Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show started off with one of those meandering historical backgrounders, and as sometimes happens, that intro is in some ways even more interesting than the main story.
It’s all about another tell-all by a former cabinet member, Donald Regan’s 1988 book in which the bitter former Reagan chief of staff revealed that just about every major decision in the Reagan White House was affected by Nancy Reagan’s consultations with an astrologer. It’s a glorious trip down WTF lane that leaves you astonished at just how much the Cult of Reagan was willing to overlook. These weren’t just sketchy rumors from some third-rate tabloid about the president maybe being a Muslim (because he pronounces “Pakistan” with un-American syllables), but actual reliance on occult hoodoo nonsense that teevee evangelists regularly decry as flirting with demons and witchcraft. But Reagan was Reagan, so sure, Nancy’s astrologer got to decide the daily schedule for the Leader of the Free World.
Eventually, what Maddow arrives at is a look at former CIA and Defense Department head Leon Panetta’s tell-much book about Barack Obama’s alleged failures in foreign policy, full of criticisms that seem driven more by Panetta’s allegiance to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign than any gripes he harbored in office.
Maddow offers several fun clips where Panetta’s book rips Obama for various policies, followed by video of Leon Panetta vigorously defending those very policies while he was SecDef or CIA director. Maddow wonders whether it’s wise for Democrats to so eagerly distance themselves from a president who still has two years to go in office, leaving his defense to those outside the party itself, like Paul Krugman’s terrific piece in Rolling Stone. Yay for Krugman, but shouldn’t Democrats have the president’s back?
So it’s a good piece, and worth seeing. Oh, but that introduction kind of overshadows it.
Watch and enjoy!
[Image credit: Postcardy]