I have a confession to make, my fellow liberals: I have never liked Keith Olbermann.

I agree with most of his political opinions, of course. But for some reason, he always seemed like a jerk to me. I feel bad saying that about a guy I never met, but he just does. I could never stand to watch his show Countdown on MSNBC or Current TV for very long; I mean, sure, he was very witty and clever in mocking various Republicans, which of course is something I am quite in favor of, but the guy just annoyed me. He has a way of speaking always slightly too loudly. (A trait he shares with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, although Olbermann does at least have a better speaking voice) Everything Olbermann said and did on his show seemed so overly theatrical, it was hard to take him seriously at all.

I also thought he was incredibly obnoxious on NBC’s Football Night in America. It seemed like he only had three or four jokes that he used every Sunday night during the highlights. I always dreaded when anybody fumbled the ball just because I knew Olbermann was going to say “so-and-so is stripped–fortunately only of the football.” It was funny the first ten times, man.

I suspect he actually is a jerk; at least, that would explain why he keeps getting fired from every network he goes to.

But at least he is partially responsible for Rachel Maddow getting her altogether superior liberal talk-show. That’s something to his credit.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

 “The benefits of drilling accrue to a private company, but the risks of that drilling accrue to we the American people.” says Maddow.

I like Maddow, but she’s waaayy oversimplifying here: the benefits do not accrue just to private companies. They also accrue to… wait for it… the American people, at least the ones who use oil-fueled transportation, or in some way benefit from the activities of the people who do. I think that’s everybody.

Progressives like Maddow prefer to ignore this fact, and act as if companies are mindlessly drilling oil to magically make money for themselves at the expense of others. But that’s not the case, and acting like it is and ruthlessly punishing BP will not get the job done.

Look, I agree BP needs to pay a price. But there’s a certain unthinking vindictiveness in the liberals’ rhetoric that disturbs me. They really seem to view oil companies as 100% pure evil, that provide no service, but merely enrich themselves.

Mock me if you like, but I’m one of the few people who thinks Obama is handling this situation in precisely the right way. He’s taking a measured and considered approach to the situation, and properly recognizing the complexities involved.

NewsBusters gives their analysis of The Chris Matthews show’s analysis of why that is. NewsBusters probably thinks it’s because Obama is an idiot, and Chris Matthews’ crew… well, they don’t really know why, but they sure like to speculate randomly about it. They generally feel it’s because he’s uncomfortable because of the time constraints.

Well, each explanation might be correct. But I have an alternate theory: I suspect Obama may be finally starting to figure this charisma thing out. He knows that it’s the best weapon in his–and his party’s–arsenal, and that by using it sparingly it only becomes more effective. Last year, as Helene Cooper rightly says, Obama was basically overexposed. (Of course, she then wanders off onto the idea that the press conference was boring–more on that below.) Not that charisma wears out, of course; but it’s still best to hold your most powerful asset in reserve for when you really need it–which for Obama will be in 2012.

If I were in his shoes, I’d keep a low profile for a while–let everyone forget about him.

Now, as for the Matthews gang, what the hell is this: “It was a lot of econ, it was a lot of just in the weeds stuff. It got really boring. I thought.” It’s only boring if you’re a shallow person, with no interest in policy matters. The President’s job is not to entertain you. Part of the reason charisma is such a big factor in Presidential elections is that people forget this fact.

Also, Chris Matthews, well… I stand by my previous statement regarding Matthews.

Today the Supreme Court ruled that businesses and unions can spend their own money on political ads endorsing or opposing a candidate. This raises a question I have long wondered about: how effective are political ads?

Do you really base who you are going to vote for on what ads on TV say? If  there are a lot of people who are that gullible, the Nation is doomed no matter what the Supreme Court rules on this issue. Seriously, I can barely remember any ads from the last Presidential campaign. And I’m fairly confident that my decision was not swayed by them one way or another.

I can’t speak for most people on this issue. And let’s face it; if you’ve brainwashed someone correctly, they’ll swear up and down they were not brainwashed. So I can’t be sure the ads didn’t affect me. 

A friend of mine was telling me that the real danger here is that corporations will disguise the ads to look like authentic news broadcasts–like is sometimes done in infomercials. This will confuse people into believing they’re watching a unbiased newscast that’s saying “Candidate X eats babies.”

I don’t buy it. The only people stupid enough to fall for that are probably already watching their favorite propaganda network (Fox news or MSNBC) anyway. Their votes are locked in. The swing voters aren’t, for the most part, dumb enough to be tricked like that.