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."
I believe the Bluegrass state has just been called "nativist" without any evidence at all! Was Kentucky's father a nativist? Was it educated in a nativist madrassa as a child? Did Kentucky just endorse the idea of a nativist cultural center at Ground Zero?
On the following night's "Hardball," Tuesday, Matthews and his guest, The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page, refused to take Glenn Beck at his word when he said that he picked the day for his Lincoln Memorial rally without realizing it was the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. (Everybody knows the 47th anniversary is the big one!)
Accusations of racism apparently do not require the ironclad proof demanded for accusations that someone is a Muslim.
And there's a lot more evidence that Obama's a Muslim than Republicans are racists. Let's compare:
Evidence for the Proposition That Obama's a Muslim: His father was a Muslim; his mother, an atheist, married two Muslims; he attended a Muslim school in Indonesia from age 6 to 10; and, during the campaign, he proudly posted on his webpage his statement that America is "no longer" a Christian nation, a statement he has repeated as president, while announcing on French TV that America is "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."
Evidence for the Proposition That Republicans Are Racist: (Nothing so far.)
Evidence for the Proposition That Liberals Lie About Republicans Being Racist: Video of a supporter of Rand Paul's opponent pretending to be a racist Paul supporter; Oregon public school teacher Jason Levin caught operating a website asking liberals to show up at Tea Parties pretending to be right-wing racists; The New York Times' Maureen Dowd claiming she heard Rep. Joe Wilson shout, "You lie, boy!" when he shouted "You lie!" during Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress; and the mainstream media lying about civil rights hero John Lewis being called the N-word 15 times at an anti-ObamaCare protest, with no one ever being able to produce a videotape, despite a $100,000 reward.
If Republicans played by liberal rules, they'd just call Obama a racist, who leaked Valerie Plame's name to the press, is not Sasha's father, and smokes Newports, not Kools.