Christopher Lydon on MPR

Since Katherine Lanpher quit Midmorning for the new liberal radio network, the MPR has been trying out guest hosts. This month, the guest host is Christopher Lydon.

I listened in on the way to work today, and wow, is he doing a great job (One caller dissed Lanpher and all the other guest hosts, saying that the show hadn't been this good for about a year). Today's first topic is pretty political (the Iraq intelligence failure) and the guest, a former CIA spared no contempt for Bush and the neocons. While listening, I said to my co-worker Dan, "There's a lot of pissed off Republicans listening right now."

Like clockwork, a conservative called up and repeated the "liberal media" talking points. Instead of letting him ramble on, Lydon turned it around and asked the caller what he would do had he been in Bush's shoes. "The same thing," he sputtered. Lydon followed up with simple questions about the standard of proof and just utterly destroyed the guy. It was beautiful.

Since the topic is so widely debated, he also had some great callers asking questions like, why did George Bush go to war given the intelligence he had? and what about the Office of Special Plans? The former CIA analyst was as harsh on the CIA as the conservatives lately are, but for a different reason. He argues that the CIA is not meant to be political, and if the intelligence was politicized, it is the CIA's and the CIA director's fault for not standing up to the administration.

Another interesting facet of Lydon as host is that he's very popular on the internet from his Christopher Lydon Interviews... and Blogging of the President. On his sites, he's encouraged people to listen to the internet stream and call in. While I was listening, he got a caller from New York. MPR might enjoy having the profile of their show raised nationally -- at no additional cost to them.

After listening for only about 30 minutes, I'm ready to see Lydon stay on as Midmorning host for a long as he likes. He's a fantastic interviewer. However, I'm afraid that Lydon will become the target of Republican ire. So listen in and if you like what you hear, email MPR and tell them so.