Sure, Chuck Hagel might have been a bumbling, stumbling mess at his confirmation hearing yesterday. But the real story was how awful were the Republicans who questioned him. That was the collective judgment of today's Morning Joe panel.
For example, so contemptuous was Joe Scarborough of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, that the Morning Joe host announced that he would not even mention him by name. "Clown show" was the panel's operative phrase for the Republican performance. Andrea Mitchell, Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle et al. joined in the Republican roasting. View the video after the jump.
Watch the clip with highlights of Morning Joe's panning of the Republican performance.
ANDREA MITCHELL: As Claire McCaskill told me yesterday, she said, look. He is more used to asking questions than answering questions. There were a lot of issues. And what didn't help, of course, is that his former good friend, John McCain, just eviscerated him, grilled him, didn't give him a chance. You know: yes or no. Give me an answer. Were you correct or incorrect? I mean, there is a way to try to do that, but clearly he came with a very hostile attitude. And it was very painful to watch.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: John McCain, Mika, didn't let him answer a question. I'm sorry, out of that exchange, it was not Chuck Hagel who looked bad.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: It was rude.
UNIDENTIFIED[Richard Haass?]: Ted Cruz looked even worse.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, God!
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: By the way, there's a way to ask Chuck Hagel tough questions. We showed clips of Roger Wicker who is very conservative but very respectful. And then you see--and I don't even mention his name, the new senator from Texas who turned it into a clown show --
BRZEZINSKI: Oh, God.
SCARBOROUGH: -- during his questioning and other senators that just were playing for the cameras and were trying to get a headline.
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: And these attackers, these three, four, five Republicans that were just really openly hostile to him, they weren't talking about matters of substance moving forward.
MIKE BARNICLE: No.
SCARBOROUGH: One of them goes, you know, gets an old call-in show. You know, Jane from Topeka, you're on. I mean --
BARNICLE: First-time caller.
SCARBOROUGH: First-time caller, long-time listener. Again, a clown show.
BARNICLE: Not only a clown show, but offensive to American taxpayers, American citizens and certainly to anyone with a member of their family in the military.