After getting unsolicited advice on how not to collapse from almost every media source out there, CNN took Larry King‘s absence last night as an opportunity to bring out the big guns, and it made for some great TV. Come step into the alternate universe where Jesse Ventura, Ron Paul and Rod Blagojevich have a TV show where they engage in civil, intelligent discussion on the tough issues facing America today.
Ventura, filling in for Larry King, hosted a discussion with the two explosive personalities along with liberal radio host Stephanie Miller and Republican strategist Andrea Tantaros. While the topics of conversation remained strictly political, Rep. Paul controlled the tone, proving how he managed to win the CPAC presidential straw poll and why, at 74 years old, he continues to enjoy an immense popularity that may carry him to a 2012 run. In fact, he managed to get the group to rally around his “core belief in freedom and liberties and principles that our country were founded on,” and got them all to agree that a libertarian Supreme Court justice would “please everybody” (though he lost them when he suggested regular Glenn Beck substitute host Judge Andrew Napolitano).
As for Blagojevich, this was one of the first times he was given a platform to engage in intelligent policy discussion, rather than recite poetry or suck up to Donald Trump. Free of his Apprentice shackles, he provided the kind of insight many people often complain they don’t see enough of in these types of political discussions. And, despite admitting to being a big-government liberal, he agreed with Paul on constitutional issues and personal freedoms. Can you say Paul/Blago ’12?
The entire exchange is a learning experience for the avid media consumer, and a sign that CNN is finally taking the hint that cable news consumers love compelling personalities. Watch the discussion on the replacement of Justice John Paul Stevens below and it’s impossible not to wonder why it is that commentators like Blagojevich, Ventura, and Paul are marketed in the mainstream media as raving lunatics and more established but incoherent pundits enjoy an assumption of sanity from their viewers.
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