That Donny Deutsch and Harold Ford, Jr. would jump to defend a Democrat who made a hideously impolitic remark, whereas they would have skewered a Republican saying the same thing, is altogether predictable. What's remarkable is that Mark Halperin called them out on it.
It happened on Morning Joe today in the context of Dem PA Rep. Paul Kanjorski's comment yesterday that a housing bill he was advocating helped "good, average Americans" and not "minorities" or "defective people." Time editor Halperin was first to comment, and actually launched a pre-emptive strike against the double-standard, observing "this is one of those instances where you'll hear a lot of Republicans say if this were a Republican congressman, the outcry would be a lot greater."
That didn't prevent Ford and Deutsch from whitewashing Kanjorski's comments. Ford dismissed them as "a complete slip of words." Despite admitting he doesn't know Kanjorski, Deutsch somehow divined that "there wasn't the malice behind those words."
When Willie Geist prodded Deutsch on Halperin's double-standard point, the ad man suggested Dems were entitled to more forgiveness when it comes to these type of gaffes because "the Democratic brand is a more tolerant brand." Once again, Halperin took up the banner of fairness, confronting Deutsch and asking whether "you really want to say that the Republican brand doesn't stand for racial tolerance?" When Deutsch tried to argue the point, Halperin pointed to Lincoln as an example of Republican inclusiveness and Southern Dems who opposed civil rights in the '60s as examples of the opposite.
Halperin sent a final warning shot: "If you two are going to be so tolerant of what he did . . . the next time a Republican says something unfortunate, I'm going to remind you two of what you said today."
Kudos to Halperin.
Dispatch From Department Of Unintentional Humor
In defending Kanjorski, Ford twice claimed that the Dem congressman was supporting the extension of welfare benefits to the unemployed. In fact, Kanjorski's unfortunate comments came in the context of advocating a housing bill. But leaving that aside, what was rib-tickling was Ford's claim that Republican opposition to expanded welfare benefits is "un-American."