My new media hero: Fla. Rep. Alan Grayson. His bravura performance on CNN's usually tepid "Situation Room" this week was one of the highlights of the year in media - and a rare compelling moment on all-too-often lackluster CNN.
"Not many politicians who say things like this would have the guts to walk right in to "The Situation Room," CNN commentator James Carville congratulated Grayson during the Congressman's no-nonsense appearance this week on the cable show.
"You make for some great television,"
smiled Carville as Grayson chuckled.
Why is it such a surprise these days when a Democrat, like Grayson did both on CNN and on the House floor, actually shows some spine? "Democrats have to have guts," the poised Grayson told CNN's audience and his quavering co-panelists.
Straight talk...from a Democrat. Sounds vaguely familiar.
When the gutsy Grayson then called Republicans "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals" on Wolf Blitzer's usually insipid chatfest, you could almost hear millions of viewers shout, "Yessss!"
Panelist Gloria Borger asked Grayson what his provocative comments on the House floor - about the GOP's plan being "Don't Get Sick" and if you do, "Die Quickly," did to help get health care passed, he quickly replied:
It gets us back on track. We're waiting and waiting while people are dying.
Why is this one of the first times we're hearing straight talk from a Democrat on cable news channels about people dying while Congress dithers - blunt talk that also addresses and demolishes Republican-spread vicious lies and nonsense like "death panels"?
It's not a bad thing, being a vertebrate. More Democrats should follow Grayson's example and try it, especially considering the vicious lies the far right wing (i.e., the Republican Party) is constantly throwing at the President.
One hand-wringing CNN panelist asked Grayson what the difference was between his floor comments and the insults directed at President Obama by "Old Yeller," aka Cong. Joe Wilson.
New Jersey Democratic Cong. Frank Pallone, on Air America's "Stephanie Miller Show" Thursday, had the best answer: "Grayson's comments were aimed at all Republicans. Wilson's attacked an individual, which is against Congressional rules."
Blitzer, almost in shock, asked Grayson if calling Republicans "Neanderthals" wasn't "a huge insult."
Not as much an insult as the GOP consistently saying "No" to every health-care proposal while people are dying, replied Grayson cooly.
Blitzer, asking the kind of deeply probing question one normally only hears from Larry "The Radio Artifact" King on CNN, then asked Grayson to "walk us through" the process as he carried his "Don't Get Sick" and "Die Quickly" signs onto the house floor.
Funny -- I don't recall Blitzer asking Sen. Charles "Snake In The" Grassley his thought process after Grassley fashioned signs with cartoon dragons for one recent Senate health-care stemwinder, signs openly mocked that same evening by Jon Stewart.
CNN Republican-in-residence Alex Castellanos then claimed that the GOP did have a health plan -- one that included, of course, tort reform. Grayson smiled and waved him off dismissively.
If today's Republicans had been around when the Black Plague was killing millions -- and maybe a few were -- they would have suggested tort reform as the solution.
Thanks again, Rep. Grayson. It's heartening to see a Democrat finally acting like the Democrats (e.g., Tip O'Neill, Lyndon Johnson) many of us remember -- guys who actually got things done.
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