The question need not be rhetorical

We talked the other day about the absurdities of Sunday show guest lists, especially the lineups from this past weekend. It was heartening to see Rachel Maddow agree.

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For those of you who can’t watch video clips from your work computers, Rachel said, “I will admit right off the bat this is petty. I’ll admit it. But it is also true and it has got to drive Democrats in the White House absolutely nuts.”

“Here it is: Republican Senator Dick Lugar; Republican former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani; Republican former Congressman Tom Davis; the Bush administration’s CIA director, General Michael Hayden; the Bush administration’s secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice; the Bush administration’s homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff; the Bush administration’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld; the Bush administration’s vice president, Dick Cheney; the Bush administration’s vice president’s daughter, Liz Cheney — the week the Obama administration announces it has killed Osama bin Laden, that’s the guest list on the Sunday morning political talk shows to talk about it.

“The Sunday shows are supposedly the apex of political debate — the pulsing, throbbing heart of what’s going on in American politics. Is the biggest story in American politics right now retirees from the Bush administration and how they feel about stuff? Plus, Dick Lugar?

“Honestly, this is the roster? This is Sunday morning in all of its thundering seriousness?

“Now, among those nine Bush administration officials and other Republican politicians, there were three outliers: Senator John Kerry, also a former White House communications director named Anita Dunn, and one current White House official Tom Donilon, the national security adviser. So, there were those three.

“But the week the Obama administration announces that bin Laden is dead, the invitees to the adult’s table, the measure of serious and importance in Washington is three-to-one, Bush administration and Republican officials. Why is that?”

It struck me as a good question. It need not be rhetorical.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.