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A-Block (1:41) SPECIAL COMMENT: The State of the Union Address has long since become an anachronism; devolving into a series of insiders talking to insiders and pointing to ordinary citizens as if they were creatures on display at a zoo; e a ritual with the meaning sucked out of it; an ever-louder arguing for resuming what President Thomas Jefferson first thought to do: to just write the damn speech and have somebody else drop it off at the House Chamber door

And against that backdrop of near-obsolescence, President Joe Biden absolutely KILLED The State of the Union last night.

At his finest, at his most robust, at his most combative, in his element, in the arena, throwing punches, blocking the hecklers, and unashamedly exploiting the undeniable advantage of having the only microphone in the room, he delivered a masterpiece. I don’t know how many of these I have heard and how many of the claims and promises and attitudes and catchphrases and applause lines I have heard at 9:30 and forgotten by 11, but this one I’ll remember: roads and infrastructure and education and insulin caps and unfair taxes and hidden service fees and cable costs and raising teachers’ pay and quadrupling the stock buyback tax, and non-compete clauses for fast food cashiers and “The Talk” and “Something Good Must Come From This” and “Do Something” and “Ban Assault Weapons Now”

And without one of them ever seeing it coming, he provided the coup-de-grace: baiting the Republicans into loudly and embarrassingly shouting and bleating and denying what they’ve all been murmuring about all week: baiting the Republicans into insisting no, they don’t want to gut social security and medicare.

And thank you to Marjorie Tailor Greene as Cruella deVil and Kyrsten Sinema as Tweety after the car airbags had inflated and especially Trump for choosing, of all days, the afternoon of the SOTU to accuse Ron DeSantis of "grooming high school girls."

Few political speeches are great. Fewer still are masterpieces. THAT was an actual masterpiece.

B-Block (13:29) POSTSCRIPTS TO THE NEWS: Flaco the escaped Central Park Zoo Eagle-Owl RETURNS to the zoo...and then leaves again for Wollman Rink but is scared away by the unbelievably loud P.A. system? (14:56) IN SPORTS: Aaron Rodgers doesn't know people close their blinds when they go to sleep and LeBron James once tried to get an ESPN sportscaster fired because he thought she was mean to him? (17:00) THE WORST PERSONS IN THE WORLD: American opinion weaponizes against The New McCarthyism and Kevin McCarthy's "Weaponization" subcommittee while George Santos may bring Lee Zeldin down with him, and a London tabloid anoints a dark horse GOP presidential candidate for 2024. Or maybe it's 2022. Or maybe it's 2020. They refer to all three!

C-Block (22:30) EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY: Nigel, in New York (23:30) THINGS I PROMISED NOT TO TELL: Joe Biden's State of the Union last night may have been an epic all-timer. The 1998 one came at the very start of the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal and MSNBC didn't choose an anchor for its coverage until almost the last minute. Imagine my surprise when that anchor turned out to be... ME.

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