Speaking with fellow MSNBC host Chris Hayes on his online podcast “Why Is This Happening,” Rachel Maddow claimed she was a religious person, but then ripped evangelicals, ranting that Liberty University isn’t “actual higher education.”
Discussing the case of former Vice-President Spiro Agnew, who resigned after being charged with financial corruption, Maddow pontificated:
I mean, I am a religious person. I am a person who has a belief in God and has religious faith, and thinks about things in terms of how we all answer to God at the end of our lives, and so therefore, I believe that those types of badness are related, because they come from the same bad place in the universe. But that is a fundamentally non-scientific way of looking at it … I mean, I’m telling you my prejudice on these things is like, yeah, corruption and racist demagoguery must go together because those things come from the same dark part of the earth. But, I mean, it may just as easily be coincidence.
The conversation segued to former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, with Hayes and Maddow comparing her to Agnew:
Maddow: So that was the strain of McCain-ism that they wanted to elevate, and she did actually have a noble record in terms of standing up to the oil industry and the old boys’ club in the Alaska government, and I think that’s what they thought they were getting with her.
Hayes: But instead, they got their own version of a 21st-century …
Maddow: Yeah, yeah.
Hayes: I mean, yeah, her job was to go out … I mean, what is remarkable about listening to the Agnew speeches in “Bag Man,” it’s like there’s not that much has changed. The only thing that is unnerving is that the only thing that’s changed is that, like, it’s all gotten way less literate than it was then.
Maddow: Yeah, I was just going to say, he was better at being Palin than she was.
As might be expected, an elitist attack on Fox News followed, as Maddow theorized:
And to see the most educated districts in the country go completely blue, like 98 percent blue across the country, we should’ve probably seen some of this when it became a sort of Fox News trope within the last three or four years that kids shouldn’t go to college, you know, that college is a bad thing. This anti-intellectual, anti-elite line of argument that we’ve seen from right wing populists since the beginning of time, it ultimately has an effect.
That was immediately followed by the attack on evangelicals, as Maddow stated:
We’ve got a new Justice Department spokesperson who’s from Liberty University, and Liberty University was founded by a televangelist so that your Christian child wouldn’t be corrupted by actual higher education. And now that’s the spokesperson for the Justice Department. These things add up. They have real results in the world. Is there going to be a backlash to that? Is there going to be a resurgent intellectualism in hard line conservatism that isn’t the kind of white supremacist stuff that we’re seeing, which is the pseudo-intellectual stuff, right? I don’t know, but it adds up. It adds up over time.
Later, Maddow rambled about people in positions of power lying, singling out President Trump and Department of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen:
Because now we’re all living in a world, we’re all citizens of a country in which people in the highest ranking political positions in the country can lie regularly, flagrantly get caught — even about humiliatingly small and self-serving things — and nothing happens because of it. And that’s our life now. That’s not just the life of Donald Trump and the life of Kirstjen Nielsen and all of these people. That’s our lives, and if we don’t want to live in that kind of a country again, I have no idea how we go back to our old expectations of what public and political life is.
Ignoring the history of Hillary Clinton and her emails, Maddow continued, “I mean, I am a little romantic about the constitution, and so I think that, in part, the truth comes out on these things because these are matters of law enforcement, and law enforcement follows a non-political track in our country, where evidence gets preserved.