O’Donnell States it Plain

When MSNBC fired Keith Olbermann and replaced him with Lawrence O’Donnell, I was a bit annoyed. But now that Olbermann had crashed and burned over at Current TV, and O’Donnell has turned into a pretty effective pundit, I have changed my mind. For an example of why I like O’Donnell so much, consider this depressingly accurate tirade about the Newsweek cover with the headline, “The First Gay President.”

“We live in a wicked stupid country, okay,” O’Donnell said. “This is a country that believes, in a very substantial proportion, that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Huge number, millions and millions of people…like 30 percent, think he wasn’t born American. They think he’s Kenyan. Crazy, crazy beliefs. And Newsweek, it seems to me, has to consider the responsibility of sending out into such a collectively stupid country and stupid electorate this thing, which is the only sentence in Newsweek that most people are going to read this week – the sentence on the cover.”

O’Donnell added that the cover and headline could perpetuate more misinformation about the president. “The ‘Obama is gay’ number is now going to go up to 35 [percent],” O’Donnell said, referring to the portion of the population that could mistake Newsweek’s headline for fact.

Anyone think O’Donnell is wrong?


  1. #1 Ed S.
    May 17, 2012

    No, he gets it right. Back in the day, Mr. Clinton was named our “First Black President,”and we got it. Now, this turn of phrase is not clever, nor is it helpful.

  2. #2 Blaise Pascal
    May 17, 2012

    Wow, I hadn’t seen the actual cover; I had only seen the version/parody/correction using James Buchanan as the first gay president.

    O’Donnell is right.

  3. #3 Dan
    May 17, 2012

    Exactly right Ed, I think the cover story was extremely unhelpful too. For one thing, people can tell from looking at Clinton that he isn’t obviously black, so this ‘Obama is Gay’ cover is very different; it isn’t going to be taken as metaphorical by most people because it isn’t obviously metaphorical.

    I enjoy many of Andrew Sullivan’s articles, but it really disappointed me that he said he recommended that title to Newsweek for his article. How unfortunately confusing.

  4. #4 GBJames
    May 17, 2012

    Yep. He’s right. There is no thing too stupid that can be said about President Obama that will not be believed by the base Republican crowd.

  5. #5 Area Man
    May 17, 2012

    I just don’t see the wingnuts going around and accusing Obama of being gay. For some reason, I think they know it won’t work.

    And really, even if they do, what can you do about it? Forever stick to hyper-literalism because they’re too dumb to understand metaphor?

  6. #6 Bilbo
    May 17, 2012

    A friend at work already thinks Obama is a Nazi. I’ll have to ask him if Obama is gay as well.

  7. #7 Lynn Ellis
    May 17, 2012

    It may be a tad ironic that your O’Donnell quote includes the blanket assumption of American ignorance about President Obama….”They think he’s Kenyan. Crazy, crazy beliefs.”

    You may experience incredulity over the source of this breaking news, but Breitbart.com is now stating that this idea of Obama being of Kenyan birth is directly stated in a promotional brochure that was issued by his literary agency in 1991 when he was president of the Harvard Law Society.


    It may have seemed quite expedient to make that claim at the time. Not so much during the last presidential election.

  8. #8 NJ
    May 17, 2012

    Lynn Ellis @ 7:

    Breitbart.com is now stating

    Breitbart != news.

    You may experience incredulity over the source

    Any incredulity is most likely over your credulity.

  9. #9 Rob
    May 17, 2012

    Just great…Now I have to hear people say that he’s Muslim AND gay!

  10. #10 Gerry L
    May 17, 2012

    On the way home from work tonight I was listening to a progessive talk radio station and they were playing a recording of some right-wing-nut insisting that Obama is gay. I’d already heard and seen snippets of this. Didn’t you know there is PROOF that Obama had sex with some guy!?!?!? Some guy said so.

  11. #11 Judas
    May 18, 2012

    I don’t think that sways people one way or another. The “stupid” people who already believe he’s Kenyan just won’t be swayed by a (hypothetical) cover headline that proclaims Obama as the “First President born in Hawaii”.

  12. #12 Zeno
    May 18, 2012

    I still remember how my father freaked out over the “We’re All Socialists NowNewsweek cover from 2009. “See?” he said. “Proof!” People will seize on anything that seems to confirm their deepest fears.

  13. #13 BobFromLI
    May 18, 2012

    I read some of the comments over at breitbart…they’re pingponging conspiracies back and forth. Amazing, that people have that much time to concoct this stuff. What they’re showing is probably just another Orly Taitz forgery…(by the way, SHE’s running for the Senate – OUR senate! http://orlytaitzforussenate2012.com/). What seems to have died is the revelation that Michele Bachmann has had dual Swiss citizenship for some time and nobody said “boo” when she wanted to be OUR president. As Yakov Smirnov once said “What a country!”.

  14. #14 TTT
    May 18, 2012

    I’m just glad Andrew Breitbart didn’t live to see this.

    Nothing to do with the issue in particular, mind you, mostly just glad for the Breitbart-not-living part.

  15. #15 Derek in DC
    May 18, 2012

    If you follow what conservatives are saying in the same-sex marriage debate, you find that rumors (hopes?) of the president having a secret gay lover have been circulating amongst them for a long time.

  16. #16 Strider
    May 18, 2012

    I don’t think O’Donnell is right because I see that headline as the 2012 version of the Clinton “First Black President” thing. But who really gives a shit? It seems to me this issue is likely only important to those who already despise the man and want yet another thing about which they can complain.

  17. #17 Captain Kirk
    May 19, 2012

    Wow. Is that how faux liberals view the world? Y’all are insane. Nothing but lies about conservatives/independents.

    Regarding Breitbart’s piece on Obama being born in Kenya… Y’all completely lack reading comprehension…

    Stop drinking liberal kool aide and get back to common sense.

  18. #18 Lenoxus
    May 19, 2012

    Well, obviously, if someone at a Harvard Literary agency mistook Obama as Kenyan-born, that qualifies as significant evidence he really was Kenyan-born! Certainly, it’s on par with the birth certificate and newspaper announcement suggesting otherwise. So, say, fifty-fifty, right?

    Meanwhile, I’m not sure I’m following “Captain Kirk’s” point. Is he saying that liberals exaggerate the prevalence of conservative Birthers, or that they ignore the evidence that Birtherism is true?

    Also, why the “faux”? Just because you don’t like a group doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to stick “faux” in front of the name; often the opposite, in fact. (Or do you mean that only libertarians get to be considered “true” liberals?)

  19. #19 Lenoxus
    May 19, 2012

    Here’s a conservative source discussing the Harvard Law Kenya thing, which I would say qualifies as a debunking, though with criticism of Obama for allowing the error to persist in the bio. (Supposedly that’s worse than “flip-flopping” on serious political issues, because it somehow amounted to lying about his very identity, but I can’t say I agree.)

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