Some serious fur flew on the Morning Joe set today, as Joe Scarborough clashed with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. Setting Scarborough off was the magazine's endorsement of Barack Obama that lauded the president for relieving the "national shame inflicted by the Bush administration."
Scarborough saracastically asked Remnick "who got paid the bonus for being able to squeeze in, quote, 'the shame of the Bush years?'" Scarborough went on to scald Remnick for the left's hypocrisy in giving President Obama a pass for pursuing many of the same policies that it had accused Bush-Cheney of undermining the Constitution for establishing. Remnick feigned ignorance of what Scarborough meant by "the left," and accused Joe of having "within two seconds, leapt down my throat" about the endorsement. View the video after the jump.
There was some kissing-and-making-up by the end, with Scarborough professing his admiration for Remnick and The New Yorker. But there was no denying Scarborough's righteous anger over the double-standard on the left. Watch the titanic tussle.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Joining us on set, the editor of "The New Yorker," David Remnick. It's a very nice endorsement:"Obama did not always prove particularly adept at or engaged by the arts of retail persuasion and hideem of bipartisanship kol collided with the reality. But a president who has been progressive, competent, rational, decent and at times visionary is a serious matter. The president has achieved a run of ambitious legislative, social and foreign-policy successes that relieved a large measure of the shame inflicted by the Bush administration."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: David, which West Side Starbucks does the editorial board meet at?
DAVID REMNICK: We don't have an editorial board. We don't do this like a newspaper. We're not separate. And there's basically a sense of the room, which was pretty clear--and then somebody goes off and writes this with the help of everybody else. That's the way it works. It's not as formal as a newspaper.
SCARBOROUGH: So let me ask you, who got paid the bonus for being able to squeeze in, quote, "the shame of the Bush years?"
REMNICK: Do you take that personally, joe?
SCARBOROUGH: I don't take it personally no more than I took it personally when I walked up and down the Upper West Wide while Bush was president--
REMNICK: I think the West Side gets a bad rap.
SCARBOROUGH: -- and I saw these stands of people dressed like George Bush in Nazi gear in pictures. Listen I was very critical of George W. Bush.
REMNICK: There was shame during the Bush years.
SCARBOROUGH: What was the shame? Let's talk about the shame of the Bush years and then talk about the shame of the Obama years. Go ahead.
REMNICK: You really want to do this?
SCARBOROUGH: I'd love to.
REMNICK: Here we go.
SCARBOROUGH: I'd love to. You guys are the ones that are still, four years later, trying to justify the re-election of a president by going back four years after vilifying George W. Bush for eight years for conducting a war against terror in much the same way that Barack Obama has done over the past four years . . . "The shame of the Bush years": that's pretty strong language.
REMNICK: Yeah, it is.
. . .
REMNICK: Joe, hold on. You asked me a question, let me answer it.
SCARBOROUGH: We've only got 15 minutes, David.
REMNICK: Give me one of them.
SCARBOROUGH: I've given you a couple.
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: My larger point is, on the torture issue, or on the Bush-Cheney approach to terrorism, whether you talk about tripling the number of troops in Afghanistan, whether you talk about drone warfare, whether you talk about killing people in countries indiscriminately where we haven't even declared war. If you talk about Gitmo remaining open. Listen: we can have a debate whether we have to be clear-eyed realists and be this ruthless in this new war. Fine. And I'm not going to say that you hate the Constitution and you want to shred the Constitution, and you subvert American values--and I'm not just talking you here--if you agree with what Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have chosen to do since 9-11. I just find the hypocrisy from the left galling.
REMNICK: You may but in fact--
SCARBOROUGH: I should --
REMNICK: I don't. You and I actually agree on the issues you were talking about in their specificity. You talk about predator drones: I have a big problem with that; it's mentioned in the piece, it's mentioned in the piece. So, what are we talking about? "The left." As if there's this massive block of opinion.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what we're talking about, David. But if you want to pretend that you don't then we can go ahead and just talk about this piece. And I suggest we do that, because you're playing a game.
REMNICK: I'm not playing a game!
SCARBOROUGH: Let's play make-believe, David, that the left has been ideologically consistent and all of the vicious attacks on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for doing many of the same things that Barack Obama's doing, let's just pretend that that hasn't happened.
. . .
REMNICK: What can we do? Can we still [in Afghanistan] until 2020?
SCARBOROUGH: No. We should have already been out.
REMNICK: Is there an answer to that from Mitt Romney the other night? I don't think so.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, was there an answer to that from Barack Obama when he decided to triple the number of troops several years ago?
REMNICK: They tried to produce this stand-up army. A competent army.
SCARBOROUGH: You act indignant. You act indignant. George W. Bush --
REMNICK: Indignant only because I came on here, you asked me about an endorsement of the president. Within two seconds you leapt down my throat about "the left." And I'm here to say the piece is discussing a choice between two men, two sets of principles. Two ideas.