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Lawrence O'Donnell

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One of the
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And a dirty dozen more

Lawrence O'Donnell is a political analyst and television personality for MSNBC. His show, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, which was started as a replacement for Keith Olbermann's Countdown which was canceled with Olbermann's departure from the network, is primarily him complaining about Republicans and reaffirming his own beliefs with guests who agree with him on everything.

Just about all of his program is devoted to calling out bullshit spewed by politicians and other pundits, often in the form of sentence-by-sentence breakdown analyses, in addition to highlighting key aspects of the day's events. Unlike other political correspondents, he has absolutely no problem with criticizing people he normally agrees with.

O'Donnell is a former United States Senate aide, and was also a consulting writer for The West Wing, appearing on the show as President Bartlett's less-than-liberal father. He tends to take small acting gigs from time to time,[1] and his acting resume includes appearances on Big Love and Monk. He acted as himself in Homeland.

On socialism[edit]

O'Donnell identifies as a "practical European socialist." In what seems to be an endless quest for him, he devotes copious amounts of airtime trying to take the snarl out of the word "socialist." He explained on his show[2] that all Americans are socialists in that they benefit from publicly-funded, government-controlled schools, hospitals, military and prisons, and that these socialist enterprises do not detract from freedom.

He has stated that he is "not a progressive. I am not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to progressive. Liberals amuse me. I am a socialist. I live to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals, okay?"[3] A bit of a head-scratcher since most of his screenwriting was politically moderate.


He also appears to be on a quest against superlatives. In one instance, in response to Bill O'Reilly's claim that an anti-wealthy tax-hike proposal by Democrats (which, in reality, was simply a proposal to return taxes on millionaires to the levels they were during the prosperous Clinton administration) would be so much to make him quit doing his show,[4] he noted that O'Reilly started doing his show during a period of higher taxes and that the show only provided some of his total income (O'Reilly earns a substantial amount of money from speaking fees and selling propaganda books). The actual tax increase from 35% to 39.6% for O'Reilly on his Fox News income alone would be a drop in the bucket, particularly since only earnings above a certain threshold are subject to that higher tax rate (see progressive taxation).

See also[edit]