Every cable news network these days, it seems, wants to have a resident crackpot to draw an audience of gawkers, the masses H.L. Mencken once referred to famously as "the boob-wa-sie."
CNN has Lou Dobbs. Fox News, of course, has cap-and-bells guy/rubber-room candidate Glenn Beck, and MSNBC has Joe Scarborough, who once stormed off the set last fall when Rachel Maddow offended his tender sensibilities. Even a sober outfit like C-SPAN has Cong. Michelle Bachmann, the best-known of the GOP psychic exiles who crawl out from under rocks for the Congressional cameras. (Bachman is the go-to gal on Ed Schultz's "Psycho Talk" MSNBC segment. )
Even a usually serious business network -- when the stock market is open, anyway -- CNBC, has not one but two sideshow acts in residence -- Jim Cramer, of course, but also Larry Kudlow. But Cramer's far more consumer-friendly than Wall Street shill Kudlow, who's yet to have his comeuppance, unlike Cramer. It's long overdue.
Kudlow, possibly the only guy on cable to interrupts people more often than Chris Matthews, hasn't gotten the critical attention he deserves lately. But it's hardly for lack of trying.
We've learned a lot lately about what happens when capitalism goes off the rails after being virtually unregulated. Examples are Matt Taibbi's brilliant financial reporting on the predatory, bubble-creating Goldman Sachs recently in Rolling Stone, and New York Times columnist Bob Herbert's piece on the financial industry and banks fighting pro-consumer reforms ("Chutzpah on Steroids").
Kudlow, who until recently showed an interest in running for the Senate from Connecticut (we dodged that bullet) as, natch, a Republican, feels your pain. If you're a banker or a free trader, that is -- not, of course, if you're one of those millions of whiners who are out of work or have lost their 401(k)'s. Kudlow, undaunted by history, is the cable world's staunchest defender of the indefensible.
There's no more prominent supply-sider in the media today than Kudlow -- his Kudlow Report weeknights on CNBC supplies more pure B.S. about delusional "government interference" in an hour than the Fox Business Network does in a day. (But Kudlow doesn't show half as much leg as FBN's babes. Another bullet dodged.)
To demonstrate his serious approach to examining major financial issues, one day this week Kudlow invited the estimable tin-foil-hat lady, Rep. Bachmann, on The Kudlow Report to discuss her imaginative plan to audit the Fed.
Then, on a segment about looming income-tax increases, the abrasive Kudlow showed charts, a CNBC staple, that were helpfully supplied one of his nutty panelists -- and the, um, Cato Institute.
The chart supposedly showed the current U.S. tax rate at 42 % (it's actually closer to 30%), and next to it a graph labeled "with Obama tax hike" at 47%. With national health-care, another chart showed, it will supposedly rise to 51%, which, Kudlow indignantly barked, "is substantially above Germany, Italy and France."
"Those charts are misleading," said another panelist off-camera, but Kudlow waved him off. Imagine.
Here's another Kudlow-ism uttered this week you may wish to laminate for your wallet:
"China is not playing along with all this global-warming hysteria."
One wonders: Is the preternaturally annoying Kudlow really the best front man the Wall Street booster club Teddy Roosevelt memorably described as "the malefactors of great wealth" can produce?
If so, those of us Kudlow referred to as "G-8, Obama, and that crowd" can take solace.
Fox News boor Bill O'Reilly is constantly whining about NBC's supposed liberal bias. Someone should remind this clown about Larry Kudlow, the capitalist tool.
In fact, a better name for Kudlow's CNBC show: "Tool Time."