Of all the Morning Joe regulars, I find Harold Ford, Jr. the least interesting. Ever on the lookout for his next opportunity, the fiercely ambitious Ford is firmly of the "my good friend" so-and-so school of politics, constantly hedging his bets and finding a way to praise or agree with virtually everyone.
So it was an exception this morning when the former Dem congressman from Tennessee actually said something of note, if only for its sheer silliness. Ford somehow managed to maintain a straight face while claiming the media doesn't strongly favor Barack Obama. Video after the jump.
There are few things the liberal media like more than a Republican renegade. David Stockman has made a career out of strutting his independence from the GOP. So little surprise that he was an honored guest on this morning's Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC.
That Stockman repaid his hosts by attacking Republicans was utterly predictable. Even so, the absurdity of Stockman's particular assertion was breathtaking. The former Reagan budget director actually claimed that the notion of American exceptionalism, a focus of Newt Gingrich's campaign, is nothing less than . . . "neo-con code" for an aggressive foreign policy. Video after the jump.
Given the abundance of options at the network, it's saying something to name Martin Bashir as the most noisome of MSNBC hosts. But so he is, in my book.
Witness the low stunt Bashir pulled to open his show today, on the afternoon of the South Carolina primary. Bashir superimposed photos of the Republican candidates in front of a Confederate flag image. Lest their be any doubt as to the message Bashir meant to send, the screen graphic read "Rebel Yell." Oh those racist Republicans. Video after the jump.
"I've been talking quietly to the most powerful, I think, conservative movers-and-shakers in Washington over the past couple weeks, trying to get their read. Are we really going down this path? Every single one I've spoken to is trying to figure out a way to get to a brokered convention."
That was Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe today. For good measure, Scarborough also stated as a simple fact that Sarah Palin wants a brokered convention. Video after the jump.
We'll leave it to others to assess the political fallout from Mitt Romney's statement yesterday that he paid about 15% in federal income taxes. But let's at least get some facts straight.
On Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough claimed that the revelations about Mitt Romney's taxes might be his Dukakis-in-the-tank moment. Scarborough repeated the shibboleth Warren Buffett put into circulation that at 15%, the super-rich like Romney pay a lower tax rate than secretaries. But is that so? Running the numbers suggest otherwise. See video and analysis after the jump.
Jarrett appeared on today's Morning Joe. Mika Brzezinski broached the subject of Jarrett's in-church remarks. But instead of questioning the propriety of using the pulpit for such partisan purposes, Brzezinski simply offered Jarrett an opportunity to repeat her attack on Republicans. But Joe Scarborough then pointed out the huge MSM double standard—observing how the New York Times and Washington Post would have been whining about the "sacred wall" between church and state had a Republican gone into an evangelical church to criticize Dems. Video after the jump.
How pathetic. Jim Clyburn chose Martin Luther King Day to smear Mitt Romney with the shop-worn charge of racism.
Straining absurdly to make his accusation, the South Carolina Dem, appearing on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show, somehow managed to equate Romney's criticism of the politics of envy with the people who sought to keep Rosa Parks in the back of the bus. Video after the jump.
Tuning in Morning Joe today, I half expected to discover on the set some professional mourners imported from North Korea, keening and crying over the political demise of Jon Huntsman.
Huntsman had had the Morning Joe crowd from hello. The overwhelming winner of the bien-pensant MSM primary was amazingly popular—except with actual Republican voters, who didn't dig his moderate positioning and a tone that some found . . . well, how do you say "supercilious" in Mandarin? Taking today's cake was Joe Scarborough finding Huntsman's "moderate temperament" Reaganesque, and claiming that in rejecting Huntsman, Republicans have "turned their backs" on Ronald Reagan. Video after the jump.
Joe Scarborough said it about Rick Perry, but it could perhaps have applied to other Republican presidential contenders who are going after Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital.
On Morning Joe today, discussing Perry's depiction of venture capitalists like Romney as "vultures," Scarborough said that the Texas governor: "sounds like a stoned NYU grad student in Zuccotti Park." Video after the jump.
It's hard to imagine the media rooting, even "cheering" for a social conservative like Rick Santorum. But two certified MSMers claim that Santorum does have the potential to attract such unlikely support.
On today's Morning Joe, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the best-selling Game Change about the 2008 election, both opined that Santorum, given his appealing blue-collar background—and if he can avoid getting prickly with the press—could indeed find the media rooting for him. Video after the jump.
The folks at Politico take umbrage when accused of leaning left. But once again, the site's headlines give away Politico's Dem-friendly game.
Compare these contrasting gems from today's edition, the first dismissing the GOP contenders as mediocre, the other using the old "rested and ready" cliché to describe President Obama as the campaign season begins in earnest:
Twenty-four years ago, Los Angeles Dodgers VP Al Campanis was forced to resign his position for saying on national TV that blacks lack "the necessities" to be baseball managers and executives.
On today's Hardball, Chris Matthews was so enjoying himself mocking Rick Perry's intelligence, that he decided to use a slightly mangled version of the same line on the Texas governor. Video after the jump.
Has Andrea Mitchell appointed herself hall monitor of the 2012 elections? On her MSNBC show today, Mitchell asked Mitt Romney whether he had "an apology to make to the voters" for the negative ads against Newt Gingrich being run by Romney-friendly Super PACs.
For good measure, Mitchell scolded: "is that the kind of campaign you want to run: a negative campaign?" Video after the jump.
Joe Klein waited till the very end of 2011, but has managed to make a strong bid for Most Asinine Assertion of the Year.
Appearing on Morning Joe today, Klein claimed that Iran's interest in getting nukes would "just be to deter Israel" and Pakistan. Certainly when it comes to Israel, this has to be among the most hideous instances of blaming the victim in recent memory. Video after the jump.
With not one Republican primary vote cast yet, we're getting way ahead of ourselves by speculating about whom Mitt Romney might pick as his vice-presidential running mate. But Willie Geist did invite Politico's Mike Allen to make his "bold predictions" for 2012. And Allen delivered, prognosticating that Romney would pick Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman as his ticket-mate.
Mark Halperin strongly seconded Allen's assertion. View the video after the jump.
Is Ed Schultz's expression of respect for Rick Santorum a Machiavellian maneuver designed to sow chaos in the Republican field? I actually don't think so.
Watching the MSNBC host in action this evening, I got the sense that Schultz, out on the Iowa campaign trail with Santorum, came away with a sincere respect for the former Pennsylvania senator, calling him "impressive" among other things. Watch the video after the jump and be the judge.
Somebody check the calendar. Aren't we almost in 2012? Yet there's Kathleen Parker on Chris Matthews's weekend show today, still gushing over Barack Obama like a member of the liberal media in the deepest throes of 2008 Obama-adulation.
After extolling Obama's foreign policy approach as "cool" [mangling a basketball metaphor along the way], Parker defiantly declared: "I know everybody's going to say [I'm] an Obama lover. Whatever." Video after the jump.
Christopher Hitchens, RIP, would likely have loved the rough-and-tumble of today's Morning Joe. The first half-hour was a jolting fix for political junkies.
If the goring of Newt Gingrich was predictable, there was much that was not. Michelle Bachmann's debate performance was roundly praised. Lefty Jeff Sachs put himself to Ron Paul's right on the Iranian threat. Joe Scarborough and Donny Deutsch reported that normally-Dem New York CEOs have deserted Obama en masse. Video after the jump.
Philosophically, you'd think Rudy Giuliani might align more closely with Mitt Romney than with Newt Gingrich. So what's behind Rudy's recent statement that Gingrich could be the stronger candidate? And why did Giuliani go on Morning Joe today to trash Romney as "elitist" and "a man without a core, a man without a substance"?
Well, Rudy also reminded viewers that "I ran against him in '07, '08." And as Rich Lowry has observed, "in 2008, the other Republican candidates hated Romney." Just this morning, John Podhoretz tweeted: "Re: Rudy's attacks on Romney today. Remember: SOMETHING kept Rudy out of NH in '08 when it could have been a strong state for him." So Rudy's remarks could reflect the triumph of personal animus over political ideology. Video after the jump.
Q. How do you know when MSNBC has sunk to unimaginable depths of Dem-partisan hackery? A. When even Al Sharpton renounces it.
On his MSNBC show this evening, Sharpton said the network was right to apologize for the smear MSNBC host Thomas Roberts perpetrated against Mitt Romney earlier in the day, when Roberts suggested Romney had borrowed a campaign slogan from the Ku Klux Klan. Video after the jump.
On Morning Joe today, Chuck Todd was seen flipping the bird as the show went to break and he waited to come onto the set. Hat tip reader Ray R. In defense of the NBC political director, he might well have been operating under the assumption that his off-set antics would not be televised. Screengrab and video after the jump.
Today's Morning Joe has been one long festival of Gingrich gouging.
Joe Scarborough set the tone early. During the opening segment Scarborough announced that, like Glenn Beck, if the choice comes down to Obama vs. Gingrich, and Ron Paul is running as a third-party candidate, "I'm going to give him a long look." Video after the jump.
An even more damning appraisal was offered today: Obama doesn't think he has failed America. He thinks America has failed him. Or as Joe Scarborough encapsulated the concept, Obama believes our version of democracy is a "stumbling block to his greatness." Video after the jump.
No wonder President Obama adopted some of the language of the Occupy movement in his class-warfare speech this week. It's led by the likes of Alfredo Carrasquillo, a fellow "community organizer" with whom the president perhaps identifies. Carrasquillo specializes in breaking into foreclosed homes to dole them out to people—beginning with himself—to live in.
Chris Hayes gave Carrasquillo a sympathetic platform on his MSNBC show this morning. Making it clear that he was speaking as a "devil's advocate," not, God forbid, expressing his own opinion, Hayes gently inquired of Carrasquillo whether, you know, it could be said he has no right to break into and live in homes owned by others. Dismissing the notion out of hand, Carrasquillo described theft of others' property as "technicalities." That seemed good enough for Hayes, who helpfully pointed out that the homes Carrasquillo is breaking into "are just sitting there, no one's making use of them." Video after the jump.
Take a stroll down the list of the six stories featured in Politico's "Daily Digest" email today, and you'll find five of them with a decided pro-Obama and/or anti-Republican angle.
Let's score the first story, about the upcoming GOP debate in Iowa, as neutral, even though the theme is a pending alpha dog-fight between Gingrich and Romney. But after that, every story has a decided liberal slant, as you'll see here:
Barack Obama's political tone has become progressively more partisan since his "no red states, no blue states just the United States" warm 'n fuzziness at the 2004 Dem convention. But President Obama's rhetoric is still not harsh enough to suit Mike Barnicle.
On Morning Joe today, the former Boston Globe columnist demanded to know of Obama press sec Jay Carney just when the president was going to stop "swinging at air" and start calling out Republicans by name. Video after the jump.
In his Politico column and on Morning Joe today, Joe Scarborough made the case for Newt Gingrich from the Republican primary voter's perspective, pointing to Gingrich's record of winning back the congressional majority, achieving balanced budgets and passing welfare reform.
Scarborough then proceeded to trash Gingrich, saying that: 1. he'd never vote for him; 2. Gingrich would be a "danger to the country"; 3. Gingrich is a "bad person" in political if not personal ways; and 4. Gingrich would lose to Obama in a rout, winning 100 electoral votes at best. Video after the jump.