I don’t remember Bill Clinton ever receiving so much criticism masked as advice during his two terms; in fact, Olbermann, who doesn’t vote, was much too much involved with the sporting sphere during many of those years.
It strikes a special chord with me which sounds suspiciously like a dog whistle.
I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but when you’re born and bred in the South, you learn to recognise dog whistlin’, even if the tune being whistled isn’t “Dixie.”
Olbermann, in “Special Comment” mode can be seriously scary, with his big head filling the screen space and his laboured and foghorned voice excoriating whomever, usually, the President. I can imagine him a frightful bully, but a bully who leads from behind the video camera as that section of the plebeian masses who harken to his call and recognize him to be the “voice” they, for some unfathomable reason, reckon they cannot use.
I can easily imagine him the snarky, cumurdgeonly bachelor uncle who’d verbally paste a kid for traipsing mud from the playground across his antique oriental carpet. Just as easily, when he’s severely admonishing the President, I get a mental image of Marse Keith, elegantly dressed in jodpurs and with a riding crop in one hand and shaking the index finger of the other in the face of a suitably penitent President.
But what’s so infuriating to Keith (and to Miss Jane and Marse Cenk and Miss Joan and all the rest) is the fact that, damn it, this President SHOULD be awfully sorry that he hasn’t done anything they reckon he’s said he’d do but carries on doing what he thinks is best and isn’t sorry at all. In fact, on occasion, he’s been damned uppity towards them … and here’s a man, an African American, whom they put in the White House in the first place before that nice white woman who’d been First Lady – ne’mind Marse Keith had plenty to say about her, even reckoning she should be horse-whipped when she wouldn’t drop out of the primary race.
This is a minor character redux from Gone With the Wind. Seriously, it is, with Olbermann as the benevolently tyrannical Gerald O’Hara, berating his trusty foreman, Big Sam, for not following orders. In that society, Gerald O’Hara was the privileged master whose job was to tell his servant – say it, his slave – Big Sam what to do, how to do, and when to do it.
Then there was a Civil War, and Gerald O’Hara went mad and died. And Big Sam kept the business running. Maybe it’s time Olbermann either put up an actual vote, which would give him a voice, go over to the Dark Side (because he’s aiding and abetting them as it is), or just go mad and let the President keep the business running – perhaps with a bit less gratuitous criticism and a little more faith.