During a roundtable discussion on Monday's Newsroom program with conservative talk show host Martha Zoller and her left-wing colleague Mike Malloy, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez strangely differentiated between “intellectual” conservatives who are “not so crazy” about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and social conservatives who “love” her. Sanchez then described Zoller as a “mix” of the two. Later in the segment, Malloy opined that Sarah Palin “brought out the crazy people. That's what the Republican base is. The Republican base are people who don't want the queers to get married. They don't want a woman to have a right to privacy. They want to do away with capital gains taxes, which has nothing whatsoever to do with their life. What Sarah Palin did was bring out the knuckle-draggers, the mouth-breathers...”
The CNN anchor made the differentiation between “intellectual” and “social” conservatives as he brought up the results of CNN/Opinion Research poll that was taken between October 30 and November 1 that found that 65 percent of Americans thought that Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden had the “personal qualities” to be president, versus only 40 percent for Sarah Palin. Sanchez prefaced reading the results of this poll by asking, “Is this the reason he's [McCain's] suffering, as some intellectual conservatives will tell you?” Before he could continue, Zoller jokingly interjected, “Right -- as opposed to me.” Sanchez reassured her, “Well, no -- you're part of the -- well, you're actually a mix, because there's social conservatives and the intellectual conservatives.” Zoller replied, “I know, I know. I'm just kidding.” Before continuing on the poll results, Sanchez tried to clarify what he meant by this distinction: “The social conservatives love Sarah Palin -- the intellectual conservatives, not so crazy about her.”
After reading the poll results, Sanchez finally asked his full question: “So here's the question: is [has] Sarah Palin dragged down this ticket?” Zoller answered, “Absolutely not, because she has energized the base. Without Sarah Palin, John McCain is really ten points down, not, you know, bouncing around in the polls like this.” The CNN anchor followed up by asking, “You don't think Huckabee -- you don't think Huckabee or Romney would have given him that same base, plus give him more?” The conservative talk show host replied, “Not in the way that Sarah Palin did.”
Sanchez then turned to Malloy, who gave a rant about how the Republican base consists of a bunch of crazy, “intolerant” Neanderthals:
MIKE MALLOY: Well, Sarah Palin brought out the crazy people. That's what the Republican base is.
MALLOY: The Republican base are people who don't want the queers to get married.
MALLOY: They don't want a woman to have a right to privacy. They want to do away with capital gains taxes, which has nothing whatsoever to do with their life. What Sarah Palin did was bring out the knuckle-draggers, the mouth-breathers, the people that say --
ZOLLER: Hey Mike, I disagree -- this is the kind of personal attack --
MALLOY: I'm going to vote [gestures] -- I'm going to vote for -- Nobody -- anybody, anybody in the Republican party who understands Republican politics is shocked that he picked Sarah Palin. Why appeal to the base? The base is already there.
ZOLLER: The base was not there.
In response to Malloy's diatribe, Sanchez looked uncomfortable, but he seemed to be more concerned about his use of the word "queer" than his insults towards conservative Palin supporters:
SANCHEZ: To be clear with our viewers, you're using some of that language figuratively though, right? Like when you used the word before
ZOLLER: No, Mike is not.
SANCHEZ: You think that's what they think? Mike Malloy is not saying -- using that word.
MALLOY: What word?
SANCHEZ: The 'queer' word.
MALLOY: Well, yeah, what they think.
SANCHEZ: Okay. All right, just to be clear --
Malloy has a record of directing invective at conservatives. It was only a few weeks ago that Malloy referred to Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann as an “absolute evil woman” and compared her to the Nazis.
Matthew Balan is a media analyst at the Media Research Center.