Joe Scarborough had quite a hissy fit on the MSNBC program bearing his name Friday.
In the middle of a discussion with Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Ks.) about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, Scarborough barked at his guest, "Do you dare come on my show and say I am using the slaughter of 20 little 6 and 7-year-old children, I'm using that for political purposes?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Do you believe I have a constitutional right to have an assault weapon? Do you think that James Madison, when he drafted the Bill of Rights, meant for me to have the ability to have an assault weapon? Is this a constitutional issue for you?
CONGRESSMAN TIM HUELSKAMP (R-KANSAS): I think it's an issue of the Second Amendment says we have a right to protect ourselves. The Supreme Court has upheld that. But gosh, let's step back. Let's not build on the tragedy in Connecticut and use that to actually push a political agenda.
SCARBOROUGH: Use that? To push a political agenda? Let me ask you…
HUELSKAMP: Oh, absolutely. This president and his folks are using this to push …
Notice that Huelksamp said "This president and his folks." He didn't say Scarborough.
But Morning Joe's host wasn't listening:
SCARBOROUGH: …let's talk about September 11th, Congressman. Were there some changes made in this country because of the tragedy of September 11th? Was that just using a tragedy, 3,000 deaths, to try to make Americans safer?
Actually, there were many in this country who claimed that was exactly what President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney did. The common liberal media meme for years has been that the previous administration used 9/11 to create the Department of Homeland Security, enact the Patriot Act, create a terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, perform renditions, and start a war in Iraq.
Surely Scarborough should be aware of this.
Apparently in his desire to defend himself from a nonexistent attack he forgot:
SCARBOROUGH: Do you dare come on my show and say I am using the slaughter of 20 little 6 and 7-year-old children, I'm using that for political purposes, Tim?
HUELSKAMP: Joe, how many children do you have?
SCARBOROUGH: I've got four children, Tim. Answer my question.
HUELSKAMP: Okay, so do I. And I refuse to let you say that because you have children, or anybody else, that we need to actually politicize this. But I see folks in Washington, I don't know about you. I don't watch your show. I see my colleagues in Washington trying to politicize this.
Once again the Congressman made it clear that he wasn't talking about Scarborough: "I see folks in Washington, I don't know about you. I don't watch your show. I see my colleagues in Washington trying to politicize this."
Sadly, Scarborough wasn't listening:
SCARBOROUGH: Tim, I'm not going to let you say that I am quote politicizing the slaughter of 20 children.
HUELSKAMP: I said the President was politicizing this.
That's right. That's what Huelskamp said. But Scarborough wouldn't back down:
SCARBOROUGH: But you said anybody that’s talking about this.
HUELSKAMP: Doesn't Connecticut have a ban on assault weapons?
SCARBOROUGH: Maybe some of us just believe, Tim, maybe some of us just believe we have to do whatever we can, whether it's looking at mental health, whether it's looking at a violent culture of video games and Hollywood movies, whether it's looking at the proliferation of these weapons, whether it's looking at what happened in Oregon, what happened in Colorado, what happened in Virginia, what happened in Connecticut, what continues happening, Congressman. So we can't at least talk about guns without you questioning my integrity and saying that I'm using the death of 20 children to try to make life for my children a little bit safer? We can't even talk about it without you coming on this show and insulting me personally?
Examine the video and the transcript to see for yourself whether Huelskamp questioned Scarborough's integrity or personally insulted him. Frankly, I can't find it.
Yet no matter how much the Congressman tried to explain himself, Scarborough refused to yield:
HUELSKAMP: Joe, you can talk about it all you want. I didn't say it was you politicizing it. You're not even a politician anymore, and I understand that. But you look around this town, you look at it within 24 hours, folks running on and saying, “Hey, we need to change the laws” when they don't even know the situation. All I'm saying is let's spend time looking at that but not to use the tragedy, because as a very famous political strategist from Chicago said, “Don't let any crisis go unused.” I do not want to politicize this.
SCARBOROUGH: So let me get this straight. So you can come on the show and say what I've said, by the way, that we've got to look at violent video games, and we've got to look at a violent culture that Hollywood promotes, and that's not politicizing. But if we even bring up guns, that somehow that's politicizing the deaths of 20 children. Wow. Lots of luck with that, Congressman.
HUELSKAMP: What I've said is I've got an 11-year-old son. And I have a choice, whether he's allowed to play those video games. What I would suggest to moms and dads across this country is look at what your children are doing. Get engaged. Let the communities get engaged. And I think that would be a solution that will help the problem here. I'm not saying to pass a single law about that because I think that would be politicizing the issue.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, okay, thank you, Congressman. We'll be right back.
For those interested, the complete video segment is available here.
(HT Mark Finkelstein)