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Rachel Maddow: The Republican Party Is 'Engulfed In Flames' (VIDEO)

02/21/2013 08:58 am ET | Updated Feb 25, 2013

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Rachel Maddow tore into what she called the landscape of conservative politicians on her Wednesday night MSNBC show and wondered, "What is going on with the Republican Party right now?!"

Maddow discussed how the divide between the nation's conservatives and Republicans is newsworthy as it is "not going away" and seems to be "getting worse and not better over time." Once again, the Republican Party and Tea Party issued separate responses to President Obama's State of the Union address. Maddow mentioned that Fox News fired Sarah Palin and Dick Morris, and hired Scott Brown, Herman Cain and Dennis Kucinich. She also noted how "the first-ever filibuster to stop a cabinet nominee in our nation's history was based in part on Republican senators believing a satirical joke about something called 'Friends of Hamas.'"

New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman published an article on Wednesday describing how he inadvertently contributed to the Chuck Hagel "Friends of Hamas" rumor when he jokingly asked a Republican aide if the defense secretary nominee accepted speakers fees from that group or the "Junior League of Hezbollah."

"The names were so over-the-top, so linked to terrorism in the Middle East, that it was clear I was talking hypothetically and hyperbolically," Friedman wrote. "No one could take seriously the idea that organizations with those names existed — let alone that a former senator would speak to them."

But someone did, and the rumor circulated within the conservative media. After observing the "landscape," Maddow wondered, "Who is in charge?! Who is going to, or who is trying to, right this ship?" Maddow said that it was not uncommon for a losing political party to go through a period of soul searching after a bad election cycle. "Nobody expected Republicans to spring back to their feet ... Nobody expected the Republicans to be on fire by now. But right now it is less that they are on fire than they are engulfed in flames and they are the ones who have lit them."

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