Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rachel, Rachel

The political season has produced a new female star. She's got daily, national exposure on television. She's visibly partisan and not unattractive. She is a darling to the base and a thorn in the side of those she disagrees with. And she's not from Washington, DC.

It's not Sarah Palin.

It's Rachel Maddow, and she's from western Massachusetts. Unlike Palin, Rachel really knows a lot about the issues. Always well-informed, she gets her points across with keen, but not cutting, wit. She knows how to be funny. And she doesn't mind hearing opposing views. Despite her obvious liberal leanings, she regularly invites arch-conservative Pat Buchanan onto the show. They parry in most entertaining fashion.

She calls the Buchanan segment "It's Pat". Does Pat know it's the same name as a once-famous skit on Saturday Night Live about a sexually ambiguous creature named Pat? We're not sure, but we're pretty sure Rachel does.

Maddow's ratings have been a pleasant surprise for her employers at MSNBC. Actually it has been rather a shock. She's now the second-most watched show on cable news. Can this be the dawn of literacy and intelligence on television news? Don't get too hopeful. But it kind of feels like it might be.