Missouri has known Ed Martin for quite some time. A Tea Party founder. A former chief of staff to Governor Matt Blunt. A conservative zealot who wears the disputed legacy of Phyllis Schlafly
like a shoplifted purity ring.
And, yeah, a smarmy douchebag
who's not afraid to throatily defend the indefensible. When CNN picked up the conservative commentator this summer
as its go-to talking head for all matters Trump, it made some sense — as an early (and loud) Trump supporter, the former state GOP chair speaks for the Republican party of 2017 in a way that, say, George Will and William Kristol do not.
But last night, Martin's seemingly unstoppable jerkitude ran into the singing voice of fellow CNN pundit Ana Navarro. And she achieved what Martin's fellow Missouri Republicans have been unable to do despite years of increasingly exasperated attempts: She shut him down.
Some background: For the past month, Martin had battled Navarro to defend the candidacy of Alabama's Roy Moore, a twice-expelled judge who has been accused by nine women of various wrongdoing, ranging from pursuing romantic relationships with them as teens to blatant sexual assault. At one in a series of several low points, Martin tried to argue
, without evidence, that one of the women — who accused Moore of sexually assaulting her at fourteen — shouldn't be believed because she had filed for bankruptcies and made "false accusations." Never mind that being sexually assaulted as a teenager tends to have an effect on people.
Navarro has shown little patience for Martin's tendency to patronize and annoy those around him
, with tension that seemed to come to a head last night.
In the clip above, Navarro is trying to make a point about the Faustian bargain the GOP made to support Moore's candidacy. In response, Martin groaned and talked over his fellow panelist.
Navarro's frustration ultimately expressed itself in a triumphant rendition of "Oh Happy Day."
Navarro: They had a choice as whether to abandon a candidate or abandon morals and —
Martin: No. Oh, give me a break.
Navarro: — abandon a candidate or abandon —
Martin: Come on.
Navarro: Abandon a candidate or abandon their convictions.
At this point, Navarro turns her full attention to Martin. A transcript can only convey so much, but try to imagine the sound of a battleship's main gun swiveling toward toward a target.
Navarro: Please don't do this, it really annoys me. I really don't interrupt you, and you do this completely. I'm so through with your mansplaining —
Navarro: — and your smirking and your laughing.
Martin: Make a point.
So Navarro starts singing the chorus of the gospel classic. Right in his face.
"I've made my point," she says. When Martin tries to jump in again
she goes right back to the song, repeating the chorus and shimmying her shoulders.
"Get over it," she says.
On Twitter, as you might imagine, the video has made quite a splash, and Martin has taken note. Drawing from his years of weaponized punditry, he had the perfect comeback for the moment.
But does anyone else?
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com