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Mad About Rachel Maddow

Updated on November 24, 2010

Rachel Maddow: Wicked Cool Geek Goddess

It's hip to be square, and you can get "civics geek" shirts and other Rachel Maddow merchandise on Cafe Press. (See below). Rachel Maddow is the smartest, yet most grounded in the real world person on TV today. She is also very funny. Her wit and ability to use satire and sarcasm to rivet listeners and viewers to her shows is amazing. Sadly, Air America Radio filed for bankruptcy and closed in February 2010.

Rachel hosts a political news-talk show one on MSNBC TV, appropriately entitled The Rachel Maddow Show. Rachel has a Bachelor's in public policy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in political science from Lincoln College at Oxford University in England where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Rachel is a wicked smart, funny, gorgeous, androgynous lesbian (let me make that clear: lesbian. Get over it.). The funny thing about her having her own TV show? She doesn't have a television at home. She watches a few shows online, but no TV and no cable at the home she and her partner of 11 years, Susan Mikula, have in rural Massachusetts. Cable isn't available out there. Cell phone service isn't either. Internet access is by satellite. Going home from NYC on the weekends is great for attaining balance in her life. She goes off the grid and does normal weekend warrior stuff, like cleaning out the basement and hauling their garbage to the dump. They don't have trash pick-up service where they live.

Update: Rachel and Susan bought a TV in March 2009 from Amazon while having a few too many cocktails. They had it shipped to their house instead of their apartment in NYC. They got it to NYC and hooked it up to cable! At the time of this interview (March 27, 2009) Rachel had it set up and hooked up the cable but had not turned it on out of fear of addiction. They got cable internet access, too, and I'm sure that will be the most used part of their cable subscription. Rachel and Susan haven't watched much TV in around 20 years, and they don't know how much TV has changed. There may be 500 channels, but there is a lot less to watch. TV is now geared toward the individual, and most people only watch exactly what they want to watch on specific channels they generally like. I know we don't channel-surf. There are maybe 7-10 channels we watch with any regularity (one being MSNBC, of course), but what we use the most and go and find when the cable is out is high-speed internet access. My recommendation for a package they might like? The MLB package with DVR so they can watch all the Red Sox games live or recorded when they can't be in Boston for Red Sox home games.

Rachel is androgynous, whether made up for TV or casual as in normal life (glasses, jeans, and Converse sneakers). In trying to achieve a generic look for TV, she's developed her own unique style. I hate it that she's been objectified already by the media, calling her a reluctant sex symbol. Is she sexy? YES, whether you are gay or straight, in a way that is unconventional in straight society. All she's done is dress professionally for her TV show. It doesn't matter who you are. If you host your own TV news show, you have to wear a suit and you have to wear make-up, guys included. She looks generic until she cracks a smile and the wit and intelligence start coming out of her mouth. Then she becomes our beloved Dr. Maddow.

Why is Rachel so hot? Brains plus looking like people we all actually know is hot because it is accessible in our real lives. I know a lot of women (including me) who dress like a first grader and drive a truck. Androgyny has its own attractiveness that is totally separate from the female norm today. We are all women, but not women men define. Somebody may turn your head in passing, but only those who grab our minds and hearts make it through our natural screening processes. Rachel does that. She comes across as completely approachable. Being hot has a whole lot to do with brains, wit, personality, approachability, attitudes and values, respect for yourself and others, behavior, etc., than just looks. I always thought she was incredibly hot when I had no idea what she looked like when I was a long-time radio show fan before she was ever on TV. That's what's so sexy. She provides the intellectual masturbation and dorkgasms we geeks crave and have been starved of for the entire Bush Administration. We need our intellectual stimulation and Rachel provides it. Is she better than sex? No, but sex doesn't provide the mental workout she gives us every weeknight. Why do straight people think she is so hot? Straight people need intellectual stimulation and dorkgasms, too.

The number of her YouTube videos has grown nearly geometrically over the past 2 years. When she sends out a tweet (Twitter), we all jump for joy because we follow her TV show on Twitter together. I also subscribe to her Twitterstream in my RSS reader. She tweets some really cool stuff. As President Obama's inauguration began, she tweeted "holy mackerel". If you're not following her during the show at least some of the time, you should start. It's fun and you'll meet a lot of other fans. Go to Twittersearch and type in "maddow". (

Ever since our government made the code-names for our new President, Vice-President and families available, Rachel code-named herself, and I quote, "Dorknozzle". I have to disagree with that. She's anything but a dorknozzle (see definition below under Maddowisms if you don't know what a dorknozzle is). Political news has been in need of a true geek for a long time. We've been in an intellectual vacuum for the past 8 years. The news has become entertainment. It shouldn't be entertainment. It should be, well, the news. The news can be entertaining, but when it goes to the realm of entertainment, that's too far. Besides, we geeks love to study and do research, and we get paid for it!!! Thus, we know what we're talking about and what everybody else is talking about. It's hard to try to pull the wool over our eyes because we know how to take in information, analyze it, organize it, and argue it from any angle there is. This is the primary reason Rachel is not a dorknozzle.

Rachel is a liberal, but she's not a partisan liberal. She doesn't spew partisan liberal junk. She is a policy liberal and policy is what she follows. Her shows are thoughtful, thought-provoking and a huge breathe of fresh air. If you love public policy, this show is for you. She's been asked if coming up with material will be a problem since the Bush administration is over, but as she says, George Bush and his administration aren't the only people in government who can screw up policy. You can be liberal, conservative, moderate, Republican, Democrat or Independent and still get policy wrong or be stupid about it.

There is soooo much in policy issues going on in the world that there are bound to be screw-ups and stupidity. There is the economy, health care reform, the bank bailouts, torture, the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, our stature in the world, our relationships with other countries since Bush screwed them up, and America's fall from grace in using torture when it is clearly against the law and our values. There is a huge amount going on, so there is no lack of material.

This lens is dedicated to all of us out here who watch Rachel's show and call ourselves dorks, geeks, nerds, the pocket-protector brigade, lesbian, gay or what have you. It's about time we had a hero we can call our own.

One more thing: Please rate this lens by clicking on the stars at the top of this page. Thanks! Disclaimer: This page is unofficial and is not authorized by Rachel Maddow, MSNBC or Air America Radio. It is strictly fan-created and managed.

Big Fish

Rachel and Susan went fishing in June, and Rachel caught some big ones!


Words and phrases Rachel finds in pop culture or makes up to explain things more clearly, including the names of her show's segments.

This is probably why my son likes her so much. She speaks his language and she makes him laugh. I love it that she makes him think.

I'm naming them Maddowisms.

Here they are for your edification and enlightenment, in no particular order:

  • Newtraction - Newt Gingrich's way of saying something ill advised then retracting it, then retracting the retraction, and then sometimes rewording the original statement to mean nearly the same thing it originally meant before all the retractions. Introduced in May 2009 when Newt Gingrich began reappearing on the TV machine as another GOP has-been.
  • Moment of Geek - a new segment on TRMS introduced in late May 2009 celebrating the geeks,dorks and nerds of the world when we do something newsworthy.

    First moment of geek: Geography and land marks of North Korea developed by a graduate student using Google's mapping tools, his own experiences visiting North Korea and the input of lots of other people who had visited North Korea.

  • Gah - something to say in total frustration from being unable to articulate language.

    Gifted to Rachel by Ana Marie Cox on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 when Rachel was speechless over Governor Bobby Jindal's equation of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina as the benchmark for federal government response in general. Governor Jindal gave the Republican rebuttal to President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress that night, his NOT state of the union address. Jindal's response was abysmal at best and often just stupid. He's smarter than he appeared that night. He's the governor of my state and he is a smart guy, but he messed up that performance so badly that his hopes of Presidential politics may be over completely, or at least postponed for 8 years. It will give people a chance to forget this debacle.

  • Conservadems - Created in March 2009. Moderate to conservative Democrats in the Senate who have formed their own caucus in an unfathomable effort to slow down the Obama administration's agenda and policies. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska says they aren't together to join with the Republicans but to do what is right for their states and the country with policies that aren't rubber stamps of one side or the other. There goal is smart policy. We'll see...
  • Speak-O - a spoken typo. Created by Rachel on February 27, 2009
  • Ginormous - Rachel's word for "gigantic enormous".

    Definition: huge.

  • Bullpucky - Rachel's sensor-friendly, on-air word for "bullshit".
  • Dorknozzle - an asshole who thinks s/he knows what s/he is talking about, but absolutely has no clue so covers it up with bullshit.
  • Lame-itude - anything that can be described as lame or weak.
  • Quackitude - "Lame Duck Watch, because somebody's got to do it"; especially of outgoing President George W. Bush during the Obama transition period.

    As of November 25, 2008, now with more quack:)

    The Lame Duck Watch segment ended on January 19, 2009 with President Bush's last full day in office. This 8 year headache is finally over!

  • The TV Machine - Rachel's phrase for "television".
  • The Internet Machine - Rachel's phrase for the internet. Other terms for the internet: the internets and the interwebs. Origin of "the internets" came from inept members of Congress. I'm not sure where "the interwebs" came from.
  • The Google Machine - Rachel's phrase for the Google search engine.
  • The Cocktail Moment - very cool tidbits shared by Rachel at the end of a show that might be discussed at cocktail parties, including the first actual cocktails made on the show with Master Mixologist Dale Degroff. He made some cocktails in celebration of St. Patrick's Day on the March 17, 2009 show. Rachel's biggest thrill...she personally got to shake Dale Degroff's cocktail shaker.
  • GOP in Exile - the segment of Rachel's show about the Republican Party being very far out in the wilderness searching for who they are and what they represent. After huge losses in the 2004 and 2008 elections, the GOP seems to not only have lost the races for the White House and Congress, it has lost its way entirely.
  • The Weak in Review - A segment with Kent Jones reviewing all of the lame-itude going on in the news all week. There is a lot of lame stuff going on!
  • Scrub, Rinse, Repeat - "Because this is going to take awhile." The new segment of Rachel's MSNBC show about the Obama administration cleaning up the huge mess the Bush administration made out of government. Segment began on January 21, 2009.
  • Rubinomics - [rue-bin-om-iks] - noun [Etymology: The Rachel Maddow Show, the economics of the Clinton administration's Fmr. Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin]

    def.: the ardent embrace of balanced budgets, zero deficits, deregulation, and free trade as routes to prosperity.

  • Joementum - Joe Lieberman's momentum in the Senate to retain his important chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Should he be removed? Some say yes, some say no. I say yes. He hasn't done enough to investigate the government's failed response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, where over 1,000 American people lost their lives. It's inexcusable. Rachel says yes as well for similar reasons and begs an answer to the question, "What do you have to do to these Democrats to make them mad enough to punish your bad behavior?". Joe still has his seat and we still don't have an answer to that question.
  • Holy Mackerel Stories - The Ms. Information segment of Rachel's MSNBC show where her true geekiness and quirkiness come through. Some stories are "Under Reported" and some are not. She reports on stories that may be obscure but extremely interesting. Sometimes they are heart-warming, sometimes they are sad, sometimes they make you angry and sometimes they make you laugh.
  • Talk Me Down - the segment of Rachel's MSNBC show when she is out on a figurative ledge about an issue and needs to be talked down off of it.

    Talking her down is a very tough job and now two people have talked her down completely so far: attorney Scott Turow about the Illinois Governor, Rob Blagojevich's federal corruption case. Scott convinced Rachel that Blagojevich is going down. Second is Lawrence O'Donnell about the GOP in Congress telegraphing future trouble because they asked to put off Timothy Geitner's Senate confirmation hearing until Jan. 21, 2009, the day after Barack Obama's inauguration. See "Talking Rachel Down" for videos of people who meet the challenge.

    Really smart people and anxiety go together like peas and carrots.

  • Just Enough - the segment of Rachel's MSNBC show where Kent Jones gives her just enough pop culture so she can be allowed out in public. Rachel also describes Kent as her answer to Xanax, in particular, the turkey sound.
  • Mind Over Chatter - thought and reason are brought together over the constant noise of life, especially in the news. (Can anyone say Fox Noise, Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity?. They are chatter).
  • Crisitunity - a crisis opportunity. June 2009
  • Frenemy - friendly enemy. From pop culture and now part of

Blueprint for Accountability: Working the Dark Side - Hosted by Rachel Maddow

Rachel launches the Culture Project's Blueprint for Accountability

Watch in full-screen mode on the web now here:

Rachel's Priceless Videos

Rachel's Castro Valley High School Graduation Speech (1990)

Rachel follows Liz Cheney's al Qaeda "logic", and gets arrested!!!

The pajama video after Sarah Palin complained about bloggers in their parents' basements writing while wearing their pj's.

The Greek Island of Lesbos and the term "lesbian".

Rachel is a question on "Jeopardy".

Rachel's extremely unique coverage of the race for the leader of the GOP - the GOPeakness!

Rachel is stunned into being speechless by Gov. Bobby Jindal's response to Pres. Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress. Watch her full response in Rachel Re: below.

Top Reasons Rachel Maddow is the Host with the Most - And Just Plain The Most

Rachel is the bomb (11/13/08) because hers is the first news show my teenage son actually watches and discusses! I caught him singing along with the show's theme song, and when Rachel started talking he took his eyes off the computer and put them on the TV. That is miraculous!

What would you add to the list? Let me know down in the Guest book.

  • Rachel's MSNBC show is the first news show my teenage son has ever watched, and he actually pays attention!
  • She is NOT a dorknozzle.
  • Rachel is a dog person, and not just any kind of dog person, a BIG slobbery dog person. She and Susan have a black lab, named Poppy, who is a year and a half old. I have a chocolate lab, named Ace, who is 6.5 years old and an Australian Shepherd/Catahoula mix, named Kita, who is 6 years old.
  • Rachel effectively used both "wussy" and "vituperative antipathy" close together in the same show segment. Wow!
  • Her show is a mental workout. She stretches my intellect, which has deteriorated slightly since college. Now that I'm teaching instead of practicing chemistry, I have to know and remember more than at any time since I graduated from LSU in 1985.
  • She's very thoughtful and listens intensely, then asks relevant questions or makes informed arguments. She goes much more deeply into the topics she covers than anyone else. She's engaged in what she talks about, not detached from it.

    How did that ever leave the news?

  • She's an out and proud lesbian, and it's not the freaking headline! Finally, like we have a President who is African American, we have a political pundit who is a lesbian.

    This is really important because a lot of people don't know that they know anyone who is gay or lesbian, so they have no idea we're just like everyone else, normal. All you straight folks out there who think you don't know someone who is gay or lesbian, you do. They just haven't come out to you.

    Rachel's viewers and listeners know she is gay, and they invite someone they know is gay into their living rooms on a regular basis. She may not think of her position on MSNBC as being an advocate for the LGBT population, but the mere fact that she is on TV and openly gay is a huge game-changer in the average American's perception of what gay people are like. Just being herself, doing her job and being openly gay provide a role model for straight Americans. We aren't so scary once we're known.

    The teenage generation watches with their parents and when a parent asks if they know she's gay, they usually answer, "ya, so?".

  • Rachel is like a friend with whom you're having a serious political conversation; tough but not mean, making you think without calling you stupid if you don't get something right away. That's why I get the podcasts of her shows. I can watch or listen as many times as I need to to get what she's saying. In real life, I would say "okay, you lost me at ____. Please go back?".
  • The formats for her radio and TV shows have only one guest on at a time, so there is no arguing going on between two people with opposite points of view. There is a calm, intelligent discussion. It's what I love about her show and hate about Hardball.
  • She offers "truth with a twist", as opposed to spin, something new on TV and radio. The quote is from her interview in the November 2008 issue of The Advocate. Her radio show is "Dramamine for right-wing spin". I seriously miss her live radio show.
  • She's a policy liberal, in other words not a talking head for the partisan liberal agenda.
  • She faces off with Pat Buchanan on a regular basis and more than holds her own. The fact that they haven't killed each other amazes me.
  • She's immensely patriotic. She cries at the drop of a hat, like when she hears The National Anthem. I love that I'm not the only one who does that!
  • She's absolutely brilliant, and I mean incredibly smart, with probably the IQ of Albert Einstein and the common sense of Ben Franklin. How rare is that?
  • Her doctoral dissertation is on how HIV could be controlled in prison populations.
  • She's the first openly gay person to receive a Rhodes Scholarship.
  • She wears glasses like most of us geeks. The contact lenses are for TV. I know how she feels. I prefer my glasses, too, and my baggy jeans and t-shirts.
  • She's adorable and special, like golden retriever puppies. There is a pop culture reference in that phrase. Do you know what it is? Kent? Anyone?

    The pop culture reference is from the Nickelodeon cartoon Danny Phantom in the episode where Paulina wishes she was a cartoon character, and a genie grants her wish. After Danny turns her back into a person, Paulina says, "Why do I feel adorable and special? Because I am."

Rachel on Charlie Rose - June 18, 2009

This is the best interview with Rachel that I've ever seen. You really get to know her thoughts and perspective on policy as well as some personal stuff.

It is split into three parts because it is about 25 minutes long.

In my opinion, these are the types of interviews in which Rachel is at her absolute best, whether answering or asking the questions. And yes, I am biased when I say that. Her long-form interviews are both broad and deep.

Other long-form interviews that she's done are Barack Obama the week before he was elected President, Nancy Pelosi, Rod Blagojavich, and Colin Powell.

Watch this and the video linked to above on Blueprint for Accountability. They are both fantastic.



What is a Rhodes Scholar?

Rachel As A Guest On Other Shows

She has also been a guest on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno twice, and she's also appeared on "The Colbert Report" with Stephen Colbert and "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, but those videos are not available on platforms supported by Squidoo. Go to and and search for her. You'll find the videos of those shows.

Rachel's Drink Recipes

Rachel is an aspiring mixologist (the art of mixing the real American creation of the cocktail), and here are some really great cocktail recipes.

Speaking as a chemist, specifically as an analytical chemist, Rachel would do well working in a lab. She measures things and she does it correctly. I'm impressed.

Rachel Maddow in the News

Read more about Rachel at the following links. She's all over the news. I may need to split this module up into years. It's getting so big.

Talking Rachel Down - NOT an easy task

Videos of the times that anyone has talked Rachel down. Congratulation to attorney Scott Turow! You're the first person to ever do it.

Second person to talk Rachel down: Lawrence O'Donnell on 1/14/2009.

Coolest Ms. Information

Some fantastic "Under-Reported Holy Mackerel Stories"

Rachel Re:

Rachel on Race

Now that we have an African-American President and First Family, it is time America started talking sensitively and intelligently about race and what real progress looks like.

Ask Dr. Maddow

From Rachel's Air America Radio Show, here are some videos of the "Ask Dr. Maddow" segment.

Rachel Maddow is a doctor, just not that kind of doctor.

She has a Ph.D. and is referred to as "Dr. Maddow" in the professor sense of the word "doctor". I also swear the big man movie voice is Keith Olbermann. What do you think?

Lame Duck Watch - Ultimate Quack - Because it's the last chance

The final quack of George W. Bush - January 19, 2009. We bid you a fond and long awaited "don't let the door hit you on the way out of the White House!"

Richard Engel joins Rachel from Gaza City and the end of the Israeli offensive against Gaza and Hamas, because the Israeli's know they had to get the war over with before Barack Obama takes office.

Lame Duck Watch - Penultimate Quack - Because it's now or never

The second to last quack - January 19, 2009

Jonathan Turley discusses war crimes and the Bushies with Rachel.

Lame Duck Watch Special Report

Several segments of Lame Duck Watch because one just won't do it on January 12 & 15, 2009.

Lame Duck Watch, Because Somebody's Got To Do It - Quackitude

I will SO miss Rachel's facial expression when George W. Bush's Lame Duckitude is over.

A Funny Pic

Can you do that with your face?

Rachel's Places on the Web

Visit Rachel at these sites and see what she's thinking and talking about.

Rachel on the Obama Victory

Something worth crying about.

The gravity of when Barack Obama won over 270 electoral votes and became our new President-Elect was emotionally overwhelming. I was in tears and it totally shocked me. I knew I would be happy if Obama won, but I didn't realize the huge weight of history that would come with that victory.

Rachel's New MSNBC Show - The Rachel Maddow Show

The Announcement of Rachel's MSNBC show came on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The first show was broadcast on 9/8/2008, her grandmother's 93rd birthday, which Keith introduced at the end of Countdown on Rachel's new set. What a gift!

Watch them here:

Rachel Maddow's TV Show on MSNBC Poll

Do you like Rachel Maddow's Show on MSNBC?

See results

Reader Feedback

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    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      4 years ago from New Jersey

      I wrote a hub about Famous Aries people, and this hub on Rachel was listed under it as having to do with the same topic, Rachel being Aries. I looked her up on Wikipedia when I began loving her show, and she seems to excell at everything she does. As you point out, she doesn't just spout liberal stuff, (though we both are liberals) and I think people who read Drift will be surprised at how measured her views actually are. It's fun to watch her show.

    • TxCowboyDancer profile image

      Tony New 

      6 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Wow! A lot of awesome information here. As one Maddow Fan to another, I invite you to swing by my new lens: "Books and Songs from the "Rachel Maddow Show" (Current Season) Cheers!

    • ChrissLJ profile image


      7 years ago

      I love Rachel. She's actually the only reason I haven't canceled cable. A few months ago, I got a new coworker who is Rachel's doppelganger. It made my year.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 

      7 years ago

      I really like her show. And I just got chosen to host a house party for her show. woohoo!

    • joubess lm profile imageAUTHOR

      joubess lm 

      9 years ago

      Unfortunately and sadly, Air America Radio has gone off the air. The company filed for bankruptcy in February 2010.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      'What to do' 'Limited time'/'So many choices'='Many wasted hours'. That being the equation, What an absolute joy it is when one stumbles upon a gem. Dr. Maddow is the Hope Diamond of my day more often than not. My only fear is that she is so gifted, The network would be forced to make her the Head Honcho...Big Cheese...C.E.O. of MSNBC. She had me at hello!

    • joubess lm profile imageAUTHOR

      joubess lm 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to Margo_Arrowsmith] Margo, you don't have to have an iPod, you just have to have iTunes on your PC. You can also get her TV show video podcast free on iTunes. But get an iPod if you want to take her with you. If you want to watch video on it, get an iPod Touch or an iPhone. The regular iPod screens are too small.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      9 years ago

      [in reply to joubess] Well then that might be a reason to finally get an Ipod and learn how to use it!

      Miki could learn a thing or two.

    • joubess lm profile imageAUTHOR

      joubess lm 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to Margo_Arrowsmith] Most of us can't get Air America. You can download Rachel's show free from iTunes, but the show is repurposed material from the MSNBC TV show and it's on at 5 in the morning. It's not live.

      I loved her live radio show and I miss it, but her TV show is better.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      9 years ago

      I love this lens....but I can't get Air America

    • k8company profile image


      10 years ago

      Terrific lens. I love the Maddowisms.

    • joubess lm profile imageAUTHOR

      joubess lm 

      10 years ago

      [in reply to Margo_Arrowsmith] I thought Arianna Huffington did a fine job subbing for Rachel. No, she isn't Rachel, but she could easily do a show with her own format more suited to her style.

      I really liked her "first granny" segment. I agree with her. The Obama children's grandmother is very important in their lives and she needs to come with them to Washington. The girls need as much continuity as possible while growing up in the White House. There lives will be forever changed because of their dad's success, and one great way to stay grounded is to keep as much of real life in their lives, and that means their grandmother.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      10 years ago

      I think she is great! I noticed that Arianna Huffington covered for her and wasn't quit as good, but will get better I hope the two of them will each have a show!


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