MSNBC Still Complaining about Lack of Red Meat

It's Day 4 of the Democratic convention and MSNBC just can't get over the lack of "red meat" thrown to the party faithful.  Commentator Pat Buchanan raised the issue during the 7:00 hour of this morning's "Morning Joe" while critiquing Bill Clinton's convention speech, noting that John McCain and the Republicans "skated free for this convention" and calling the current crop of Democrats "a yuppified party" when compared to Democrats in the past.  Host Joe Scarborough continued the red meat theme into the 8:00 hour when he stated "We've been critical this week of the Democrats, Buchanan and I, because we're mean-spirited Republicans saying that the Democrats needed to go more aggressively against George Bush's eight years of failure, tying McCain to Bush."Scarborough provided a deli-menu's worth of meat to any Democrats watching that could be used against Republicans in general and John McCain specifically.  He bragged, "in ten seconds I could write a speech and say, what do you say about a party that comes to Washington, takes it over, promises to balance the budget and turns Bill Clinton's $150 billion surplus into a $500 billion debt? What do you say about a party that says they are going to fight for our children when in fact they are bankrupting the American dream?" He later added Iraq and Katrina to his list, "I'm not saying I necessarily believe in these characterizations but if I were writing for a Democrat I would say, exactly, this is a party that lied us into war, that stole from future generations and left the most poor and helpless among us waiting for help in new Orleans while they starved to death, something like that. Ka-Boom, it would have exploded." This isn't the first time Scarborough expressed possible Democratic talking points.  He did the same thing in a 2006 Washington Post article:

How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane Katrina, expanding the government at record rates, raising cronyism to an art form, playing poker with Duke Cunningham, isolating America and repeatedly electing Tom DeLay as their House majority leader?

And let's not forget the spin needed to portray the lack of attacks as beneficial to the Democrats.  Scarborough asked correspondent David Shuster why the Democrats were not "savaging" the Republicans. Shuster's response implied that Republicans are less "intellectual" and therefore have to resort to attacks:  "I think that maybe in their gut a lot of Democrats just don't have the killer instinct that the Republicans have. For whatever reason Democrats feel shame about wiping somebody off the map. And so they feel, well, look, let's go after John McCain but let's do it in a more intellectual fashion, let's do it in a reasoned fashion. They don't need to make Democrats hate President Bush anymore. And so maybe they just think, well, let's just go about it in a reasonable fashion, instead of the killer line."   In the 8:00 hour, Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill jumped at the opportunity to stress Barack Obama's nice-guy credentials in response to Scarborough's question of "missed opportunity" of a non-aggressive attack on Republicans: "Well, because I think this convention is trying to be authentic to who Barack Obama is. And he is not an old-school, red-meat, attack the other guy politician. He is somebody who actually, sincerely, authentically wants to change the political maneuvering in these campaigns. He wants to make it about appealing to the better side of America. Not just take out this baseball bat and whack away." The lack of red meat has left the media drooling but Democrats looking like the good guys who take the high road.  The question remains, how will the Republicans be portrayed if they choose to attack next week during their convention? The relevant transcripts from the two segments appear below:

7:02

JOE SCARBOROUGH, host: So Pat, the Democrats have not had great nights Monday and Tuesday night. And of course if you say that, people around here want to tear you from limb to limb. But last night they hit it out of the park, right? A great night for the party with Clinton and Biden and that family shot.

PAT BUCHANAN: Oh that family, Biden, that was the best part of it, quite frankly, was the intimate thing, the family. Frankly watching him, he got choked up when his son did that. And then at the end with the family coming out, that was terrific. And clearly Clinton did, as you say, what he had to do. He said we not only endorse this guy, he's ready to lead, as ready as I was. And so I think the Clinton's have sort of done their job here. But Joe, I'll be honest, I thought the speeches were relatively flat. I don't think either of the speeches in its totality is memorable in any way. I mean, if I were John McCain and the Republicans I would say we skated free for this convention.

SCARBOROUGH: What more would you have expected? If you were advising Joe Biden would you have told him to hit the Republicans and their eight years of failure harder?

BUCHANAN: Well, you know, it's as Chuck Todd said, it's sort of a disjointed speech. I don't know what it is, whether they don't have great speech writers. But frankly I thought to myself, this is a sort of yuppified party compared to those that use to have before, you know. I mean, go back to Republicans in, don't you remember, back in '52, 20 years of treason, and these statements really set the place on fire. And this was an audience, It's true believers, people work in the party love the party, we're the forces of light, they are the forces of darkness. They were not brought out of their chairs again and again and again as a really great fiery speech will do. And so I don't know that the Democrats have done it.

...

SCARBOROUGH: Then let's talk. David Shuster, why do you think the Democrats have decided to not savage the Republican Party this week, when there's so much savaging that - Listen, if they want me to write a speech-

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, co-host: The gifts that keep on giving.

SCARBORUGH: I'll be glad to write a speech about the failures of the last eight years. But they're not doing it. And it's got to be concerning to party veterans who have seen this party lose races they should have won in the past.

DAVID SHUSTER: I think that maybe in their gut a lot of Democrats just don't have the killer instinct that the Republicans have. For whatever reason Democrats feel shame about wiping somebody off the map. And so they feel, well, look, let's go after John McCain but let's do it in a more intellectual fashion, let's do it in a reasoned fashion. They don't need to make Democrats hate President Bush anymore. And so maybe they just think, well, let's just go about it in a reasonable fashion, instead of the killer line.

...

SCARBORUGH: Well, let's look at the speakers really quickly, then we'll go to news. Mark Warner certainly did not attack Republicans the way he could have. The keynoter. Bill Clinton didn't do it, Hillary Clinton didn't do it. And I guess, you're right, Joe Biden didn't go after them. But my god, in ten seconds I could write a speech and say, what do you say about a party that comes to Washington, takes it over, promises to balance the budget and turns bill Clinton's $150 billion surplus into a $500 billion debt? What do you say about a party that says they are going to fight for our children when in fact they are bankrupting the American dream. They could go on and on. You're exactly right.

BUCHANAN: You know the really tough stuff, is frankly, they don't get into it. Look, my view is you know, they could make a credible case if you had somebody separated from Obama saying these guys lied us into war. That is rough stuff. People - that place would have come out of its chairs. Do the Democrats believe that? If not, don't say it. But if you do, why did nobody on the left or somewhere get up there and just say, tell --.

SCARBOROUGH: You did need Ted Kennedy. And I'm not saying this, I'm not saying I necessarily believe in these characterizations but if I were writing for a democrat I would say, exactly, this is a party that lied us into war, that stole from future generations and left the most poor and helpless among us waiting for help in New Orleans while they starved to death, something like that. Ka-Boom, it would have exploded.

8:02

SCARBOROUGH: We've been critical this week of the Democrats, Buchanan and I, because we're mean-spirited Republicans saying that the Democrats needed to go more aggressively against George Bush eight years of failure, tying McCain to Bush,  but Claire McCaskill, we thought you were sufficiently tough. You did a great job. Do you think the Democrats missed an opportunity by not going after -- by talking more about Katrina, more about Gitmo, more about torture.

BRZEZINSKI:  The war, in general.

SCARBOROUGH: More about the war, more about WMDs. Why wasn't there that aggressive attack?

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) Missouri:  Well, because I think this convention is trying to be authentic to who Barack Obama is. And he is not an old-school red-meat, attack the other guy politician. He is somebody who actually, sincerely, authentically wants to change the political maneuvering in these campaigns. He wants to make it about appealing to the better side of America. Not just take out this baseball bat and whack away.