Drift by Rachel Maddow

1140 words 5 pages
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow Rachel Maddow makes the argument of how America has been rising to a state of military power through her wit and humor, just like her television news show. The appeal of Rachel Maddow lies in her ratio of comedian to wonk. On TV, she dives into charts and graphs and long, winding fact trails, unafraid of “geeking out” because she can depend on her funniness to save her. She connects the dots from fact to fact, or statistic to policy, and along the way a parachute of jokes opens. So, sure, I’m a fan. But I worried that Maddow wouldn’t be as sharp on the page. After all, she’s a big enough celebrity that she could outsource the hard work to a half-dozen MSNBC interns …show more content…

These are details that I’d forgotten. By making us remember, Maddow doesn’t just send up Reagan. She reminds us how easy it is for the government to make claims that are utterly ridiculous only in retrospect. The set piece of Drift is Iran-Contra, or as Maddow calls it, the “single hyphenated mega-scandal” that “created a crisis from which we still have not recovered.” The lingering wound is the theory of nearly unlimited executive power made by then Attorney General Edwin Meese. It went like this, as Maddow puts it, “ ‘Fuck Congress,’ only in Latin.” Meese’s ideas should have died with the credibility of Oliver North, but instead, they are still with us. For this we have Dick Cheney to thank. As a member of Congress, Cheney insisted, “Iran-Contra was no crime,” because nothing in the Constitution or anywhere else in America “could constrain a president from waging any war he wanted, however he wanted.” When Cheney got a chance to make that argument once again as George W. Bush’s vice president, he took it. On her show as in Drift, Maddow has refused to let this go. Cheney is Maddow’s favorite in absentia target on air, her “white whale of Republican politics.” Regular Maddow viewers will recognize and especially enjoy the book’s dedication: “To former vice president Dick Cheney. Oh, please let me interview you.” I wish Maddow was as scrutinizing of President Obama, not because he’s as accountable for the imperial presidency as Bush and