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MSNBC Panel Members Slam Bachmann and GOP 'Haters'

Media Research CenterAs MSNBC's Al Sharpton hosted a panel on Wednesday's PoliticsNation to discuss Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann's retirement, MSNBC analyst Karen Finney claimed that Bachmann never had an idea "that wasn't about hate or wasn't about being against something," while MSNBC analyst and former Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendell similarly charged that historians will put her "in a group of people during this era who were just haters, who breeded hate and discontent."

After Sharpton introduced the panel by asking how history would treat Bachmann, Rendell replied:

Well, I think she'll be put in a group of people during this era who were just haters, who breeded hate and discontent and tried to separate the American people into groups and tried to create wrath of citizens of one group on another. I think she was a very destructive force. And I think she'll be grouped with a lot of people in that grouping, and I think she'll just be a footnote. Probably her greatest legacy is trying to repeal ObamaCare 38 times, a huge waste of time and taxpayer money.

A bit later, after showing a number of clips of Bachmann that have been ridiculed by her critics, the MSNBC host turned to Finney, who charged:

She will be infamous in some ways. But, you know, I think she also represents what Bob Dole was talking about over the weekend in terms of a Republican Party that is devoid of ideas. I mean, nothing of what you just showed, and really I can't think of one idea that Michele Bachmann had on her own that wasn't about hate or wasn't about being against something else, not a positive, proactive idea. That's how she tried to build her career. That's how she built her reputation.

Sharpton soon wondered:

Is Michele Bachmann representative of the decay of the Republican Party as we know it, with the right wingers have just been totally obsessed with just trying to tear down this President? It's all around a personality more than a philosophy because they haven't really achieved anything. It's been basically the demonizing of Barack Obama as President.

Rendell suggested that modern Republicans are "hateful" unlike GOP presidents and presidential candidates from the past:

If you look at Barry Goldwater, he stood for something. And it was something that wasn`t distrustful and it wasn't hateful. Ronald Reagan, we may have disagreed with him, but he stood for something and it wasn't distrustful and it wasn't hateful. And George W. Bush was never a hateful person. He never was a hateful person.

The Pennsylvania Democrat soon added: "They represent nothing but destruction, nothing but negativism, no hope, no ideas."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, May 29, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, 100 years from now, take a visionary trip with me. What will historians say about the Michele Bachmann era?

FORMER GOVRNOR ED RENDELL (D-PA): Well, I think she'll be put in a group of people during this era who were just haters, who breeded hate and discontent and tried to separate the American people into groups and tried to create wrath of citizens of one group on another. I think she was a very destructive force. And I think she'll be grouped with a lot of people in that grouping, and I think she'll just be a footnote. Probably her greatest legacy is trying to repeal ObamaCare 38 times, a huge waste of time and taxpayer money.

(...)

SHARPTON, AFTER SHOWING CLIPS OF REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): I mean, how do you build a legacy out of that, Karen?

KAREN FINNEY, FORMER DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that speaks for itself. She will be infamous in some ways. But, you know, I think she also represents what Bob Dole was talking about over the weekend in terms of a Republican Party that is devoid of ideas.

I mean, nothing of what you just showed, and really I can't think of one idea that Michele Bachmann had on her own that wasn't about hate or wasn't about being against something else, not a positive, proactive idea. That's how she tried to build her career. That's how she built her reputation.

I hope that what this is signal for is that there is a limit, even in a very Republican district, to how much people will take. And, looking at how hard this race was going to be for her, I hope that's a sign that, you know, at some point voters say, you know what, time out, enough is enough. We don't want to be the butt of jokes anymore. We don't want to be embarrassed by her gaffes anymore, and we don't want to be represented by somebody who's not willing to get things done.

SHARPTON: Now, Governor, I don't want the whole show to be just on Michele Bachmann, there's a bigger picture here. And that is that in my lifetime I've seen the Goldwater Republicans when I was a pre-teenager, when I was a kid, all the way to the Reagan Republicans, all the way to George Bush. We've seen what we call the Rockefeller Republicans.

Is Michele Bachmann representative of the decay of the Republican Party as we know it, with the right wingers have just been totally obsessed with just trying to tear down this President? It's all around a personality more than a philosophy because they haven't really achieved anything. It's been basically the demonizing of Barack Obama as President.

RENDELL: Well, I agree. ... But I think Karen is exactly right and you're exactly right. If you look at Barry Goldwater, he stood for something. And it was something that wasn`t distrustful and it wasn't hateful. Ronald Reagan, we may have disagreed with him, but he stood for something and it wasn't distrustful and it wasn't hateful. And George W. Bush was never a hateful person. He never was a hateful person.

This Republican Party, which is embodied by Michele Bachmann, as you said, she wasn't a joke. She was the head of the Republican polls. She won the Iowa straw vote. She was not an insignificant figure in the party. And it was full of just negativism and hate and it was directed at President Obama and he was the easy target for them.

But President Obama could do no right in their eyes, even when he led and authorized the raid that killed bin Laden, there was praise for the SEAL team, there was praise for this, there was praise for that, there wasn't praise for the President who had the guts to authorize a mission that, had it failed, it would have been a major disaster.

So Karen is exactly right. They represent nothing but destruction, nothing but negativism, no hope, no ideas. And that's why I think  they're coming to stand for it. And that's the reason, the war (?) is turning, slowly, but the war (?) is turning.

-- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center