At Fort Hood this morning, Barack Obama honored the 13 soldiers slaughtered last week. As part of his speech, he paid oblique deference to what the mainstream liberal press is trying mightily to make the dominant narrative of this tragedy when he called it “incomprehensible.” A high falutin response would be to quote Einstein’s famous rejoinder to people who lazily hide from complex and possibly disturbing explanations: “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it’s comprehensible.” A more quotidian rejoinder would be to tell the President that the cat’s out of the bag on this one: the reasons for this mass murder—the presence of jihadism on American soil—are becoming more comprehensible not only with each passing day, but with each passing hour.
But whether or not the President’s emollient words were sufficient unto the need on this moment of grieving, there is no doubt that the memorial for the murdered soldiers and his appearance at Fort Hood was the leading story of the day. But not for Keith Olbermann, who clearly walks at a 45% angle to reality. For him, the big story was… Bill Clinton’s little pep rally in behalf of Obamacare to the Senate Democrats.
Why feature this quintessential non story? Partly because Olbermann is boxed in on the Nidal Hassan story: no place to go but more fatuous rationalizations about how the assassin’s disoriented life here in the heart of the American darkness caused his malaise. But even more because it allowed Olbermann to fulfill his role as bum boy to the Obama administration and help move the health care story down the field. So he told us that the former President had tried to re-insert the economic rationale for health care—it will rescue the economy—into the ever evolving narrative (a dimension that Obama, in his erratic efforts to explain his bad medicine seems to have allowed to get lost in the shuffle.) Clinton emphasized pragmatism at a time when the Democrats are starting to spin off in radical directions in the political centrifuge, threatening to make paid abortions, government takeovers, etc. breaking points for the legislation.
“We need to win no matter how you define winning,”
he was quoted as saying.
In his second segment on Clinton and the Dems, Olbermann turned for support to Lawrence O’Donnell, who usually functions reliably as his Ed McMahon. But O’Donnell forgot his lines. He said that in fact Clinton had the Senators “rolling their eyes” because they remembered how the newly minted advocate of the art of the possible had been an advocate of no passaran back in 1994, when he refused to compromise on his own legislation. He said further that Clinton had no constituency in the Senate and changed no minds by his appearance. At the end, Olbermann weakly agreed with O’Donnell that Clinton’s only utility had been in providing a “public momentum moment” to get health care on the front burner again where it had been displaced by an act of treachery by a home grown terrorist.
And so, on a day of national mourning and anger over the presence of enemies within, Keith Olbermann tries to change the subject by focusing on a failed president whose authenticity as a health care spokesman is, at bare minimum, ambiguated by a life-threatening self indulgence for cheeseburgers and a career defining spasm on a blue Gap dress. To paraphrase Olbermann’s old ESPN buddy Dan Patrick, you can’t really stop this sort of inanity, you can only hope to contain it.