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Lefties let loose at Public Citizen tribute to Phil Donahue: Love him, hate (almost) everybody else

Phil Donahue and Sen. Al Franken at Public Citizen's awards dinner July 15, 2010. (Public Citizen)

Get a bunch of lefties together, mix liberally with wine, and the bombs start exploding.

Public Citizen, the consumer group founded by Ralph Nader, gave its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Phil Donahue on Thursday night at the National Press Club. There were plenty of tributes for the talk show host, but it was impossible for the room full of pumped-up progressives to get through the evening without finding plenty of people to criticize -- including Barack Obama.

"We have a president that many of us, particularly here on the left, we really want to cheer," investigative journalist Seymour Hersh told the crowd. "But the reality is -- and it's a horrible reality -- we're probably in more dangerous times now than we even were under Bush and Cheney in terms of this insane war . . . nobody serious thinks we have a chance."

More baddies: MSNBC, which, according to Rep. John Conyers, bounced Donahue from the air for opposing the Iraq war: "He became dangerous to the establishment." Oil companies, big corporations, reporters ("The complicity and the passivity of the of the media today knows no boundaries," Nader said), the Bush administration and the Supreme Court. "This is the most activist court in history and every decision one-sided," Sen. Al Franken told the crowd. "They put not just their thumb on the scales of justice on behalf of corporations, but their fists, with brass knuckles."

But there was only love for Donahue. Before cable, Internet and Oprah, there was the white-haired talk-show host who loved to argue about social and political issues. His syndicated show lasted 26 years and won 20 Emmys. His favorite guest? Nader, who appeared on the show 36 times, more than any other person. The two men became close friends, and Donahue campaigned for Nader in his 2000 presidential bid.

Donahue, now 74 and still brimming with energy, stepped up to accept his award and went on for 40 minutes, without notes and barely taking a breath. "I can't think of any other single development in my own personal life . . . that is more consequential for me than to have met the people through Ralph who have introduced me to so many people of conscience -- to the people I admired and wanted to be," he said.

Do we smell comeback? Stay tuned.

By The Reliable Source  |  July 19, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
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Now that sounds like my kind of party!

Posted by: alex35332 | July 19, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

can he please replace larry king?

Posted by: plathman | July 19, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Obama just because he was the lesser of two evils. I really didn't buy into the "Change", "Hope", "Transparency of Government", "No lobbyists in the White House", "End the Occupations", and other campaign junk. I just hoped that he would be different from Bush. Unfortunately the President doesn't run the county, Wall Street, Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Central Banks of the World do. A part of this reality is that these organizations are run by people who just happen to be Jewish, which means that they pander to Israels agenda like the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and 3.8 billion of taxpayers money every year to Israel for implements of war.

The really sad thing is that we will never be able to vote our way out of our predicament because everyone we elect, rep or dem, is corruptible, or if not, is such a small minority that he can't do anything for the working man. Our only salvation would be an actual revolution. Hopefully it will be a bloodless one and hopefully it's not to late in coming.

Posted by: steveola251c | July 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The only people who would want a war is the GOP we need to bring our troops home and yeah Bush and Cheney would know how to run a war better but who cares.
They certainly didn't know how to run a country.

Their tax cuts created 3 trillion dollars worth of dept in his 1st year and created 3 million people to lose their jobs in his last 4 months .You do the math.

Posted by: whales60 | July 19, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Great. From the people who brought us the 2000 election, we get left-wing self destruction.

Remember? These are the people who told us there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush, that it didn't matter which we elected. Then they took just enough of the liberal vote to give Bush Florida's electoral votes and the 2000 presidential election. Now they're after Obama. Great.

I like these guys as individuals, but I'm not listening to them on Obama. They were wrong about Gore big time. And they're acting like the left-wing version of the tea party, trying to push the Democrats to the unelectable extreme. Love him or not, for now Obama is what stands between us and the economic, international and cultural disaster that is the Republican party. Give to the rich and hope it trickles down, wage pre-emptive war with corporate mercenaries, persecute free thinkers. Just as Gore offered a real choice, so Obama does. Cut it out, guys.

Posted by: cassandra9 | July 19, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

plathman, you're brilliant. That's a great idea.

Posted by: Dan4 | July 19, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

rofl some 'story' - the body doesn't even match the headline. This is bad, even by WaPo standards.

Posted by: blazertaco | July 19, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"But the reality is -- and it's a horrible reality -- we're probably in more dangerous times now than we even were under Bush and Cheney in terms of this insane war . . . nobody serious thinks we have a chance."

Seymour Hersh 2010

"You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow,” she went on in a convinced way. “Everybody thinks so—the most advanced people."

Daisy Buchanan 1922

Posted by: 54465446 | July 19, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

This is great to hear. Even though I'd consider myself a Conservative Republican (i.e. keep federal spending less than 20 percent of GDP, limit abortion, etc), I had grave issues with our Iraq conflict prior to the surge in 2007 -- and even voted for the Democrats (i.e. Webb) in 2006...which I now regret. I don't like what's going on in Afghanistan presently either and think it was unfair of Republicans back in the mid-2000s to criticize opponants to the war as "unpatriotic" or "anti-american" and a lot of other terrible things (i.e. like what the Democrats are presently saying about those opposing Obama's liberal agenda).

I think we really need to rethink Afghanistan and need to question whether or not our civilian leaders taking us there really are serious about the serious commitment that Afghanistan will entail for perhaps decades to come. My opinion is that if we don't supply the full resources needed for a realistic success in such a hostile terrain and promise phony deadlines for the supposed surge's end even before its in full force, we should just cancel the surge and begin to leave. We've been there for nearly a decade and I don't believe the civilian leadership (i.e. the Administration) really cares to be there -- so if they really don't care to be there, how do they expect ordinary citizens to want to engage in what is becoming a no-win war there anyway??

These are important questions and someone -- anyone on the left or right should ask them. As it stands now, I think we're in big trouble in Afghanistan and its only getting worse by the day --- and the President is too busy golfing and having temper tantrums for show. Maybe his "surge" is for show too because he's too much of a coward to come out and admit he wants to withdraw. If that's what he wants, he should do it and not use our soldiers and our money as a PR show.

Posted by: chrojo01 | July 19, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

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