Mon Apr 23, 2012, 01:11 PM
LongTomH (5,145 posts)
Rachel Maddow's talk in Kansas City Sunday
I was part of the sellout crowd to hear Rachel Maddow's talk in Kansas City Sunday, April 22. I'd already bought a ticket, so I stayed outside with volunteers for the KC Move to Amend petition drive until shortly before Rachel's appearance.
Rachel was introduced by Vivian Jennings of Rainy Day books, the Kansas City independent bookstore that brought Rachel to KC to promote her book: Drift: The Unmooring of America's Military Power. The presentation was a back and forth, Q&A session between Ms. Jennings and Rachel.
Rachel of course was brilliant, informed, insightful and wonderfully witty. The subject of her book was American military power and its misuse and that was the major theme of her talk.
Rachel was careful to emphasize that: "Liberals care about national security," as much as conservatives, even if the conservatives have dominated the dialogue for the last 30 or 40 years. She was also careful to emphasize that we should not make the mistake of: "conflating opinions on the war with support for the troops." As Rachel pointed out, PEW center surveys of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans show a majority thought the wars were unnecessary.
She went back to the founding of our country to discuss the traditional American reluctance to allow one individual to take us to war. The Constitution reserved the power to declare war to the Congress, not the president. This was long before "The Imperial Presidency" and "The Unitary Executive." Sadly, "Congress has never successfully stopped a president from going to war."
Rachel spent a lot of her talk discussing the ways that we have gotten away from the doctrine that only Congress can take us to war, from Vietnam to Iran-Contra to Dick Cheney and Iraq. She avoided calling any of this a "conspiracy theory;" although, as she explained, conspiracy theories are sort of a hobby with her; she just doesn't resort to them as an explanation for our recent history.
She made some very insightful comments about the role of national security think tanks, such as The Committee on the Present Danger, in managing public perception of the need for military action. According to Rachel, conservatives invented the idea of defense think tanks and, when Liberals try to set up similar think tanks: "They are playing on someone else's field!" The same thing goes for talk radio.
Ms. Jennings asked Rachel to comment on Kansas and Missouri politics. Rachel replied (and I'm paraphrasing) that the Democratic Party has not really moved in recent decades; but the Republican party just keeps shifting rightward. She described watching Republican conservative politics as being like watching "ping-pong on fast-forward."
She says Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is one of the "top 3 most radical governors" in the nation; but, nobody nationally pays much attention because Kansas "has always been this way," as opposed to Wisconsin, where Scott Walker represents a major political shift. Rachel remarked on Brownback's comments that he wanted to "take the tax code behind the wood shed and kill it with a dull axe," always said with a big grin. She was a little stunned by this idea that he not only wanted to kill something; but, to prolong the agony and the dying process.
As for Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, she described him as "Kansas Chief Republican export," for his role in helping to frame the debate on immigration laws.
Rachel made an off-the-cuff remark about the question she's frequently asked about which RW talking head she'd least like to be "stuck on an elevator for 4 hourse with:" Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh. Her comment was that, instead of viewing this as 4 hours that she'd have to endure, she views it as her opportunity to make them endure her. As for who, she says Rush Limbaugh, so she could ask him how he invented talk radio and what she could learn - to help liberals replicate his success.
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Rachel Maddow's talk in Kansas City Sunday (Original post)
Response to LongTomH (Original post)
Mon Apr 23, 2012, 06:05 PM
LongTomH (5,145 posts)
2. forgot to add: Her dedication...
Just before the introduction:
"To former vice president Dick Cheney.
Oh, please let me interview you.
During the talk, she referred to Cheney as "Her invisible friend," sort of like Harvey.