RachelWatch: National Security Blanket Coverage

Today: Obama gives a surprising speech and Cheney gives the same one he always does.

Prolonged Detention

I’m always amazed when conservative commentators claim that Rachel Maddow is an Obama groupie who just parrots the Democratic Party line when she’s not busy pasting cutouts of the President’s face onto Iceman’s body in her comic books.

Because when she’s displeased, she mentions it. And she hits kind of hard.

After noting Obama’s forceful repudiation of the Bush administration going all 1984 on everybody, Rachel laid in to Obama’s “prolonged detention” proposal with a little help from Vincent Warren from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The whole thing is mind-blowing. One minute he’s expertly carving up the Bush-Cheney police state, and the next he’s offering us an extra helping of Gulag.

It feels a little bit like that moment in The Ring when you realize the movie isn’t ending after all and you are about to find out what real fear feels like and Oh, God, why didn’t you just watch Best in Show again?

Obama is a Constitutional scholar and, I believe, a good man. My theory is that we don’t know what he looks like when he’s blowing his cool and he’s just having a parent-on-a-car-trip moment.

He’s got the banking meltdown and the auto industry and two wars and he has to sweep up all the bamboo slivers Rumsfeld was going to jam under people’s fingernails and everybody calling him a Socialist and the swine flu epidemic only wait a minute now everyone’s mocking people who actually tried to prepare for the swine flu epidemic and an impossible task of dealing with some very bad men and then even closing Guantanamo failed because Congress freaked out and rolled up into little armadillo balls and ALL RIGHT, ALL OF YOU SHUT UP AND STAY ON YOUR SIDE OF THE CAR AND NOBODY IS GETTING ICE CREAM EVER AGAIN!

I think he’ll calm down and back off of this one.

I hope.

Thar He Blows

Since she already had her sleeves rolled up, Rachel decided to go ahead and dissect Dick Cheney’s speech. It wasn’t that hard, because as she pointed out, it’s the same speech he always gives, only with a bunch of liquid paper and cross-outs all over the parts that have become too demonstrably false for even Fox News to swallow.

That and he’s stopped trying to lure people into fiddling contests.

Chris Hayes of The Nation joined Rachel to try to figure out what is going on in Cheney’s head and whether he actually believes it when he leans into the camera and tells us that we have to have to have round-the-clock shifts of people rabbit-punching enemy combatants or demons will come in the night to steal our spleens.

Ms. Information

The California State Supreme Court was ready to release a ruling on the legality Prop 8 on Thursday, but didn’t. Rumor had it that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome asked the court to hold off to avoid hitting the 30th anniversary of San Francisco’s White Night riots, but Newsome says he didn’t.

Concerns about coinciding with the anniversary spring from related worries that the court is likely to uphold Prop 8, banning gay marriage and putting the thousands of same-sex marriages that happened during California’s brief window of sanity in jeopardy.

Life in California will get pretty interesting if the court upholds Prop 8. On the downside, committed, loving couples will be told they’re not good enough to be married for real and tourists from Iowa will be able to walk around making smug, condescending remarks about what backwards rubes we all are.

But on the upside, such a decision would mean that the general populace will be free to mix religious standards and state administrative functions at will, and that should really liven things up.

I am already crafting a ballot measure requiring the sacrifice of a volcano virgin before each state budget meeting.

And please consider yourself invited to my car baptism at the DMV.

Drip, Drip, Drip

And even as Cheney was in the middle of his self-serving speech about why torturing people was the moral and noble thing to do even though of course it wasn’t torture, the whole vile story fell apart just a little more.

Rachel welcomed NPR reporter Ari Shapiro, who broke the story that Alberto Gonzales repeatedly approved the use of torture techniques before he was Attorney General and long before the memos that purportedly gave a legal justification for torture were ever written.

So the composition of the memos was just a Let’s Pretend legal puppet show. Awesome.

Please, Bushies, enough with the creeping horror. Just tell us. Was it a Skull and Bones bet gone awry? Was it all to get the Maltese falcon and the treasure of the Sierra Madre? Were key members of the government taken over by the mind-control flies? Give us the big reveal all at once so we can get on with the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Ask vs. Won’t Tell

Ana Marie Cox asked about three of the soldiers who are to be fired under the Don’t Ask, Don’t tell law at Wednesday’s White House briefing, and then on Thursday she showed her Ana Marie Moxie by coming back to make White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs squirm, stammer, and pause so long that I thought she had broken his brain for a minute.

Cocktail Moment

Republicans made an attempt to hold up the global warming bill by demanding that all 946 pages plus amendments be read out loud into the record, so the Democrats hired Douglas Wilder, professional speed reader.

The reaction to this is kind of great. If Congress approached everything with this sense of play, I think a lot more people would follow politics.