One of my guilty pleasures is watching The McLaughlin Group on Friday evenings. My son has to leave the room, as he can't stand hearing me debate the people on tv and tell them how stupid (or how right) they are. Let's discuss the panelists.
John McLaughlin is fine, but then again, it's his show. His panel consists of two people to represent "the right" and two to represent "the left", and the verbal brawl begins as they debate the raging issues of the day.
Pat Buchanan is a regular on the show, representing the right. I would like to see him replaced. Pat doesn't represent too many values that I consider conservative. He's an isolationist, for God's sake. And his voice is extremely grating. I think John keeps him on because they've been friends since before they both worked for Nixon.
Eleanor Clift of Newsweek is a regular representing the left. Experiencing the banshee that is Eleanor is to know the exquisite joy of fingernails on a chalkboard. Tonight she was such a shrill harpie that she made fellow left panelist Arianna Huffington seem positively reasonable and intelligent by comparison. I told Eleanor tonight (I'm sure she can hear me) that she carries so much water for President Obama that she's going to hurt her back. She has always been a die-hard Democrat-supporter and leftist; during the Clinton Administration a friend and I referred to her as Eleanor Rodham Clift. She and Pat, who I've read get along very well "in real life", should both be replaced.
The second "left" seat changes, and this was the first time I've seen Arianna sitting in it. I usually don't have many kind things to say about Arianna, but tonight she presented herself extremely well. She came across as reasonably knowledgeable and calm, certain in her beliefs but not pushy. I like it best when Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page fills that seat, but Arianna performed admirably. Actually, Arianna and Clarence would make a great team--are you listening, John? Billionaire Mort Zuckerman is the most common occupant of the chair recently; I wonder what happened to Clarence.
The second "right" seat is often filled by talk radio host and political commentator Monica Crowley. Monica strikes me as the most well-spoken, organized, knowledgeable panelist on the show, but often is shouted down by Clift, who just can't let someone else speak. Monica's polite, in command of the facts, and always wears a smile, even when on the attack. If I were ever in a debate, I'd want Monica, or someone like her, on my team. She's what I consider a good, solid conservative, and an attractive woman as well.
And that's how I spend a half an hour each Friday night at Casa de RightOnTheLeftCoast. Yes, I admit it--for a half an hour a week I watch PBS!