I’m probably leading with the wrong part of this clip, as his claim that Trump has done more damage to America than Bin Laden or ISIS is obviously more incendiary. But it’s not as newsworthy because that’s standard Olbermann. Insane hyperbole about the horrors of Republican presidents had been his shtick for more than a decade. Him thinking Trump is a bigger threat than Al Qaeda is the ultimate dog-bites-man story.
But him owing an apology to John McCain and George W. Bush? Sweet sassy molassy. A not insignificant part of Hot Air’s content in the site’s early days was responding to the evening “Special Comment” about Bush by Olby on MSNBC. There was nothing like it on TV before and there hasn’t been anything like it since. No one worked himself into a lather about a political opponent as pompously or as regularly as Olbermann. Bush should resign; Bush was a fascist; Bush should shut the hell up!!1! He beat up on McCain during the 2008 election too, with enough relish that it caught the attention of Maverick’s then 97-year-old mother, who said of Olbermann a year later, “I can’t figure out that type of person, who really gets joy out of denigrating people. Thank God I’m not around people like him.” Today her granddaughter had to sit there and listen to Olby patronize her about how her dad is his favorite politician of the century, likely for no better reason than that he cast a vote to save ObamaCare and has had cutting things to say about Trumpism. At one point he tried to commiserate with her about being out of the dreaded cable-news business, which, she complained, leads to bitter hyperpartisanship. Yeah, he agreed! Meanwhile, his new “Special Comments” at GQ are even more ludicrously vicious about the other team than his MSNBC ones were.
The weirdest part is watching him in low-key mode, cordially engaging Meghan McCain as she tries to manage her contempt for his Bin Laden comments. Olbermann was on TV for many years as a political commentator at MSNBC and Current TV and you never saw this side of him. He had two modes: Furious sanctimony at the right and ingratiating interviews with guests who reliably told him what he wanted to hear. To watch him handle a political disagreement with aplomb, even if it involved some ass-kissing to find common ground, is like seeing a unicorn. Exit quotation from a Twitter pal: “The great irony is if people like Olbermann hadn’t been so over the top about GWB, McCain and Romney, Trump probably would not have happened.”