Is MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell a socialist?

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Lawrence O’Donnell is a socialist.

At least, that’s what the MSNBC commentator himself told Glenn Greenwald when they duked it out on the air Friday on “Morning Joe.”

“I am a socialist,” O’Donnell said. “I live to the extreme left.”

Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for Salon.com, ran a column on Wednesday that attacked the election coverage by the news networks — criticizing O’Donnell’s commentary in particular.

“Ten minutes was the absolute maximum I could endure of any one television news outlet last night without having to switch channels in the futile search for something more bearable,” Greenwald wrote, “but almost every time I had MNSBC on, there was Lawrence O’Donnell trying to blame “the Left” and “liberalism” for the Democrats’ political woes.”

Greenwald said, “this ‘analysis’ is false,” citing the massive losses of seats by Blue Dog Democrats in the House.

The column didn’t go over well with O’Donnell, and the two went at it to such a degree that MSNBC altered its normal schedule to extend the segment.

“Glenn, Glenn, Glenn, Glenn, Glenn,” O’Donnell tut-tutted, as Greenwald began making the same argument as in his column, that “it wasn’t the liberals who lost,” but rather the more conservative Blue Dogs, “that’s the silliest thing you can say.”

“Why weren’t you on television pointing to the loss and saying that conservative Democrats cannot get re-elected when 50 percent of the Blue Dog caucus disappeared overnight?” Greenwald shot back. “Why were you pointing to the handful of liberals that lost as proof that liberalism failed?”

O’Donnell attacked Greenwald for misrepresenting what he had said, saying, “I asked questions, Glenn. Every single thing that you accused me of saying, I did not say.”

The argument went on to focus on labels, as both O’Donnell and Greenwald tried to affix a tag not only each other, but define just what political grouping it was that lost this election and what the Democrats should do in the aftermath.

The loss of so many Blue Dog seats, Greenwald insisted, meant that this election was not an attack on liberalism, but O’Donnell was unconvinced.

“Blue Dog dominance passed the most liberal health-care bill!” O’Donnell retorted.

O’Donnell attacked Greenwald for being a “progressive,” a label he had accepted earlier in the show.

“Unlike you, Glenn, I am not a progressive,” O’Donnell said somewhat condescendingly, “I’m not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to progressive.”