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FOX News Pundits Inadvertently Prove Michelle Obama Right About America Being A Mean Country

Reported by Ellen - May 18, 2008 -

In a three-on-one pile on, three male conservatives on Hannity & Colmes Friday night (5/16/08) didn't seem to realize they were making Michelle Obama's case for her as they badgered, belittled and bullied political science professor Caroline Heldman for arguing that there is truth to Obama's "America is a mean country" statement. Even more hypocritically, later in the show, during an interview with CBS News' Charles Osgood, Sean Hannity (the head badgerer, belittler and bully) twice stated that politics has become vicious. With video.

It was another unbalanced Hannity & Colmes panel with two partisan conservatives (Republican John Kasich, Republican Frank Luntz) and the seemingly non-partisan Heldman. Despite the browbeating she received, Heldman stood up to Hannity coolly and got in some excellent zingers while she was at it. I can think of many a professional “Democratic strategist” who could take lessons from her. I only wish she had stated the obvious: That for a group of guys who were upset about someone calling this a mean country, they were behaving in ways that seemed pretty darned mean. But Alan Colmes made that point, instead.

The three-part discussion began with the playing of a Republican ad attacking Mrs. Obama for saying, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country."

“What does it say that the so-called 'family values party' is attacking a candidate's family?” Colmes asked.

Luntz started out with a nod toward neutrality. “I don't like this tone. I think that there's such an effort right now which is not good on either side, to try to demonize, to try to take words out of context... I think this is what is wrong with politics right now.” That's sort of a tacit admission right there that Obama had a point about the meanness. But, predictably, Luntz never took Heldman's side as she pointed out some of the mean aspects in American society.

Kasich also agreed it wasn't "all that good" to attack Mrs. Obama but, he added, “But you see, this is a big values issue.” Kasich went on to criticize Obama's wife anyway. "And what is big about this is when somebody who is a blue collar working person hears the fact that they're not proud of America, it goes the wrong way."

With bullyboy glee, Hannity yelled that it was fair to scrutinize her. He repeatedly interrupted Heldman, barked at her and made an overt effort to tyrannize her.

“What a nice conversation,” Colmes quipped at the end of Part 1 (shown in its entirety in the first video below).

In Part 2, Hannity continued attacking Heldman over Obama (not shown in the video). At the end, Colmes stated, “I think there's a certain meanness to attacking somebody's family and going after the wife of a candidate. That, in fact, makes Michelle Obama's point.”


In Part 3, Heldman was berated for defending Barack Obama's position of being willing to talk to Iran. But she nailed Hannity with this statement: "Obviously, (our current policy) hasn't worked in Iraq to – fighting the global war on terror, Iraq has been utterly abysmal so Ameicans want something else and one of those tools is diplomacy.”

Nobody had an answer to that. Instead, Kasich interrupted to say accusingly, “Americans do not want to talk to a guy who says that he's going to destroy, blow up Israel. I mean, the guy's a nutcase and the people inside this country, these mullahs (said with disgust), they're just extremists as well... Come on! You just don't go round the world and talk to people! That's naive!”

In fact, Kasich is completely wrong. Polls consistently show that Americans favor diplomacy when it comes to dealing with Iran.

And, by the way, tough-talking Kasich never served in the military.

Later in the show, there was an interview with CBS journalist Charles Osgood about humor in politics. In what seemed to be a pre-taped interview, almost the first thing Hannity said was, “It's getting pretty vicious out there in the political world.” Later, he reiterated, “It's a very different time (from the days when politicans could disagree and still be friends) and it seems more vicious.”

Osgood agreed that politics has become nasty and later, Colmes said something similar.

Hannity didn't seem to mind a bit.