On his pre-SOTU Countdown tonight, host Keith Olbermann urged President Obama to seize the hatred of his enemies on the right. Olbermann said Obama should follow the template of FDR and, “welcome their hatred.” Olbermann is becoming very Darth Vaderish.
Here is the video:
Olbermann played a portion of F.D.R.’s 1936 Madison Square Garden speech, “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me‹and I welcome their hatred.”
The host added, “And there Mr. President is your template, welcome their hatred, seize the mood of this nation identical tonight to what was in 1936, nearly, as Mr. Roosevelt perfectly captured it. Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob, and aspire to what he also added, I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match.”
Is it any real surprise that Keith Olbermann would believe that the solution to Obama’s problems is to embrace hatred so that a poisoned environment becomes absolutely toxic? No, because Olbermann himself has embraced hatred when it comes to the right wing, but is there a lesson here for Obama?
I don’t think so, because of one key difference, which is context. F.D.R.’s speech was a campaign speech given as he was seeking a second term in front of a building full of supporters. Obama is a sitting president, not up for reelection yet, who is giving an address to lay out his vision of the national agenda for the year.
Obama could certainly offer a more vigorous defense to his critics, and we saw a little bit of that in his address when he referred to the obstructionism of the GOP, but the State of the Union is not the time or place for the type of stance that Olbermann advocated. In this case Olbermann is nothing more than Darth Vader trying to get Luke Skywalker to cross over to the dark side.