MSNBC's Monday programming was dedicated to denouncing Sen. Mitch McConnell's response to a question about whether Obama is a Muslim.
McConnell said: "We all have to rely on the word of (Barack Obama) -- something about as reliable as a credit default swap."
No, I'm sorry, that's what The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan said about whether Trig Palin was really Sarah Palin's child.
McConnell responded by demanding that Obama be fired -- or at least have his security clearance suspended.
No, no -- wrong again: That was Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Chuck Schumer, respectively, not taking Karl Rove at his word when he said he had not released Valerie Plame's name to the press. (It turned out Rove was telling the truth; it was Richard Armitage, and it wasn't a crime.)
What McConnell actually said in response to the Muslim question was: "The president says he's a Christian. I take him at his word. I don't think that's in dispute."
Over at MSNBC, that's Republican code for: "He's a Muslim!"
North Korean TV's Ed Schultz hysterically babbled: "McConnell gave cover. That's what he did. He gave cover to all those low information voters out there who still believe this garbage about President Obama being a Muslim. ... The Republican leadership just loves to feed the fire."
Chris Matthews was so impressed with Schultz's nonsensical argument that he spent the entire hour on NKTV's "Hardball" making the same one: McConnell had expressed insufficient fervor when he said he believed Obama was a Christian! (Perhaps if McConnell had added something about a thrill running up his leg ...)
The statement "I take him at his word," Matthews said, was a "pitch-perfect dog whistle to the haters." He continued: "Yes, sure, whatever he says. Right. This is not about belief. It's an accusation that President Obama is not one of us. The right wing's attempt to de-Americanize the president."
What else is there besides Obama's word? If Obama suddenly announced that he was a Muslim -- or a Buddhist -- what evidence would Matthews cite to prove him wrong?
Meanwhile, liberals absolutely refuse to take Republicans at their word when they identify their own children. Or deny leaking a low-level CIA functionary's name to the press.
Or when they deny they are racists.
Indeed, Matthews' guest, Howard Fineman of Newsweek, accused the entire state of Kentucky of bigotry to explain McConnell's "crafted" words.
Kentucky, Fineman said, is "a state where the nativist appeal outside of Louisville really works big-time." The Republicans, he said, are "going to use whatever fear message they can. It's aimed at Kentucky, for sure."
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