The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
MIKE BARNICLE: In what context was Senator Whitehorse [sic] saying that?
BRZEZINSKI: I think he's angry at the Republicans because they have worked hard to derail health care among other things.
BARNICLE: Well, then he would be correct.
For no other reason than its entertainment value, let us follow the Barnicle logic. Sen. Whitehouse (not Whitehorse) was angry at the Republicans for working to kill an unbelievably unpopular health-care bill. Thus, because of Sen. Whitehouse’s partisan anger, grassroots conservatives and Daily Kos “progressives” (opposed to the bill but for wildly different reasons) are birthers, fanatics, right-wing militia members, and members of Aryan support groups.
Senator Whitehouse’s anger apparently makes all of us utterly nuts. The New Republic’s Michael Crowley tried to change the subject, Willie Geist and Mika Brzezinski both tried to talk Barnicle down from the ledge of sanity, but to no avail:
GEIST: Not all people who oppose this health-care bill are Aryans, skinheads and birthers.
BRZEZINSKI: I think you have a lot of people worried about the future of this country and our debt and the financing of it. That's a fair question.
CROWLEY: Well, and people are trying to understand a really complicated bill that's changing all the time. Is this Medicare opt-in thing in, and then it's out. I think it's a danger for Democrats to treat it like this sort of, you know, the bad guys are coming to get us. They're racists. They hate Obama. There's more to it than that. And I think they made that clear earlier in the year particularly in the summer when you had those crazy town halls. People know that's out there. I think they're better off trying to explain the bill and explain most importantly to Americans how this helps you particularly Americans, middle-class Americans, who have insurance but are having trouble paying for it.
BRZEZINSKI: And whether there are positives in this bill, and I would argue there are some huge positives for people who really need help in this bill. Having said that, there have been people on the left who have serious questions about it.
BRZEZINSKI: And they're not birthers. They're not crazies. They're people with questions.
BARNICLE: But then you come full circle. And I agree with everything that's been said. But you have 40 members of arguably our most important political institution, the United States Senate, 40 members, all of whom, in lockstep, see not one element of this bill worthy enough to step forward and say, well, wait a minute.
BRZEZINSKI: No compromise.
BARNICLE: I like this particular aspect of it. Let's see if we can't work something out. Not one.
First of all, it has been noted ad nauseum that Harry Reid constructed this bill in secret, in his office, with the door closed. No Republicans were allowed to participate. Thus, there was precious little opportunity to compromise. Second, the decision to support a particular portion of the bill is not made in seclusion from all other portions in the bill. A Republican senator may like one part or another of the bill, but that may not be enough to overcome the abject grotesqueries of the public option, Medicare expansion with funding cuts, triggers, or other failed ideas of the Democrats.
Passing legislation for the sake of passing legislation does not reform make. Supporting legislation for the sake of bipartisanship is not what senators or representatives are elected to do. And shilling for Democrats, while common in the media, is not what Mike Barnicle is supposed to do. Kudos to the rest of the Brew Crew for challenging Barnicle’s illogic.