We don't know if Joe Scarborough resolved to lose any weight this year, but he seems to have no game plan for diminishing his bloated ego. On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, the pseudo-conservative ex-congressman suggested that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was afraid to appear on his program.
Speaking on the subject of gun control, Scarborough challenged Cruz’s belief that a ban on assault weapons was unconstitutional and then challenged Cruz to come on his show and defend his opinion, “Some people get scared, they don't like them coming on because you don't ask them three minutes' worth of questions. It’s not an easy give and take.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Mika Brzezinski suggested that they had invited Senator Cruz to appear on Morning Joe 10 times, each time he has declined to appear. Scarborough and guest Jeffrey Sachs continued to rail on Cruz over gun control, with Sachs claiming that:
There is no constitutional issue here. There's no claim by anybody who is on any side of this in the legal system that the Second Amendment has anything to do with protecting the rights of people to assault weapons.
Scarborough seems to be unaware that his constant attack on other conservatives might contribute to an unwillingness to appear on Morning Joe, which isn't exactly a reasonable forum for civil debate, despite Scarborough's frequent use of the World War II-vintage "Keep Calm and Carry On" motto.
See relevant transcript below.
January 9, 2013
7:17 a.m. EST
JOE SCARBOROUGH: You push people and ask the question.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Which I've done with my allies, political allies, why do you need an assault weapon? You do know that, like, 90% of the hunters don't think you need an assault weapon. You know that when I say everybody I talk to from Northwest Florida, not from the Upper West Side, not from Greenwich.
BRZEZINSKI: Gun enthusiasts.
SCARBOROUGH: Gun enthusiasts from Northwest Florida at First Baptist Church of Pensacola, Florida, that have been hunting with their daddies and granddaddies since they were 6, 7, 8 and going in the woods north of Crestview and to Funiak Springs and Jay, all through there, they're all asking the same question, okay why do these guys need assault weapons?
JEFFREY SACHS: Who else is asking that and said it very clearly is Scalia. So Justice Scalia, the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on the Supreme Court, said this amendment does not apply to assault weapons. No way. There is no constitutional issue here. There's no claim by anybody who is on any side of this in the legal system that the Second Amendment has anything to do with protecting the rights of people to assault weapons.
SCARBOROUGH: This is the same Justice Scalia that wrote the opinion in Heller that told me the Second Amendment meant what I believed it meant, that Washington, D.C., could not ban Americans -- could not ban residents from having handguns in their house to protect themselves. But even that opinion, very clearly states that this does not apply.
SCARBOROUGH: To assault weapons. This does not apply to governments passing other regulations to keep Americans safe. What did Scalia say? Scalia said and Heller said, Americans have a right to have a handgun in their house to protect themselves. The Second Amendment -- and that's one of the things I gave Cruz, Senator Cruz, problems, Ted Cruz, for saying that, you know, this assault weapon ban is unconstitutional. No, it's not. And if he's a lawyer and people tell me he's a very good lawyer, he needs to go back and read Heller. Scalia could not be more clear.
BRZEZINSKI: I'd like to have him on.
SCARBOROUGH: This is about handguns in the house.
BRZEZINSKI: We should.
SCARBOROUGH: So you can kill anybody that comes into your house that wants to do your family harm.
BRZEZINSKI: We've asked him 10 times to be on.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, we'll ask him 11. He might be scared. I don't know. Some of these people.
BRZEZINSKI: I know.
SCARBOROUGH: Some people get scared, they don't like them coming on because you don't ask them three minutes worth of questions. It’s not an easy give and take.
BRZEZINSKI: You don't massage the ego.
OHN MEACHEM: I just wonder if one way of thinking about this in a broader way is assault weapons are the drunk driving in a prohibition debate.
MEACHEM: That's the false choice here.
STEPHANIE CUTTER: Right.
MEACHEM: Nobody's talking about prohibition. We're not talking about taking all the liquor away. What we're talking about is irresponsible, deadly behavior with something that in moderation, which is to say in the form of a shotgun or something else, can be more culturally acceptable.
SCARBOROUGH: I keep talking about my military friends because I've been talking to them since this gun debate started. And one friend that served in the army for 20 years -- it's funny you say that -- because he said, you know, why do people want these assault weapons? Because they're fun.