After getting dumped by CNN and a brief absence from the cable news world, James Carville, one of the best loved characters in tv news, popped up on Fox News and MSNBC in a 48 hour period.
Sure, he was promoting his book, but the appearances were a treat for political junkies, many of whom have never really known cable news without James Carville, but, more importantly, it was a glimpse of what might be if the rival networks continue the recent trend of beefing up their rosters as they prepare to do battle over who will actually be the place for politics now that CNN has apparently abandoned all efforts to compete in that arena.
If Carville is shopping around for a contributor gig on cable news, taking a job at Fox News makes perfect sense. Fox could use a strong, liberal voice on the network, mostly so that they can boast their "fair and balance" motto out loud with less snickering from the peanut gallery, but also so that an Election Night '14 panel featuring the Ragin' Cajun and Herman Cain sitting at the same desk materializes because, duh, that would be amazing.
Sure, Fox has lots of cash and they're hiring, but do they really want a fiery liberal potentially schooling one of their hosts in a live panel setting? No. Carville knows what Roger Ailes wants out of a contributor, and doing what Ailes wants gets you invited back. When O'Reilly had Carville on to discuss "the biggest problem in America," it was a perfectly fine segment that saw the the two partisans tussle over the issue at hand and then, pleasantly part ways. Mediate called it a "clash." Hmm. You decide.
Now, check out Carville today on MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Wasn't that fun? So relaxed, just having a good time. None of that pre-taped dullness of the O'Reilly clip or the stuffy air of humorlessness that always floats over a Wolf Blitzer dominated CNN segment. Just some excellent political discussion in the morning with enough southern charm to keep you from stepping away from the TV to go top off that first cup of Folgers.
Wether it's becoming a Mike Barnicle type figure who regularly shadows a show or just relentlessly sprinkling him all over the network's roster of partisan programming, MSNBC is where Carville belongs, and by picking him up as a contributor the network could gloat about employing the brains behind four successful presidential campaigns, now that David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs are part of the team.
Also very important: Absorbing Carville into the NBC family would mean that two of the greatest SNL pundit characters of all time would live at MSNBC — an opportunity for comedic gold that could only be improved by giving the 7pm Hardball repeat to John McLaughlin.