Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Three FOK News Channel posts for this date.
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First Guess: The GOP Presidential Nomination and Susan Burns
Lonesome Rhodes' Mike Left Open
Snappy Answers
First Guess: The GOP Presidential Nomination and Susan Burns
Video via FOK News Channel
video 'podcast'

unofficial transcript

For President of the United States of America on the Republican ticket, I nominate Susan Burns of Alexandria, Virginia!

Greetings from New York, I'm Keith Olbermann, here's today's First Guess.

When the milquetoast conservative columnist of the New York Times is out bemoaning the vapidity of the Republican Presidential field, you know it's pretty damn vapid. He pointed out that right now it's basically Tim Pawlenty versus Herman Cain, the bizarre pizza magnate and commentator. The columnist complained that no-one else was stepping up to compete for the right to lose to President Obama just under 600 days from now.

The two possibly-electable Republicans have both said they are not running. That blank-slate Senator from South Dakota John Thune and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Presuming this is the Bush who isn't lying, we move on to those lingering on the edges of candidacy. Let's review them one by one and see how uneasily the crown sits on the head.

President Michele Bachmann. [laughter]

President Mike Huckabee. [laughter]

President Newt Gingrich. [laughter] Seriously!

President Rudy Giuliani. [laughter]

President Mitt Romney. Heh.

President Donald Trump. [laughter]

President Sarah Palin. ...That woman is an idiot.

Seriously, the Republicans will not produce a viable candidate because they have none to produce, but even if there were one the debates for which I'm already selecting my choicest popcorn would cut him or her to ribbons. The GOP, the Goop, may be perfection itself when it comes to messianic messaging or don't-talk-back talking points but individual Republicans are consumed by power lust, and thus are cosmically incapable of getting out of the way of even the most obvious of choices. People forget: St. Ronald of Reagan had been the nominee-in-waiting for 12 years as 1980 approached, yet there were nine other Republican candidates that year and Reagan lost the New Hampshire primary.

So can you picture Donald Trump debating Michele Bachmann? Can you imagine the sheer joy of watching Newt finally unleashing his inner rage against Palin? The more I think of the Goop's plan to sell the television rights to their debates, the more I'm for it. In fact I think they should sell them to the people who are doing Wrestling Pay Per View.

As academic as the Republican 2012 nominating campaign may seem, there are still occasional bursts of relevant information. We learned in the last week that Congresswoman Bachmann told voters in Iowa that she is a seventh generation Iowan, even though it's apparent her ancestors immigrated not to there but to Wisconsin. Mr. Trump went on Billo the Clown and said that if we didn't steal $1.5 billion worth of oil from Iraq, all our soldier victims there, quote, "would have died in vain". Trump also released his birth certificate; he withheld however his hair's Monsanto Wear-Dated tag of approval.

Mr. Gingrich, meantime, jumped a shark of imagery, even for him, even for his party. Quoting, "I have two grandchildren, I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

When advised that secular atheism and radical Islam were actually mutually exclusive, Mr. Gingrich added he meant or one dominated by radical Islamists.

Well even if that's true Mr. Gingrich is now offering a range of outcomes similar to saying the planet is in imminent danger of destruction from being hit by giant asteroids, or it is in imminent danger of destruction from not being hit by giant asteroids.

Mr. Gingrich also failed to recognize that if Republicans get to run this country the way he wants them to, his grandchildren won't have to worry about religion, because nobody will know how to read, since all the teachers will have starved to death by then, and simply being the descendant of a former Speaker of the House will not make you elite enough to be granted healthcare by one of the two corporations left.

Coincidental with all this Republican nominee talk, a story from Washington that at first seems to have no connection to this. Yesterday, Paul Gauguin's famous 1899 painting Two Tahitian Women was returned to its temporary display at the National Gallery there. Last Friday, a 53 year old woman named Susan Burns attacked Gauguin's masterpiece, $80 million worth of it, grabbing it by its frame, pounding on its protective Plexiglas shield and punching it with her right fist while screaming "This is evil!"

Court paperwork filed against Ms. Burns said she told investigators, quote, "I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it's very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned. I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you." Unquote.

See, THAT'S your 2012 Republican nominee right there! She hits all the main fear buttons, she speaks to the base and that last part? I have a radio in my head, I'm going to kill you? That's a winning Republican campaign slogan if ever I've heard one!

Keith Olbermann in New York, see you in late spring.
Lonesome Rhodes' Mike Left Open

The confirmation today that the man who can't tell the difference between a socialist, a fascist, and an altruist is leaving his daily show on Fixed News, is a great moment for the collective intelligence of American discourse.

But it may only be a moment.

All the pre-breakup rumblings between Glenn "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck and Fox News indicated that Beck had some kind of dream of an All-Beck TV Enterprise. The model was a hybrid of the original Howard Stern radio premise (gone, but not forgotten: the additional channel devoted to covering only news about Howard – the reporters even had matching blazers and did Howard Newscasts) and the Oprah Winfrey premise, mixed in with a little megalomania.

The key premise is: you are going to take a program people may enjoy to the point of developing blisters on their forehead from their Beck-induced fever, and charge them more for it. This works only very, very rarely.

I know this route well (except the megalomania part). I considered it, briefly. As even Oprah has shown, it is a dicey path in which the "talent" may be guaranteed nearly all the profits, but is definitely guaranteed all the risk. It is hard to envision any television personality in this country being the only thing on his/her network, or even producing a network in which the other shows would succeed based merely on his 'Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval' – and I rejected the premise after about three minutes of letting the image of Alert Uniformed Olbermann Network Personnel run away with my not inconsiderable ego.

Still, the wording of Beck's television suicide note leaves plenty of room for some sort of daily television presence (to say nothing of the kind of big-scale Beckaganzas for Fox that would permit him to delve into those important issues, like how socialist the murals nobody ever looks at in Rockefeller Center are). But clearly he is not doing what I am doing – moving myself, my show, and my very loyal base (An Aside: Good Day to You All!) from one network to another. This can be perilous enough, but ultimately all I am asking about 2/3 of the past crowd to do is learn a new number on their remotes and DVR's.

That by itself might be a daunting task for loyal followers of Beck on television. But to ask them now to pay an additional premium? Beck has come to be a kind of touchstone for the Tea Party crowd and this is the wrong time to ask the Tea Party — or as I have begun to enjoy calling them — "The I'm Not Going To Pay A Lot For That Muffler Party" — to pony up some extra green. They expect something for nothing, or at least something for nothing more, not the same thing with an additional price tag.

It has been clear for some time that Beck's audience does not necessarily entirely overlap with that of Fox News. The advertising tells that story (a hat tip to Twitter's @StopBeck right here), and the fact that actual rumors of dissatisfaction elsewhere in that company actually wafted out through the otherwise airtight Berlin Wall that Roger Ailes has built around his employees, should have indicated that a divorce was inevitable. Beck's relationship with Fox as symbiotic and strained, but it was probably of greater value to Beck than it was to Fox. He may have produced astonishingly high ratings for 5 O'Clock in the afternoon, but with the low-end sponsors that did not necessarily mean astonishingly high profits.

More over, Glenn Beck did not build Fox News and nowhere in the early coverage of his departure is there seemingly the slightest suggestion that the well-oiled Murdochian Perpetual Motion Propaganda Machine will miss his daily presence. There are a couple of true believers with whom they could replace him; more likely they will simply reach into that inexhaustible supply of those so desperate to remain on television that they'll say anything (see Megyn Kelly, Stuart Varney, Steve Doocy), and fill up the hour quickly.

Ultimately how ever Beck winds up positioning his new television venture he has bought himself a new problem that was his old problem back in the days when he struggled along with mediocre ratings at CNN Headline News.

Whatever show(s) he does, whatever Beckian Stamp Of Batcrap Crazy Nonsense he produces, whatever he sells for $19.95 a pop, whatever hour is the 60 minutes of Revelation – whatever The Plan is – he's got a big problem now.

It'll be on against Fox News.
Snappy Answers For April 6 2011

Blast From The Past: Last Government Shutdown Led President Clinton To Meet Monica Lewinsky

Answer: Oh, no. No, no. Not doing that story again. Noop.