On Wednesday evening, “The Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell ran a vicious segment hammering Paul Ryan as the worst Speaker of the House of Representatives in American history. O’Donnell was particularly upset by what he termed Ryan’s “unrelenting cowardice,” “weakness,” and “subservience when faced with a President Donald Trump and rampant Trumpism in the House of Representatives.”
But the MSNBC host didn’t stop there. In furtherance of his argument that Ryan is literally the “worst speaker ever,” O’Donnell made the bizarre case that even though Ryan is not “the worst person who has been Speaker of the House,” he is still worse than “pedophile Dennis Hastert” and “slave-owning Speakers of the House” because “they were all more effective” politicians [transcript from NewsBusters; emphasis mine]:
O’DONNELL: And so Paul Ryan will take his place in history as simply the worst of this country's Speakers of the House of Representatives. And he has earned that position in history through unprecedented and unrelenting cowardice as Speaker of the House, an office that is constitutionally capable of containing and controlling an out-of-control president. But Paul Ryan surrendered all of his powers to the Trump presidency. Previous Speakers of the House have relished their powers over the president, have turned presidents into beggars for legislative favors.
But Paul Ryan looked into his political soul and found nothing. Nothing but weakness and subservience when faced with a President Donald Trump and rampant Trumpism in the House of Representatives. Paul Ryan is not even close to being the worst person who has been Speaker of the House. Pedophile Dennis Hastert served eight years as the Republican Speaker of the House, only to be revealed in his retirement to be a criminal. And before the Civil War, of course, we had slave-owning Speakers of the House. But they were all more effective in their job as speaker than Paul Ryan.
In other news, MSNBC is probably going to run a few dozen more segments this week blaming Trump and other Republicans for debasing the level of public discourse in this country (without a hint of self-awareness, of course).