Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.
Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show. On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution. Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.
Imagine the apoplectic Precious Perfect Special Comment rage Keith Olbermann [remember him?] would have worked himself into had this memo come to light under W . . .
Unusual candor from Mika Brzezinski and Harold Ford, Jr. on the double standard that exists for Republicans and Democrats. Discussing on today's Morning Joe the Obama administration memo that has been uncovered authorizing the use of drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens abroad, Mika admitted that there would have been a "huge controversy" if such a memo had surfaced during the Bush administration. Ford said that "Democrats have to think now about how they conducted themselves and the questions they raised about Bush administration tactics." Joe Scarborough flatly declared that had the policy come to light under Bush, it would have been "stopped" by the ensuing outcry. View the video after the jump.
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.
What a curiously incurious Morning Joe bunch! Joe Scarborough says Solyndra "is just not a story I have focused on" and John Heilemann similarly admits to not having "drilled down" on the matter. Meanwhile, Harold Ford, Jr. assures us that when it comes to any potential Solyndra scandal, "there's no there, there" and that no one "has done anything illicit here at all."
A blasé Joe Scarborough grudgingly introduced "this Solyndra thing," citing those pesky "conservatives on Twitter" who keep raising it. The show deigned to devote under two minutes to the story, with nary a mention of the facts that the main driver behind Solyndra was a major Obama fundraiser, that the Bush admin blew off funding for Solyndra after concluding their products weren't competitive and that Solyndra execs are now taking the Fifth. View the video after the jump.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said Tuesday that as a result of how the debt ceiling negotiations are going, the Tea Party freshmen in Congress "may just have proved to be the most cunning and rational of all players in Washington, D.C."
The host of "Morning Joe" told former Democrat Congressman Harold Ford this comes despite media depicting them as radical, reckless extremists (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne said Sunday that NPR is one of the best news organizations in the world and challenged anyone to find evidence the radio network is the slightest bit liberally biased.
To prove his claim, Dionne hysterically pointed out to his fellow "Meet the Press" panelists that whenever he's on NPR, he's often countered by "conservatives" - like New York Times columnist David Brooks (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Only a matter of time before MSNBC's answer to Eve Harrington (shown here being introduced to theater critic Addison DeWitt/Keith Olbermann) took a shot across the bow of unsuspecting coworkers.
On her show Wednesday night, Maddow recounted the "single strangest on-air moment for me" on election night in 2008 (video below the fold) --
MADDOW: This happened after midnight East Coast time, Barack Obama had already won the presidency and we were here in this studio (Maddow, "Meet the Press" host David Gregory, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, former congressman Harold Ford and Republican strategist Mike Murphy) covering the reaction to the election results around the country. And in the midst of that, with everybody else I work with here at MSNBC, this happened --
GREGORY (describing aerial footage of large crowd in downtown San Francisco): I believe we've got some pictures out of San Francisco as well, some of the celebration pouring out in the Castro District of the city as it's known. A place near and dear to your heart, Chris Matthews.
Channeling her inner Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow on Sunday actually said extending unemployment benefits is "the most stimulative thing you can do" to help the ailing economy.
Appearing on the panel discussion of NBC's "Meet the Press," Maddow boldly presented a liberal view of economics that only the current House Speaker would be proud of.
"I think that most Americans also, though, understand the basic arithmetic that when you're talking about pushing tax cuts that do mostly benefit the wealthy and you're simultaneously talking about getting tough on the deficit, you're talking about a world in which math doesn't work the way most people think it works."
Indeed, for moments before she falsely stated that Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.
But Maddow's best remark Sunday had to be, "If you really want a stimulus, do what we -- what's proven to work in stimulus, which is things like extending unemployment benefits...It's the most stimulative thing you can do" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Back in January, Harold Ford, Jr. proclaimed to Chris Matthews no fewer than four times: "I am a New Yorker" [see amusing video after the jump].
But that profession of Big Apple-hood apparently didn't cut it with NBC. Even as Ford was discussing today his reasons for not entering the New York Dem senatorial primary against Kirsten Gillibrand, Meet The Press displayed the graphic seen here, labelling Ford "(D-TN)."
NBC's Today show, on Monday morning, invited on former Democratic liberal Congressman Harold Ford Jr. and PBS' liberal Washington Week moderator Gwen Ifill to discuss whether Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should step down for his "Negro dialect" comments about Barack Obama and not surprisingly neither guest suggested Reid should go.
Both Ford and Ifill dismissed any comparison to when Trent Lott was forced to resign for racially insensitive comments as Ford claimed "I don't believe in any way that Harry Reid had any animus, racial animus," and with Lott there were "other allegations and even proof of racial comments that he had made before." For her part Ifill claimed the two cases were "apples and oranges," as seen in the following exchange with Today co-host Matt Lauer:
Harold Ford, Jr. is the epitome of the equivocating politician who tries to play things both ways. But that strategy came a cropper for the MSNBC contributor on Morning Joe today.
Ford claimed that though Letterman was wrong to make sexual jokes about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter, somehow the Palins are "unique," and thus presumably an understandable target. Mika Brzezinski came down on him. A clearly uncomfortable Ford was soon seeking cover.
Few Republicans have made it onto MSNBC air during the network's Dem convention coverage, but even that is apparently too much for Keith Olbermann. As Chris Matthews was interviewing GOP consultant Mike Murphy in the interlude between Bill Clinton and Joe Biden tonight, Olbermann could be heard off-camera angrily demanding "let's wrap him up, alright?"
It was Murphy's surmise that, in the privacy of the polling booth, Bill and Hilary would pull the lever for McCain that seemed to set Olbermann off, prompting him to call for the hook.
MIKE MURPHY: I think Hillary and Bill Clinton are the happiest people in town because they came, they both crushed in good speeches, and they left. And now they can go do what I would bet money they'll do which is quietly vote for John S. McCain. I believe that. I believe it. I believe it.
When Bob Herbert, a columnist for the New York Times since 1993, recently charged in his column that the Republican Party deliberately targets black Democrats using ads featuring attractive white women to exploit racial resentment, and claimed as proof that the GOP does not run such ads against opponents who are white, the liberal columnist could have disproved this thesis by consulting a 1994 article in the paper he writes for regarding that year's Virginia Senate race involving former Senator Charles Robb, a white Democrat. The New York Times article, titled "THE 1994 CAMPAIGN: THE AD CAMPAIGN; The Senate Race in Virginia: Robb and North Trade Barbs," from October 15, 1994, describes an ad run by Republican Oliver North's campaign depicting the Playboy cover image of Tai Collins, a young blonde with whom Democrat Robb was romantically linked. (Transcript follows)
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty, on Thursday’s The Situation Room, found racist overtones to the recent McCain campaign ad comparing the hype surrounding vapid celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears to the hype surrounding Barack Obama: "I think it's very much playing the race card to put a highly educated, articulate, middle-aged black family man into a television commercial with two blonde bimbo airheads with a combined I.Q. of a box of cereal. And if you have any doubts about what I'm talking about, it's the same kind of thing that was done to Harold Ford down in Tennessee in 2006 and it stinks. It's more subtle, but it stinks just the same."
Cafferty was referring to the spot the RNC ran against Harold Ford in the 2006 Tennessee Senate race which made light of how Ford appeared at Super Bowl party thrown by Playboy magazine in 2005. In the ad, an attractive young blonde joked about how she met Ford at the Playboy bash, and asked him to call her. Liberals reacted harshly to the supposed racist insinuation made by the ad. The NAACP condemned it as a "a powerful innuendo that plays to pre-existing prejudices about African-American men and white women."
Is it okay to vote against a candidate because of his race? The answer to the question is no. It is, in fact, the only acceptable answer. But I ask the question because it raises an important point about the media, the Democrats, and Barack Obama himself.
We are, each year, treated to national media reports on race relations in this country and they invariably discuss white America coming to terms with other races in this country. Very, very rarely does the media ever report on other races coming to terms with white America.
It is not really relevant, frankly, to point out that most black voters are going to vote in droves for Barack Obama. Regardless of his race, black voters would vote for the Democrat. But when you read about Congressman Steve Cohen's race in Tennessee's Ninth Congressional District, you really are confronted by both racism and anti-Semitism in a way we rarely think about in this country. And the media is silent. Barack Obama is silent.
Steve Cohen just might lose his re-election not because he has been ineffective in representing his district, but because he is white. And a number of black members of Congress are happy about that.
Andrea Mitchell depicts Wesley Clark's cracks about John McCain's heroism as a gaffe. Bloopers that will cost him any chance of being picked for the Obama veep slot. But surely the seasoned MSM hand knows better than to imagine that Clark was freelancing. Clark's were anything but impromptu remarks, made, say, late at night to a foreign reporter in a hotel cocktail lounge in some far-flung land. To the contrary, Clark took his shots in the brightest of limelights—those of a Sunday morning talk show—speaking with the venerable Bob Schieffer. Clark was explicitly there as an Obama campaign surrogate.
Moreover, Clark had made similar comments before, as a guest on Morning Joe earlier this month [YouTube of earlier appearance]. So the Obama campaign was well aware of his views. If it had any qualms about him expressing them, surely he would have been warned off. Thus, far from representing a gaffe, Clark's comments must be seen as reflecting Barack Obama's calculated strategy—and that is precisely how the McCain campaign has interpreted them.
So why would Andrea Mitchell turn up on Morning Joe today lambasting Clark for his "stupid" and "dumb" remarks? You don't suppose she was trying to inoculate Obama, give him cover, some plausible deniability, so that the remarks get the maximum attention without Obama's fingerprints being seen on them?
Doesn't Mika Brzezinski have any Republicans in her Rolodex? With Joe Scarborough home in Florida awaiting the birth of a baby, Mika has been filling in as anchor, and I sense doing much of the show's booking [mention is often made of her work in that regard]. Today's guest lineup consisted of six Dems/liberals versus a sole Republican, brought in almost at show's end.
Here's the list, in order of appearance, of today's political guests coming from outside the NBC/MSNBC family [Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell also appeared as guests, and Harold Ford, Jr. and Pat Buchanan served as panelists]:
Jonathan Capehart--WaPo editorial writer
Ted Sorensen--former JFK speechwriter
Doris Kearns Goodwin--historian and former LBJ aide
Tom Daschle--former Dem senator [check out the spiffy red spectacles]
Terry McAuliffe--Clinton campaign chairman
Jon Meacham--Newsweek editor and contributing editor of the center-left Washington Monthly
For those that are luckily unfamiliar, Rachel Maddow is one of the darlings of the extreme-left in this country. A regular on MSNBC's "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann, the Air America Radio host is also a panel member on that network's "Race for the White House" with David Gregory.
Another panel member is Joe Scarborough, and those that have watched this program since its inception know that he holds Maddow in as low esteem as any self-respecting conservative would -- or any sane American, for that matter.
With that as pretext, on Thursday's show, Scarborough apparently had enough of this liberal antagonist; during the following exchange, he unhooked his microphone, walked off the set, and didn't return (video embedded upper right):