Two nights ago, Lawrence O'Donnell, as he often does, takes a breaking national story and rather than become a mouth-piece lemming and following along, or a parrot repeating back talking points, he examines the full story with an eye from overhead, giving him a wider view. Instead of flowing downhill with the jabberhead mainstream press through heavily germ-filled waters of bunk, spin and political pollution, he looks a bit deeper and sees some runoffs that might actually lead to fresh water.
Such is the case with Robert Gates new book, his memoir of the few years he served in the Obama Administration. Many thought it was a strange choice to keep Gates as he served in the corrupt GW Bush administration, but President Obama saw something in him. Perhaps it was his boldness. Maybe his honesty. Or possibly something else, he was a near perfect barometer. Perhaps Obama knew that if Gates was in favor of something, the wise choice was to do just the opposite.
DUTY: MEMOIRS OF A SECRETARY AT WAR, according to O'Donnell, actually makes a good argument for that. Gates was a litmus test. That's always good to have around when there's a toxic situation.
At yesterday's press conference the adjective "explosive" was tossed about like a hot potato. It was used so much, it was obvious that it was a prepared, planned buzzword. It's like "IRS Conspiracy," "Benghazi," and "Trainwreck" when referring to the ACA rollout. Explosive was the word of the day that Jay Carney needed to defend. If only he had Lawrence O'Donnell with him it would have been a cake walk.
During the Rewrite segment on THE LAST WORD yesterday O'Donnell took great delight in pointing out these explosive revelations are perhaps not as damaging as the headless chickens of the beltway press would have you think. Rather than look at what the ex-CIA chief and defense secretary really said, these brainless reporters took to their imaginations and interpreted what was really written. They took words like "vaguely" and changed them to "definitively" and phrases like "conceded political opposition to the Iraq surge" meant Obama's opposition, not his parties or the nation's opposition. When you twist words, you can get them to say almost anything.
Watch this systematic destruction of the "explosive accusations" in the book, and enjoy how it's actually becomes a most complimentary Obama piece. For instance, Gates writes Obama's decision to launch an attack on Osama Bin Laden (against Gate's advice) was, "One of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."
Yes sir. This book is not a hammering away at Obama. It's a tribute to a fine military and diplomatic leader.
Take a look. This clip is bit longer than I usually add, but I think every minute of it's worth it to understand just how much the White House really loves what William Gates had to say, as it makes Obama one of the strongest and definitive leaders ever to rule the roost. This is one time that Obama is no Jack Kennedy, and we're all better because of it. (Watch the clip and you'll understand that reference.)