Joe Scarborough seems to have an obsession with conservative and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz. Scarborough and his Thursday Morning Joe panel bashed the freshman Texas senator for at least the fourth time in a few months, berating the Lone Star Republican for his distrust of Congressional leadership. The MSNBC host suggested Cruz has “no interest in working with any of his colleagues,” and accused the senator of using the Senate “as a branding vehicle.”
Scarborough went as far as to wishfully pronounce Cruz’s political career dead, suggesting that his criticism of Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress on the Senate floor Wednesday would "blow up in his face” and “hurt the great people in Texas":
That’s going to blow up in his face. We all know it. But somebody apparently hasn't told Ted Cruz that he wasn't the first person ever elected to the United States Senate. I can't believe this is going to do anything but devastate his effectiveness and hurt the great people in Texas in the long run.
Scarborough’s history of hostility towards the conservative statesman has been well-documented by NewsBusters. In February, the host called Cruz a “carnival barker.” A month later, he scolded Cruz for being “ignorant” on Dianne Feinstein’s gun bill, and just a few weeks ago he charged Cruz with making Republicans “look like a bunch of squishes.” Clearly, Scarborough’s brand of self-proclaimed “conservatism” doesn’t agree with Cruz’s.
Scarborough wasn’t the only panelist to scold the Texas senator, as his more liberal guests on the show were more than happy to join in the Cruz-bashing. John Heilemann, a writer for the unashamedly left-wing New York magazine, implied Cruz was acting selfishly:
You don't care about relationships within the Senate because you're not trying to get things done there, you’re trying to get things done for yourself. I think Ted Cruz has come into the Senate, specifically – he’s not thinking about a second term. He is thinking about four years from now – maybe he might run for re-election once but he’s not looking for a long-term future in the Senate.
No doubt, the higher Cruz’s political star rises, the more we’ll see Scarborough and his Morning Joe team attempting to tear him down, but something tells me Cruz will shine on long after Joe gets his pink slip from the network.
See the transcript below:
6:28 a.m. Eastern
BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. How do you – what do you do with that?
SCARBOROUGH: I don’t know. This is a guy that has obviously decided he is going to be a lone wolf and you can be a lone wolf. No, on the House side. You go in the cloak room, eat hot dogs or sandwiches or whatever. Any way. Mike Allen, this guy has obviously got no interest in working with any of his colleagues. He’s – certainly the people of Texas are going to find out in a very rude way that pissing off 97 senators basically saying you're the – I mean this guy is more self-righteous in politics than Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were in religion. That’s going to blow up in his face. We all know it. But somebody apparently hasn't told Ted Cruz that he wasn't the first person ever elected to the United States Senate. I can't believe this is going to do anything but devastate his effectiveness and hurt the great people in Texas in the long run.
MIKE ALLEN: Senator Cruz does not see it that way. We had debated, Joe, whether or not once he got to Washington – whether he would go negative, whether he would learn to go along, whether he would learn to work with leadership. We have clearly seen he has not. Reports out of the Senate’s weekly luncheons with Republicans that he goes against the leadership there and this has helped to build Senator Cruz's brand with national Republicans. Next week he is the featured speaker of the Republican Party of...New York! Can you imagine? New York Republicans want Ted Cruz to come and be their speaker! And it's because he is a great draw. People are fascinated by him. On the show, you had coverage of how popular he was a couple of weeks ago in South Carolina at their Silver Elephant dinner. At the same time he is fighting Washington he is very popular around the country. It's a new motto.
SCARBOROUGH: The thing is, John Heilemann, it's one thing to go negative. You don't have to go negative. I certainly didn't and anybody that followed me in Washington would say I was one of the continued of seven or eight agitators. But you just don't go out of your way to insult everybody in your party and say that basically you're the only one that is conservative and to be that self-righteous.
JOHN HEILEMANN: Joe, one of the things I like about you is you still haven't gone negative, even to this day. Look, you come into the United States Senate and you look at it as an institution if you're a freshman and look at it one of two ways. Either this is a place where you might want to make a career, whether that is to one term, two terms, three terms, four terms, but you're thinking about your long-term future within the institution and crafting legislation and getting things done – or you look at the Senate as a branding vehicle: this is an institution I'm going to use for a very brief time to elevate my stature on the national stage within the ideological media and that’s what you're going to do and then you’re going to try to turn yourself into a national figure. You don't care about relationships within the Senate because you're not trying to get things done there, you’re trying to get things done for yourself. I think Ted Cruz has come into the Senate, specifically – he’s not thinking about a second term. He is thinking about four years from now – maybe he might run for re-election once but he’s not looking for a long-term future in the Senate. He thinks putting himself in a place, as he said yesterday, apart from both parties and aligning himself with a populace grassroots contempt for Washington across the board is where his national future is and he doesn't care if it annoys his colleagues or pisses them off as you said.
HAROLD FORD, JR.: The losers are the people.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, again – that's fine.
HEILEMANN: I'm not approving of it. I’m just trying to analyze it.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I understand. I'm just saying it is exactly what Barack Obama did but Barack Obama didn't offend everybody and basically say he was better than everybody at least when he was in the United States Senate. He thought it and they found that out after he left, but he didn't say I'm better than you to their face or go on the floor.
BRZEZINSKI: He did not say that.
SCARBOROUGH: But I've always said, just to be very clear, I've always told people that followed me in Congress, they said well give me the advice and ask – I said, listen: it's very clear. When you go in, there are two doors and there are only two doors. There's the insider door and there’s the outsider door. And when you go in, you can decide to be part of the establishment, you can decide to be part of the leadership, you can decide to be the ones that go to all of the fundraisers that raise all of the money, that do all the dirty work for the leaders. If you go in there, you’ve got to go in there 100 percent or you're an outsider, which obviously Ted Cruz has done. And you’ve got to be an outsider. But listen, you can – Dick Army, when I was in Congress, he didn't like me. John Boehner didn't like me. Newt Gingrich. The leadership didn't like me because I decided I would be an outsider, I was going to vote the way I wanted to vote, I was going to go after them hard when they spent too much money but, at the same time, I was quietly making relationships with basically everybody else in the House. So people in my district didn't get punished for my conservative activism. That is not happening here and that is why I do think at the end of the day the big losers are going to be the great people in the state of Texas because Ted Cruz has gone to Texas as a political branding device instead of being a leader to help people in that huge, important great state.