MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski Frames Alternate SOTU Responses as Part of 'War on Women'

In the minds of MSNBC personalities, the so-called Republican “War on Women” is fought on many fronts – even in the amount of GOP responses to this year’s State of the Union address.

On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, the panelists were discussing the three planned responses to Tuesday's State of the Union: Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ official GOP response, Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s Tea Party response, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s personal response. Co-host Mika Brzezinski, upset at the idea of three separate responses, voiced her displeasure in terms of Rodgers’ gender: “Why not let the strong woman actually have a strong response for all Republicans?”


Former RNC chairman Michael Steele, unfortunately, also bought into the GOP-hates-women angle. He added, “And you would think coming off the heels of the...” As Steele searched for the right word, Brzezinski interjected, “War on women.” Steele followed her lead as he continued, “...craziness of this weekend and the war on women conversation with libidos, that this would be a moment to say, okay fellows, just step aside.”




Now that’s an MSNBC type of Republican right there. Why didn’t Steele push back against the idea that this has anything to do with Rodgers’ gender? For the past three years, a man has given the official GOP response to the State of the Union, yet all three years the Tea Party Express has sanctioned a separate response from someone else.

Brzezinski then erupted with some more of the persecuted-women narrative: “I'm sorry, I'm just speaking as a whiny woman right now, but seriously, just let us have the stage once in a while and speak ourselves. Why can't she speak for all three of these people?”

Whatever the reason for the multiple responses this year, you can bet it has nothing to do with McMorris Rodgers being a woman. More likely than not, it has to do with the congressional Republican Party lacking strong conservative leadership in its official posts (speaker, majority leader, etc.). Sens. Lee and Paul are dissatisfied with the establishment wing of the party and want to send out a different message. To ascribe this situation to gender bias is just silly.

By the way, don't expect MSNBC to offer fair coverage of tonight's State of the Union address and responses. Their coverage will be hosted by Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews, and it will feature analysis from lefties Chris Hayes, Ed Schultz, and Rev. Al Sharpton. Former GOP campaign strategist Steve Schmidt will be the only conservative on the panel. 

Below is a transcript of the segment:



MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I actually think Cathy McMorris Rodgers could do a really good job. I’ve been impressed by her. And I think these other two actually just undermine it. Why not let –   

MICHAEL STEELE: But that’s the point.

BRZEZINSKI: – the strong woman actually have a strong response for all Republicans?

STEELE: And you would think coming off the heels of the –

BRZEZINSKI: War on women.

STEELE: – craziness of this weekend and the war on women conversation with libidos, that this would be a moment to say, okay fellows, just step aside. Let’s just –  

BRZEZINSKI: Let Cathy step up and do what she does well. They can't ever do that. I'm sorry, I'm just speaking as a whiny woman right now, but seriously, just let us have the stage once in a while and speak ourselves. Why can't she speak for all three of these people? And who’s Rand Paul? What’s his personal rebuttal? What is that?

COKIE ROBERTS: Is anybody running it? I mean, that’s the –

BRZEZINSKI: What’s so funny?

ROBERTS: That’s the fault of anybody who runs it.



BRZEZINSKI: Okay.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Letting a strong woman talk.

[laughter]

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I don’t – I mean, am I wrong?

ROBERTS: Of course you're not wrong.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.