Thursday, October 1, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, October 1, 2009
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons
The toss: Hamptons

Guests: Howard Fineman, Lawrence O'Donnell, Richard Wolffe, Craig Crawford


KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Mad Max and the Baucus caucus prepare their final stages of their betrayal. The finance committee will finish debate imminently but not vote until next week to give Republicans time to study the bill. Why don't you give them all free trips to timeshares, too, Max?

The truth of Democratic sellouts to the health care industries is not enough for Michele Bachmann. She is back to telling the lies God told her to tell.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Now, the federal government is going the final step, and they're saying, "Let's put sex clinics in our schools." Can you believe this?


OLBERMANN: Well you said it. Of course, I can't believe this.

Republicans for the public option, including Dr. Charles Boustany who gave the rebuttal to the president's message to Congress, the public option for flood insurance. Socialism that helps people: bad. Socialism that helps property: good.

Bestseller: Sarah Palin is a winner at bookstores. One problem, her co-author, her last project is defending the general who said his god was a bigger than a Muslim's god and another in which she called the Democrats the "party of treason and subversion."

Newt Gingrich takes back two of his Entrepreneur of the Year awards after he realizes he has given them to a Dallas strip club and a California porn megastore.

And you'll never believe who just drew the birthers and "Lonesome Roads" Beck under the same bus.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: I want to talk to you tonight about Copenhagen.

"Warning: This product may be cancerous." May be cancerous.


OLBERMANN: See, he was holding up a tin of Copenhagen's snuff and Obama went to the city of Copenhagen. So that comparison was, you know, intellectual.

The birthers are, quote, "crazy," and Beck is a, quote, "cynic," and a nation made great by believers - so says Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Only in America can you make that much money crying.



OLBERMANN: That's Czar Lindsey Graham to you.

All that and more now on Countdown.


BECK: When will it end? Help (ph)!



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

The Senate Finance Committee chaired by Democrats, populated with a majority consisting of Democrats, has not only drafted a bill that carefully improves the conditions of the insurance monopolies, but as tonight, added that little touch of medieval punishment so familiar to the customers of the insurance monopolies.

In our fifth story: The finance committee debating not merely making buying insurance mandatory under threat of a fine, but making it mandatory under threat of criminal penalties by their health insurance unregulated at their prices or go to jail courtesy Max Baucus. To paraphrase my grandmothers, I suppose I have no choice but to let you jam the umbrella off my backside, Senator Baucus. But you are going to have a fight on your hands when you try to open it.

The Senate Finance Committee tonight passing a token amendment by Senator Cantwell of Washington that would enable states to form their own public options - maybe - but it would be limited to people with incomes between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level who do not get insurance at work.

Chairman Baucus is claiming to have the votes to move the whole bill out of committee when it comes to a vote possibly sometime next week.

Senate Majority Leader Reid still to decide whether to include a real

public option in the final legislation, stating today he favors a public

option, that he's going to do his very best to have a public option, but to

remember a public option is a relative term - as is the phrase, chance of


No similar uncertainly in the House where Speaker Pelosi has said a public plan will be in the final bill that goes to floor and where Minority Leader Boehner today proved he knows next to nothing about anything.


REP. JOHH BOEHNER (R), MINORITY LEADER: I'm still trying to find the first American to talk to who's in favor of the public option, other than a member of Congress or the administration. I have not talked to one. And I get to a lot of places. And I have not had anyone come up to me - I know I'm inviting it. But I haven't had anyone came to me and lobby for the public option. This is about as unpopular as a garlic milk shake.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Boehner needs to get out of the tanning talon more often.

A recent poll from the folk at Quinnipiac University shows that voters in Boehner's own state - that's Ohio, sir, in case you've forgotten - support the idea of giving Americans the option of buying health insurance in either a government-run plan or from private insurers. That's what's called an option.

And in the latest NBC News poll, when respondents nationwide were asked how important they feel it was to give people a choice of both a public plan and a private plan, 73 percent of those surveyed considered that choice important.

And there's this postscript, quote, "A member of Congress walked in and was generally walked right back into a physician's office. We're not there to put on band-aids. We were there to make sure that everything possible could be done to preserve that member of the Congress." That quote from a former staff position of what is called the Office of the Attending Physician to NBC News.

Those who continue to threaten the first real chance of health care reform it turns out as something that came to a high-tech, low cost modern community hospital on site at the Capitol, examinations including X-rays and lab work, physical therapists, nurses and a pharmacy, as well as access to the best specialists in the county who are brought to the Capitol and the cost to the congressmen and senators each year 503 bucks, not that any members who hadn't paid got turned away.

Lots to talk about tonight with Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent from "Newsweek" magazine.

Howard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: So, any Americans who might end up in jail because they didn't buy private insurance under the Baucus bill should it become law, would - I suppose they would then get public health care in jail. Does that make them the only Americans under this plan who would get free public health care or even subsidized public health care?

FINEMAN: Yes, Keith. And they would get all the garlic milk shakes they could drink.


FINEMAN: I think it's - it's - the thing about the care that they get on the Hill - it's interesting - it's the result of competition. It's the result of choice, which is the keyword in that - in those polls you were just showing.

OLBERMANN: I don't suppose it needed pointing out that this idea that you could make - instead of just making it a fine, you'll get actual jail time, even nominal jail time, that that has been lobbied for by the health care industry in this whole process, correct?

FINEMAN: Well, yes. And, Keith, the amazing thing here is that if this goes according to the Baucus plan, as it now stands, the federal government will require and force the health insurance companies to get tens of millions of new customers, and the pharmaceutical companies to get a lot more business, in exchange for some federal regulation, let's say that, because there isn't - technically isn't any right now, but not the one thing that they fear which is competition. It won't be required really by restructuring the way markets in many cities and regions work where there's very little private competition and, of course, it won't require the public plan, the public option, which would be the other main way to force competition.

So, the way things are going right now, the industry gets just about everything it wants with minimal pain. That's basically what the Baucus plan is.

OLBERMANN: But this - one aspect to this, Howard, how does any lawmaker in his right mind believe that they'd get my kind of public support for a provision that puts people in jail for not buying slightly regulated and still not.


OLBERMANN: . financially regulated in terms of how much you're getting back. You know what we're talking about here.

FINEMAN: Yes. Yes.

OLBERMANN: How are you going to - how are you going to sell this and how is there going to be a signing ceremony? Isn't it just going to be - wouldn't the president of the United States basically have to write it down and then run to avoid citizens who had voted for him?

FINEMAN: Well, I talked to a couple of members this evening about this, and they - and they were shaking their heads because - unless it's a Machiavellian plot to further raise the visibility of the birthers and the tea baggers - because it plays right into the argument and it's resonated some out into there in the country - into the argument of people who are saying that this is a massive government plot to take over your whole life.

I mean, if you were going to try to feed that paranoia among people who oppose this, there's no better way to do it than this. It's crazy.

OLBERMANN: Who brought this up? Who was the idiot who brought this up? Do you know?

FINEMAN: I wish - I wish I knew the answer, and I - I'll put it on the Internet as soon as I figure it out.

OLBERMANN: All right. Send me an e-mail.

The Cantwell - we know the state public option idea is from Senator Cantwell of Washington state. Is it window dressing? Is there something to it? It seems awfully qualified and caveated to death.

FINEMAN: Well, I think qualified and caveated to death is what a public option is going to be in the end. I think there'll be some whiff of public option, you know, some seasoning of public option, you know, a garlic smell of public option in the final legislation if it's going to pass. Because it won't - whatever comes out of conference, if something comes out of conference, won't pass the House of Representatives on final passage unless there's some nod in the direction of a public option. And the Cantwell proposal is one of the first ever to try to get to that. It will be some murky language like that. Otherwise, they won't pass anything.

OLBERMANN: It's beginning to look like a vial of option.

Our own Howard Fineman of "Newsweek" magazine, and if this passes I will leave the tea baggers. Great thanks, Howard.

FINEMAN: OK. Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: And the latest big lie from the GOP regarding what is in the rest of that health care bill would be amusing if it were not so insidious. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann knows how to apply a new and false label to anything and to ignore both facts and logic to back it up. Speaking from the House floor last night, she focused on one of the House health care bills and a section in it providing for school-based health clinics.

Remember, a key element in fearmongering in any generation is effective name-calling.


BACHMANN: These have been more accurately called school sex clinics.



After that sleight of hand, Bachmann routinely referred to the health clinics as sex clinics. Now for the rest of her spiel.


BACHMANN: The bill orders that these clinics protect patient privacy and student records. What does that mean? It means that parents will never know what kind of counsel and treatment that their children are receiving. And as a matter of fact, the bill goes on to say what's going to go on - comprehensive primary health services, physicals, treatment of minor, accuse chronic medical conditions, referrals to follow-up for specialty cares. Is that abortion?

Does that mean that someone's 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local planned parenthood abortion clinic, have her abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night, mom and dad are never the wiser. They don't know any different.


OLBERMANN: I got a word "sex" mixed up with Michele Bachmann in my mind.

Meantime, in a very subsection of the very bill in which Bachmann - of which Bachmann speaks, there is this: "SBHC, school based health clinics, often known as health clinics, will be provided in accordance with federal state and local laws governing: one, obtaining parental or guardian consent, and two, patient privacy and student records."

Bachmann chose to focus on the patient privacy language while ignoring the parental consent mandate language.

Let's turn now to former chief of staff of the Senate Finance Committee, "Huffington Post" contributor, Lawrence O'Donnell.

Good evening, Lawrence.


OLBERMANN: End-of-life counseling, which you can bill your doctor for if he joins you and your relatives became death panels, and school-based health clinics with mandatory parental information becomes sex clinics?

O'DONNELL: Well, according to Michele's definition, the House clinic that you were talking about earlier would be the congressional sex clinic, where she and other female members of Congress can go and get abortions in the afternoon and then - as she put it - be home for dinner with no one knowing the difference. That was her, she went on imaging what it would be like for these school kids to go and get abortions and come home from school and the parents don't know it. So, yes, she's - she's really off the deep end once again?

OLBERMANN: Why is she bothering to go off the deep end when Democrats in the Senate are doing such a good job for her, as we discussed here. The nearest we've been able to narrow down who brought up this idea of putting people in jail for not buying this worst health care plan than we have currently is that it came somewhere in the markup from the "gang of six." So, that could be any one of those turkeys.

O'DONNELL: Well, you know, in '94, when senator - I was working for Senator Moynihan, the chairman then, moving the health care bill in the finance committee, at the last minute, he came up with a strategic motion that he shared only with me, that why don't we put a death panel in it and then we'll get Republican votes.


O'DONNELL: So, it could have been a misguided attempt to get the law and order vote on the Senate Finance Committee. But that's not going to - that won't see the light of day. What is true though is that.

OLBERMANN: Was the death penalty won't see the light of day or the jail time won't - I don't know anymore.

O'DONNELL: The jail thing is not going to make it. But what this - it all grows out of the problem with the individual mandate, and the history of individual mandate is it was raised by Republican John Chafee in 1994, condemned by Hillary Clinton as the worst possible thing that we could do. Then when Hillary Clinton was running for president, she was in favor of an individual mandate. Her health plan was ripened by John Chafee's former staffer.

So this individual mandate has traveled a long road from Republicanism now over to the Democratic Party. It has horrible enforcement implications that - it's on your tax return, it's enforced through the tax code. So, if you don't pay it, you are up for tax evasion here, which does, theoretically, not in cases like this, carry a jail term.

So, the individual mandate carries a lot of serious problems in enforcement terms with it.

OLBERMANN: So, if the Democrats have moved into that end of the twilight zone, clearly that has pushed the Republicans even further back in the Hatch business to pass on abortion amendment yesterday, onerous, unnecessary, but it does sort of signal their hand for the next round of this. They're going to go further, right? They're going do wind up.

O'DONNELL: Absolutely.

OLBERMANN: . repealing the idea of insurance to begin with where you just - now we're just going to pay the insurance companies money and they won't have to provide any coverage at all?

O'DONNELL: Well, they're going to come back on abortion. That's not over. And by the way, for me, I was in the room yesterday when they voted on that. It was a particular pleasure for me because when I was in the finance committee, there were no women on the committee. And to see not just the women on the Democratic side, but also Olympia Snowe, adding their votes against this Hatch amendment, which was unnecessary.

They're going to come on taxes, Keith. That's - the next level is taxes. And the truth is, there are a lot of taxes in this bill. There are new taxes that no one has ever seen before and that were not part of the Obama presidential campaign about how to pay for this. Taxes is the weak spot.

As long as Michelle Obama is out there giving video like that, the tax argument isn't being heard. So Michele Bachmann - Michele Bachmann is helping by drowning out the tax argument that's going on in the Senate Finance Committee right now.

OLBERMANN: We have canceled the October recess. So, there's no second round of town halls at least with Democratic congressmen and senators present. It's left with throwing as many wrenches into the work as possible. What is the most they can get within the framework of not having the wild-eyed protesters out here?

O'DONNELL: The most they can get in the end is killing the bill completely.


O'DONNELL: They did it before. Now when I look at Boehner, I have to say, boy.


O'DONNELL: . I wish - I wish we had been up against him in '94, we were up against Newt Gingrich, we were up against Bob Dole, Bob Packwood. These were very sharp players who knew exactly what the policy was in these bills. And they came at us on the policy that was in the bill. That's how they won.

This time around, these people are lost.


O'DONNELL: Between Boehner and Michele Bachmann, they have no idea what to say about this.

OLBERMANN: Well, you know why he gets that fake tan, right? Because otherwise he'd be so transparent that you could see right through him and you see the board behind him. You don't have to say it. I just did.

Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC and "Huffington Post" - good to see you, sir.

O'DONNELL: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Buy this unimproved, overpriced, rigged insurance policy or go to jail. This is the end game of what began with single-payer and the public option, and yet, tonight, there is a glimmer of hope, evidence of bipartisan support for a form of insurance with a public option. That's right - Republicans pro-public insurance option. Of course, the insurance is not for the flood of bills you will get from your hardworking health professionals, but for floods.


OLBERMANN: The Republicans try to sink the public option, the Democrats ran for higher ground when the going got tough and the insurance companies threaten to stop donating to their campaigns. But both sides were delighted by a public option to protect the insurance industry against too many claims on policies for floods.

And Newt Gingrich changed his course after he names two of his Entrepreneurs of the Year: a Dallas strip club and a California porn superstore. How did he get out of the embarrassment of having to appear to ceremony with these businesspeople? He pulled out - ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: The Republicans who oppose health care reform and the conservative Democrats who oppose a public option have deeply principled, philosophical objections to the concept of government insurance - except when insurance companies benefit from it, as you'll see in our fourth story tonight.

The big arguments against the public option have been these: that the government is incapable of running an insurance plan, that the free-market provides consumers with better choices, that socialized insurance will have unfair advantages. But as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David K. Johnston recently reported, these arguments do not stop some of the big opponents of socialized insurance for voting for socialized insurance when that insurance is not for the wellbeing of people but of property and insurance companies.

After the president gave his national speech for health care reform, Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany gave the Republican Party rebuttal targeting the public option, which Boustany calls "government-run health care."


REP. CHARLES BOUSTANY (R), LOUISIANA: It's clear the American people want health care reform, but they want their elected leaders to get it right. Most Americans wanted to hear the president tell Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the rest of the Congress that it's time to start over on a common sense, bipartisan plan, focused on lowering the cost of health care while improving quality. That's what I've heard over the past several months in talking to thousands of my constituents. Replacing your family's current health care with government-run health care is not the answer. In fact, it will make health care much more expensive.


OLBERMANN: Some blue dog House Democrats led by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin also oppose a public option. And when the Senate Finance Committee voted against including the option in its version of health care reform, Republicans were joined by a handful of Democrats including the committee chair, Max Baucus, who crafted the bill after conferring for weeks with the so-called "gang of six": fellow Democrats Jeff Bingaman and Kent Conrad, Republicans Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe. The entire gang of six votes - casts their votes against the public option on Tuesday.

But each of them voted just last year in support of government-run insurance, that insurance however protects property. It is the National Flood Insurance Program created in 1968, because the free market decided it could not make money on that unpredictable risk called flooding. Government-run flood insurance is sold through private insurance companies but it is backed by the government and the government assumes all risk. Unlike the public option which relies on customer premiums, government flood insurance gets a subsidy - also known as a handout - from the government and it is mandatory for some people.

So given all the shouting over a public option, who could vote for mandatory taxpayer subsidized, anti- free market socialized flood insurance run by government bureaucrats? Every single politician I just named and most of Congress. Charles Boustany of Louisiana, along with 44 other Republicans, including going bipartisan on September 27th, 2007 to vote yea on the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act. Karl Max applauded.

The entire "gang of six" on May 13th last year voting yea on the same act, quote, "to restore the solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program," but also to expand socialized insurance to other property damage, quote, "to make available multi-peril coverage for damage resulting from windstorms and floods, and for other purposes."

In the Senate where the public option is less popular than in the House, 92 senators voted to expand socialized property insurance. Consider the communist states that get the biggest handouts from socialized property insurance. North Carolina, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, and the top socialized property insurance welfare state in the nation, "The People's Republic of Texas." People's republic? Where 682,000 property owners have their handout for socialized property insurance, more than 36,000, scooping up $1.5 billion in claims last year alone.

Of course, it's not that some politicians don't care about the health of all Americans as much as they care about the wealth of those Americans who can't afford waterfront property. There is perhaps a less callous explanation: greed. It can't be principled because mandatory subsidized socialized property insurance is even more socialist than is the public option.

Preexisting conditions? No problem. You can get flood insurance even if you've already been flooded, even if you've chosen to live in a high-risk area, you can even get flood insurance after the diagnosis is in, even if you know there's a big rainfall or hurricane coming.

But what really matters to Congress is that insurance companies oppose the public option but they love mandatory socialized government-run property insurance.

According to the "New York Times," Americas pay about $2.3 billion in flood premiums every year. Insurance companies get almost $1 billion out of that, almost half of it just for selling the policies, without a single dollar of their own at risk.

Congressional auditors found that private insurance companies make $327 million a year above their expenses.

So, thanks to the politicians who oppose the public option for people, we already have socialized government health care plans for the health of the insurance companies.

Good news and bad news tonight, meantime for Sarah Palin. Even though it's still in the preorder stage, her book is number one. The bad news:

She may have to do some unscripted interviews with some of those newspapers she reads. You know, Kathy, all of them.


OLBERMANN: "Bests" in a moment and Newt Gingrich had not idea that a company called Pink Visual might make porn.

First, on this date in 1936, Generalissimo Francisco Franco was proclaimed head of state in Spain. He would rule as dictator until 1975, and since then, he has been still dead.

Let's play "Oddball."

We begin in Berlin, the German one, where preparations are underway for next month's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall. Artists from around the world made simulated sections of the wall that once split Soviet Berlin from Western Berlin. The slabs will be knocked down on the 9th of November, the anniversary. And as this trial run demonstrates, the giant dominos will be set up in the true spirit of Teutonic whimsy, in a perfectly engineered straight line. Don't get too close to that, Mr. photographer.

Papatrumblapati (ph), India, hello. From the every region is - I'm sorry, every religion is silly except your own category comes this story of a yearly ritual Hindus observe in southern India. During the festival, a temple priest tells women who have experienced bad thoughts that they must be freed from evil spirits by getting whips. Oddly enough, the guys do not get whipped. Most likely because their thoughts are pure, even the guy doing the whipping.

The good news for the women is that, once it is all over, they can rest easy knowing nothing bad will happen to them, like, say, getting whipped.

Finally, to New York, New York, where these morning news anchors, whose names I will not mention - I don't seem to have them in my script here, in fact. They polluted America's airwaves with the sights and sounds of hardcore animal pornography today. As you can see here, one of them actually beckons for a handler to bring two copulating pooches onto the stage and into America's living rooms.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For more information.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a whole other show.




OLBERMANN: After which the temple priest came to town and whipped all of them.

Going Rogue, going big; but have right wing organizations run up the score by buying Sarah Palin's book in volume?

And a rare moment of sanity for which he will be pummeled severely;

Senator Lindsay Graham calls birthers crazy and dismisses Glenn Beck as a weepy, non-Republican cynic.

These stories ahead, but first time for Countdown's top three best persons in the world.

Dateline Sunferry (ph), Wisconsin, number three, best remaining. That would be the Wisconsin Tourism Lobbying Coalition. After 30 years has operated under the same name and acronym, but has just changed it. The new name: Tourism Federation of Wisconsin, TFW. The old name, Wisconsin Tourism Federation, WTF.

Dateline Washington, number two, best partisan, Marc Thiessen, former Bush speechwriter. Another gem from his former colleague Matt Latimer's new book, quote, "when Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I suggested that the president might at least consider awarding Kennedy the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Marc objected with the genteel diplomacy he was known for. That's crazy, he thundered. Kennedy was a liberal, he noted."

There is the Bush administration in a nutshell. First, yes, he was a liberal. You couldn't sneak anything past those Bushies. And second, what a nice job of reaching across the isle.

Dateline Dallas, number one, best outreach suddenly abandoned, Newt Gingrich. He has now retracted two of his Newt Gingrich's Business Defense and Advisory Council Entrepreneur Awards. The Lodge of Dallas joining Pink Visual of California in learning that it was all a mistake. The former speaker is not saluting their businesses. The Lodge turns out not to be a printing company in Virginia, but a strip joint in Dallas. And Pink Visual turns out to be a porn DVD super store in California and not a - well, we don't know what they thought Pink Visual might have been. Maybe he thought his film "Wife Switch Volume Seven" was, I don't know, a documentary about the speaker and his previous marriages.


OLBERMANN: Just 47 more days until Sarah Palin's 400 page word salad hits bookstores. But "Going Rogue" has already gone to the top of the best seller lists, also. And while the unemployed Alaska blogger proves she can finish something, in our third story, the problem now is her co-author, a right wing partisan, whose targets have included the separation of church and state, and whose faults have included the separation of what she writes and reality.

Those expecting "Going Rogue, An American Life" to be all sunshine and moose pelts, meet Palin's co-author, Lynn Vincent. Vincent's body of work includes the co-author of General William Boykin's memoir, the same William Boykin who said his god was bigger than a Muslim terror suspect's god, comments from which even President Bush distanced himself. And in a book called "Donkey Kongs," Vincent describes the Democratic party as pro-gangsters, and the party of treason and subversion.

"Politico" reporting that Vincent's work at the "Evangelical World Magazine," quote, "includes a description of President Obama as the minority survivor of the black genocide. That is abortion."

Meanwhile, the Palin memoir is currently number one on the Barnes & Noble best seller list, as well as Amazon. But not all book enthusiasts are eagerly pre-ordering.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The part of the book I'm looking forward to least is some of the disagreements that took place within the campaign.


OLBERMANN: Wow. The senator has company. The owner of an Anchorage bookstore remarking "not a single customer has asked about it. I don't know what that means. Maybe we're all going rogue, going all mavericky."

Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe. Also, senior strategist at Public Strategies, author of "Renegade, the Making of a President."

Richard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: What does Palin's selection of this co-author, Lynn Vincent, tell us about what kind of book this either is or will be, just in case she hasn't finished it yet?

WOLFFE: Well, I know from my own experience of co-writing books that you have to have a mind meld with your co-author. And Sarah Palin has done something extraordinary again, which is to find someone just as irrational and hopelessly partisan as she is.

The hard thing - look, it's fine if you're selling books to the base. But much tougher if you're trying to reach out to, say, some independent votes who may have voted pro-gangster at some time in their lives. More than that, how does Lynn Vincent, for all her obvious writing skills, marry up with the writing style of Sarah Palin, the great poetic genius of Twitter land in the north, who said, after all, no rain, no rainbow.

OLBERMANN: The McCain point we heard there about what part of the book he is anticipating will be his least favorite - how far do we expect Palin to really throw him under the bus to sell this book and to sell herself for 2012? And is that - is there a way of overdoing that where it winds up rebounding against her?

WOLFFE: Well, I was talking to some - we'll call them campaign operatives, veterans from the Republican side, who are fully expecting this to be all about the score settling, at least the headlines coming out of the book to be about the score settling, about how there were all those evil McCain handlers who stopped Palin from showing her true genius, the great American voter, and unleashing her even more than she was on the national press.

So, you know, that's going to be a lot of headlines. And it's not the best way to go at recruiting staff, if she does indeed have that kind of ambition. It's also not the kind of politics and political leadership that I think voters respond to.

OLBERMANN: This may be the biggest question of all here: do we expect a book tour? And if there's a book tour, wouldn't she have to agree to a couple of non-cooked interviews in order to promote her book?

WOLFFE: Well, there is a danger. I suspect the real risk of a book tour, having done them myself, is that they're grueling, exhausting. And Sarah Palin may find the best way she can do a book tour and support the troops is to stay at home.

OLBERMANN: Both Amazon and Harper Collins say they do not know who's preordering the book. Is there a possibility - we have seen this on occasion on the publication of right wing books - that right wing sites are buying the book up and will offer it at some discount, or for free, in part to put her and keep her at the top of the best seller list?

WOLFFE: Let's set the "New York Times" list to one side. But I'm going to reveal a little secret here that those Amazon lists, especially, are easily manipulatable. And, in fact, that's not my statement being some twisted book author. There's a respected economist who works out of the White House by the name of Austin Goolsbee. He actually wrote a paper, an economic academic paper about this. They tested it and showed that there was no feasible algorithm for how those number are calculated.

I'm sure her book will do well. Whether it's really number one, how much they're really selling, we'll have to wait until the actual audits are done, and the publishers have done their tally.

OLBERMANN: And, last point here, is there a chance that this is the fabled new career? Or has that that not yet been revealed to all of us?

WOLFFE: All will be revealed in a Tweet. Don't worry. And then she'll collect them all up, and we can go buy that book too.

OLBERMANN: Tweets, also known as the fortunes in fortune cookies. Richard Wolffe of MSNBC, author of "Renegade," also a senior strategist at Public Strategies. Great thanks, Richard.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: What do you mean a Republican senator doesn't like Glenn Beck, when he has the intellectual capacity to equate the president's stop over in Copenhagen to Copenhagen Snuff? Why couldn't I be smart enough to do that?

And if you're honoring Hispanic heritage month, don't you have to mention Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Not if you're the Republican National Committee.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, now it turns out Senator John Ensign tried to get his Republicans cronies to get Doug Hampton a job while he was having an affair with Mrs. Doug Hampton. Ew.


OLBERMANN: Glenn Beck is a cynic in a nation of believers, and the birthers are crazy. That ain't me talking. It's a Republican senator. No, a living one.

That's next, but first time for Countdown's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Boss Limbaugh, whose listeners continue to have a fun house mirror view of the world because this shmuck keeps lying to them. "Obama's safe school czar is a guy promoting homosexuality in the schools and encouraged a 15 year old kid to have a homosexual relationship with an older man and even facilitated it."

The Obama schools adviser - the term czar originate with Nixon and Ronald Reagan - the adviser is named Kevin Jennings. Fifteen years ago, he wrote that while he was a high school counselor, he met a male student who had a relationship with an older man. The boy was 16, past the legal age of consent. So Jennings did not call the cops. For this, Limbaugh says he was promoting homosexuality in the schools.

As to Limbaugh's fascination with that topic, I refer you again to the Limbaugh comedy routine by the late Bill Hicks.

The runner up tonight, Abdul Tuala Ibn Ali al Ishtari (ph), who has pleaded guilty to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and now faces up to 25 years in jail. He thought he was transferring 152,000 to Pakistan and Afghanistan to buy night vision goggles and other equipment for a terrorist training camp. He was arrested by Homeland Security in February of 2007, but, oddly, the Bush administration did not make a big deal about it, possibly because he also had transferred 15,000 dollars to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and 20,000 more to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Thus becoming one of the latter group's, quote, inner circle members for life.

And our winner, Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in that tone deaf way that has made him the idol of every Democrat. The RNC has released a video entitled, "A Tradition of Firsts, Hispanic Accomplishments in America."

However, they left out the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, and labor leader Caesar Chavez, and former Florida Republican Senator Mel Martinez, who is on the outs with the party at the moment. And instead of writing a press release in Spanish, Steele's guys simply tried to translate the English one into Spanish, resulting in roughly 25 errors in five sentences, including getting the Spanish translation wrong of the name of this country.

Michael Steele, chairman of the RNC - este noche (ph) - can you tell I took seven years of French? Este noche de payo persona del mondo (ph).


OLBERMANN: To date, more than 60 companies have stopped advertising on Glenn Beck's Fixed news program because of his claim that the president is racist, with a, quote, deep seated hatred for white people or white culture. In our number one story, it's not just advertisers boycotting the real life Lonesome Roads. Today, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham criticized Beck's role and seems to have become the first prominent GOP member to repudiate him as a representative of that party.

At the First Draft of History event, held today at Washington's Newseum, South Carolina's senior senator took on several right wing fringe issues. On racism, Graham said he disagreed with President Carter, but he conceded that, quote, "there's people in this country that are having a hard time reconciling the fact that we have a black president."

Graham called the birther movement crazy, and decried what he called a lack of civility permeating our government and media. When the incivility topic naturally turned to old lonesome, the senator pulled no punches.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of Glenn Beck?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Only in America can you make that much money crying.

Glenn Beck is not aligned with any party, as far as I can tell. He's aligned with cynicism. And there's always been a market for cynicism. But we became a great nation not because we're a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we're a nation of believers that on the other side of the mountain is worth going to look at.


OLBERMANN: That cynicism was on full display yesterday. Beck, in his on-going attempt to explain the Obama administration's secret communist plot to destroy the Republic, decided to use a can of snuff to bring the point home.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I want to talk to you tonight about Copenhagen, two different kind of Copenhagens. Remember this, Copenhagen. This is the first one. I'll tell you about that at the every end.


OLBERMANN: Tell me now.

The second Copenhagen is, of course, in Denmark, site of tomorrow's International Olympic Committee vote to determine the host the 2016 games. Also, the current destination of Air Force One, carrying the president, who hopes to land there, bring the Olympics back to Chicago, and then come back.

Of course, Glenn Beck's chalk board, which he stole from the late, utterly unintelligible televangelist Dr. Dean Scott, knows better; the president only wants to bring the Olympics to Chicago so he can make his friends rich, his friends who love communists, cop killers, slum lords, unions, art, Acorn, unicorns, and probably tobacco. What about the tobacco? Won't somebody think about the tobacco?


BECK: Snuff. Why the can of snuff? I told you I was going to talk about this at the very beginning. Copenhagen. Well, some people put this between their cheek and their gum. It gives you a good jolt, right? But the main thing you should know is about the little label here on the side:

"warning, this product may be cancerous." May be cancerous.


OLBERMANN: A clear and compelling argument if ever I heard one. A pleasure to be joined again by Craig Crawford, columnist with, MSNBC political analyst and now author with Helen Thomas of the just released "Listen Up, Mr. President, Everything You Always Wanted Your President To Know and Do."

Just the one volume?

CRAIG CRAWFORD, CQPOLITICS.COM: I think there may be a sequel.

OLBERMANN: Like 26, like you used to by at the A&P. Listen, do you know what the analogy was there? Is it Obama is a cancer? Is it that he's a snuff film? Was he born in Denmark? Do you have Prince Albert in a can? What was going on there?

CRAWFORD: I haven't got a clue, Keith. And I'm glad I don't, because if I understood that, I would really be worried. I don't know about this word snuff. You can't accuse him of inciting assassination attempts or something, but you got to wonder what goes through your mind using a word like that in the context of talking about the president.

The terrible explanation is that he's just a nut. But I think if he was a real nut, most squirrels wouldn't go near him.

OLBERMANN: The Lindsay Graham criticism there - as I suggested, this might be the first guy in the GOP to come out and go, I don't want anything to do with this. He's not in my party. You take him. Is that likely to be sort of a rogue position, to borrow somebody else's phrase?

CRAWFORD: I'm a title suspicious, Keith. It's kind of a little push and pull here. You know, we're pushing away. But they also get a lot out of Glenn Beck, in that he turns out voters to the polls, particularly in low voter turnout environments, like a midterm election coming next year.

So I think Republicans would love to have it both ways, keep their distance from some of the craziness, but reap the benefits of those voters that he turns out - conservatives that he turns out at the polls.

OLBERMANN: Is it possible there was a little element of revenge there, because Beck recently said John McCain would have been worse than Obama. And, of course, McCain and Graham are so tight?

CRAWFORD: That's a possibility. Knowing Lindsey Graham a little bit, he's actually a very reasonable guy. And I think he was speaking from the heart there. I think there are a lot of Republicans - I certainly talked to some, to many - who are very concerned about, you know, the Limbaughs, to the Glenn Becks becoming the face of their party.

But at the same time, like I say, they don't mind getting the voters those guys turn out.

OLBERMANN: The larger point of the criticism is that the Republican party's agenda, from Graham's point of view, let alone from mine or somebody like me, is that it's set by media figures who are in it for ratings, not for progress for the nation, or really even progress for their own party, their own side. Is there anything blowing back against that? Is there any impetus for that to change in that party.

CRAWFORD: I think if they got out there with some new faces that are more reasonable and more centrist, perhaps, maybe. But the problem for Republicans is that they're addicted to what is actually a shrinking universe of voters, who are very vocal and used to be their mainstay. But as our society is diversifying, that chunk of voters is not doing it for them. They're still addicted to it.

But as long as you've got the Howard Beale type characters like Glenn Beck out there to keep them stirred up, a lot of Republicans are just going to flock to him. However, I think Peter Finch did a better job of playing Glenn Beck than Glenn Beck does.

OLBERMANN: I was just going to say, on behalf of the friends of Howard Beale, don't go there again. Listen, I'm going to throw you a curve ball here, because Howard Fineman has explained this markup of the insurance bill that would result in - conceivably in criminal time if you don't buy the mandatory insurance. He said, if Baucus put it into the chairman's mark up and simply said that this would be handled - as Lawrence O'Donnell suggested, it would be handled in terms of the fining by the IRS, and the IRS does, in fact, attach criminal penalties when you don't pay.

So Baucus is now saying that it was a mistake. Are we buying that?

CRAWFORD: I think there's an effort here sometimes to kill proposals by elevating those penalties as an issue. And that is what's going on. There's no question in my mind that Baucus and some of the other Democrats, conservative and moderate, even Democrats on that committee, are at the behest of the insurance industry. And this is one of the things they're up to.

OLBERMANN: Ironically enough, a poison pill in the middle of an insurance reform effort. Craig Crawford of and MSNBC, as always, great thanks.

CRAWFORD: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this the 2,345th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.