Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is many things, including a bit boring. But one can be fairly certain Pawlenty does not have a malicious, racist, or prejudiced bone in his body.
In an exchange with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Wednesday morning on CNN, O’Brien jumped to the conclusion that Pawlenty could have been insulting her English skills when Pawlenty, in common parlance, was making light of O’Brien’s use of budgetary jargon and gobbledygook when discussing what amounted to a Medicare “cut” or “permanent reduction.”
When Pawlenty asked O'Brien, after O'Brien was getting into the weeds when talking about Medicare, “Do you know what that is in English?,” O’Brien immediately replied, “I speak English incredibly well, sir, as you know.”
Since O’Brien, who is of Hispanic and Irish descent, speaks English fluently -- and does not even speak Spanish fluently -- nobody would ever think or has ever thought she had less than sufficient English skills.
Pawlenty was making a comment that is made when mainstream media members of Washington eggheads speak in a language that is hard for the common person to understand. Similar comments are made to lawyers or computer programmers who also have languages of their own.
But O’Brien, like many liberals and those in the mainstream media, reflexively see everything in a racial context. And her curious comments indicate she had thought Pawlenty may have been insulting her, her English skills, or her background.
O’Brien, who has been caught red-handed citing Wikipedia entries and a story from the liberal publication, Talking Points Memo, on air, has been a defender of the radical “Critical Race Theory,” pioneered by the late Derrick Bell, the radical Harvard professor who influenced President Barack Obama and O’Brien.
Strangely, O’Brien, when interviewing Breitbart News editor-in-chief Joel Pollak about the video that showed Obama symbolically embracing Bell, displayed her astonishing ignorance of Critical Race Theory. But evidence suggests she firmly subscribes to its central tenet that racism and prejudice is engrained into the fabric of American society (translation: Whites are assumed to racist unless proven innocent).
Here’s the transcript of the relevant part of the exchange between the two, from Mediate:
“I know exactly what it is,” Pawlenty told her. “Here’s what it is: it’s cuts to payments to medical providers so over the next 10 years, they’re going to get paid less than they would have otherwise been paid, which has all sorts of market implications.”
“Right, because they agreed to it,” said O’Brien. “And those medical providers agreed to it because they said, by bringing more people into the system, that offsets those cuts.”
“No matter how you say this, it’s a cut to Medicare,” Pawlenty reiterated. “…you can’t even, with a straight face, look your viewers in the eye and tell you it’s not a cut in Medicare.”
“Well, I can’t look viewers in the eye from where I am,” joked O’Brien, adding that “I’m not saying either thing; I’m saying, the way the CBO puts it, I will read: ‘The permanent reduction in annual updates to payment rates for most services.’ That is a savings, if you’re talking about it — ”
“Do you know what that is in English?” asked Pawlenty.
“I speak English incredibly well, sir, as you know,” she replied.