Morning Joe's Barnicle to Michael Steele: What Are 'You People' For?

“Morning Joe” was a little tense this morning.

Fresh off Donny Deutsch’s defense of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) slavery analogy, Mike Barnicle asked GOP Chairman Michael Steele about what proposals the GOP favored for health-care reform.  Along the way, however, he used an unfortunate choice of words:

MIKE BARNICLE: [...] What are you people for?

MICHAEL STEELE: You people? [starts laughing] Who are 'you people?'

First of all, the question is flatly ridiculous.  GOP proposals for health-insurance reform carry little, if any, weight in the face of 60 members of the Senate Democratic caucus.  This question, incidentally, was also asked on CBS’s “Early Show” on December 7, 2009.  It was equally as inane then.  In Harry Reid’s super-majority Senate, the only ideas he needs are the bare minimum to hold his own caucus together.

Now to be fair, Barnicle clearly was talking about Republicans – not African-Americans.  In fact, Barnicle may hold the world record for question length, which leaves even less doubt as to what he was talking about.  But if a conservative had used that phrase when asking a question of Jesse Jackson, MSNBC would have dissected it for days.

Coming from the whitest news network in the business, that would be tough to take seriously.