Let me finish tonight with a calm grandeur of our constitution.
What those who love this country love best, above the God-given beauty of this continent, is what we the people have created here: this amazing American constitution that places the elected president of the United States as commander in chief of the military.
It's not about the general – not exactly.
It's not about insubordination – not entirely.
It's about becoming president – not just by election or inauguration, but in fact.
Jack Kennedy did it with the Bay of Pigs, not by agreeing to the operation, but in accepting full personal blame for its failure. That's when the country knew it had a leader. His job approval shot through the roof.
Let me finish tonight with the emerging embarrassment on the right.
Joe Barton reminds us that sometimes, politicians get what they deserve. In other words, they get caught saying exactly what they wanted to say.
Someone once said that the late Spiro Agnew had about the same depth of political belief as the tired guy on the 5:00 commuter train after his third drink. Well, they may not have bars on those trains anymore, but you get the point.
I'm speaking about the true winners in every campaign seasons – those who not only run ahead of their parties, but also manage to win the elections that their party doesn't hope to win even in the best of seasons.
I think of Jack Kennedy coming to the Senate in 1952, the year that Republican Dwight Eisenhower was winning right across the country – including in Massachusetts.
I think of Joe Biden coming to the Senate in 1972, a year that Democrat George McGovern was being crushed right across the country – including in Delaware.
Rush Limbaugh calls it a "slush fund." Michele Bachmann calls it "redistribution of wealth," placing her in full agreement with radio talk show host Mark Levin.
Today, Congressman Joe Barton, R-Tex., called it a "shakedown." He says he's "ashamed" at yesterday's announcement that BP was going to make the $20 billion payment, that it creates a "terrible precedent."
Sharron Angle is the Republican candidate for US Senator from Nevada. What she said on a radio interview about the right to bear arms and the right to challenge decisions by Congress is worth paying attention to: Ms. Angle believes that there's a relationship between the two, and that you have your gun as way to deal with the decisions made by Congress that you don’t like.
Listen to her:
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"The Rise of the New Right,” which airs at 7:00 p.m. ET tomorrow night, will stun you with what's happening to this country. You'll never again believe that this so-called Tea Party movement is just about taxes, deficits or Obamacare. No – what you'll see is far more like the original tea party up in Boston, the one that previewed our war against the British.
Tomorrow night on national television, the President, we are told, will assert his command and control over the horror now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.
I wish him well. The American people need to be told with great conviction and full authority that the interests of our people, of our land here in North America, are not at the disposal of the British Petroleum company. We are not some weak, defenseless land, which a modern industrialized corporation can enter, exploit for gain, and then leave behind, hurt and broken in its wake.
Sarah Palin has a serious future in presidential politics.
Consider the history of an earlier figure of controversy in the Republican party: Two years before he ran successfully for president, Richard Nixon, a man defeated for president and then governor of California - saw an opportunity and made a calculation. The former vice president looked ahead to the 1966 mid-term elections and saw it as a big opportunity for a Republican comeback. He reckoned that it could also be a comeback for Richard Nixon.
From the beginning, I've noticed that BP’s ads say the company will pay for every "legitimate" claim for oil spill damages.On hearing this a few times, I've wondered what they're up to. Are they preparing a legal defense that allows them to avoid paying for the claims that they've destroyed much of the Gulf of Mexico, its surrounding beaches, and its wetlands? How could any such claims be illegitimate? If oil reaches the water, and it is BP's oil, how are they not responsible? read more
I'm something of a romantic on this subject. I believe in this country's fundamental good. I believe in our ability to choose the best leaders.
Even when we pick a president who doesn't deliver, I'm never sure that the man he beat would have been a better choice.
FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, Lyndon Johnson for a while … We had a pretty good run. Reagan has also gone down as one of the greats.
msnbc is the place for politics, we like to say, and, if you haven't noticed, politics is increasingly the place for women.
Look at the races we'll be covering tonight in the later editions of Hardball…
In South Carolina, Nikki Haley is the frontrunner in the Republican primary for governor. She's managed to hold that position in the face of what we used to call "bad form" by some men in the political world down there.
Something I've been contemplating is this conviction that my political party – whatever party that happens to be – is the exclusive route to the best possible government for the country.
You know the mentality: Other views need not be contemplated. We hold the received wisdom, the guts, the moxie and the day-to-day know-how needed to solve America's deepest problems. That's right, we're sitting on the exclusive monopoly of how to lead the land.