On Saturday, reporter Jonathan Martin wrote an interesting piece in the New York Times about Republican efforts to paint Hillary Clinton as “old news” for her potential 2016 run. Martin pondered the “striking” notion that Democrats “could run an older candidate” while Republicans “could nominate a youthful standard-bearer” in the next presidential election.
Of course, to the liberal panel on Monday’s Morning Joe – absent host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough – GOP criticism against the former secretary of state is nothing but a sexist, hypocritical attack on the victimized Clinton.
Guest co-host Katty Kay griped that “people wouldn’t be saying this about men,” referencing a comment from Mitch McConnell earlier this year that the Democratic field was like “a rerun of ‘The Golden Girls.’” Of course, what Kay didn’t mention in her slam was that the Senate minority leader was referencing the age of potential male and female candidates, including Vice President Joe Biden. Biden would be 74 upon assuming the election were he to run for and win hte 2016 presiential election.
Leigh Gallagher, of Fortune magazine, chimed in with her agreement, referencing her “feminism”:
You know – I have a pretty – my bar for, sort of, feminism is pretty high, OK? And I read this piece and I thought, they wouldn't be saying this if it was a man.
Gallagher also seemed to chide the media’s obsession with a candidate’s celebrity preferences, claiming she doesn’t “necessarily want my president to be a fan of Jay-Z.” Of course, President Obama’s support of the famous rapper is well known, yet it doesn’t appear to be as hip when a Republican is involved.
Frequent Morning Joe contributor Harold Ford, Jr. took the Hillary-fawning to the next level, though. Ford, Jr. decided to bring up House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) hyperbolic statement last week that Hillary would be the most successful candidate on the “global front, as well as the domestic policy front” in “the last 50 years,” agreeing fervently with Pelosi’s claims:
Nancy Pelosi said it best. Hillary Clinton, if she enters the race – which I hope she does and is successful – in the last 50 years you can't point to a presidential candidate or someone who would have won the office with more experience on the foreign policy, global front, as well as the domestic policy front. So, Republicans can't have it every which way.
Well, if raving over Hillary Clinton’s prospects and defending the potential candidate was part one of the segment, then part two involved the other side of the aisle: bashing Republicans. Guest co-host Mike Barnicle criticized Martin’s article, complaining that there was “no reference to their [Republicans’] opposition to immigration, to gay marriage” and to anything that “happens on the street of any 21st century city,” suggesting that the GOP is hypocritical to criticize Hillary’s representation of old politics.
But when Kay actually suggested that she understands the “optics” of the Republican argument, Barnicle embraced those old politics:
KAY: If you go for the Clintons, you’re just going back to the ‘90s. We've had all of that. I understand the argument.
BARNICLE: It wasn't that bad.
FORD, JR.: Kind of liked those days.
And David Ignatius of the Washington Post rounded out the GOP-bashing, gleefully claiming that “the Republicans are flailing.”
Last week, host Joe Scarborough was able to partially stem the liberal tide that constantly flows through MSNBC, on issues like voter ID and abortion. It looks like when Scarborough’s not running his show, Morning Joe is no better than any other left-wing show on the Lean Forward network.
See the full transcript below:
July 1, 2013
6:11 a.m. Eastern
KATTY KAY: Let’s move on to domestic policy, and Leigh, I want to get you in on this one, too. Republicans may be tipping their hand when it comes to 2016 strategy. The headline in the New York Times: ‘GOP paints Clinton as Old News for Presidential Election.’ In the article, writer Jonathan Martin points out that some Republicans have hinted that Hillary's age and experience in Washington could work against her. She'll be 69 at election time. Here are what some top Republicans are saying – Romney strategist Stuart Stevens, ‘she's been AROUND SINCE THE '70s.’
MIKE BARNICLE: Last time he won.
KAY: Mitch McConnell called the Democratic field ‘a rerun of the golden girls.’ People would wouldn't be saying this about men. And Karl Rove said of Clinton, ‘we're at the end of her generation,’ adding that the argument for a change in leadership will be compelling. Leigh, I read that piece, it's a real bind that Hillary Clinton is in. When she ran last time around she got slammed for how she looked, what kind of a woman she was, was she too threatening in some ways. This time around she's been painted as being too old.
LEIGH GALLAGHER: You know – I have a pretty – my bar for, sort of, feminism is pretty high, OK? And I read this piece and I thought, they wouldn't be saying this if it was a man.
GALLAGHER: And it takes a lot for me to say that. I don't often jump right there, but I really felt that way. And the other part of this argument is sort of – I don't necessarily want my president to be a fan of Jay-Z or – I don't really care if – you know, about that stuff. There's a lot of talk in the piece about how Marco Rubio is – everyone is trying to be hip. I don't want that in my president. I don't want my president to be 30 years old. I think this smacks of they're going to attack her for anything.
JEREMY PETERS: Well what if she turns this around and uses it to her advantage, just saying. I mean, remember the line Ronald Reagan, the zinger from his debate, saying I will not hold my opponent's youth and inexperience against him. So, who knows? You don't know how these things are going to play out two years from now.
HAROLD FORD, JR.: One of the great ironies. Republicans have been critical, I think wrongly, of President Obama, saying that he lacked a certain level of experience when he came into office. Now you have, I think undeniably – Nancy Pelosi said it best. Hillary Clinton, if she enters the race – which I hope she does and is successful – in the last 50 years you can't point to a presidential candidate or someone who would have won the office with more experience on the foreign policy, global front, as well as the domestic policy front. So, Republicans can't have it every which way. However, having said all that, I think these issues are ones that the Clinton team will have to address and I think they’ll be able to address successfully.
BARNICLE: Jonathan Martin is a terrific reporter and he's a terrific writer.
FORD, JR.: He’s a good guy, too.
BARNICLE: And he’s a great guy. I would submit that he had to soak his face in cement from having to stop laughing when he was writing that piece because –
BARNICLE: If you read that piece, you notice a couple of things. There's not a single Republican woman mentioned in the piece.
FORD, JR.: Right.
BANRICLE: There's no reference to their opposition to immigration, to gay marriage, to sort of like what happens on the street of any 21st century city. So, if they're going to run against Hillary Clinton based upon her being as old as she is, or from a decade that she was supposedly from – the ‘60s, the ‘70s, or whatever they’re going to do – good luck to them.
KAY: I get the optics. She may be running up against somebody like Marco Rubio, and you've got an older white woman running against a young Cuban guy. It's – this is something that the Republicans would like to see out there. They would like to be able to present themselves as that contrast, they would like to be able to say we're the future. If you go for the Clintons, you’re just going back to the ‘90s. We've had all of that. I understand the argument.
BARNICLE: It wasn't that bad.
FORD, JR.: Kind of liked those days.
KAY: It wasn’t such a bad time – what I don’t like is the way they're going after her because she's a woman and linking back to age, and somehow it's about the way she looks.
PETERS: And after all the problems – yes. Absolutely. After all the problems that the Republicans had with women in this last election, is this really the question they want to be raising with female and swing voters?
GALLAGHER: Right out of the gate. Exactly. Jonathan does mention that this old pushing forward of the youth, the hip and the Republican Party may be more of – I think he calls it a symbolic side step more than anything else. It's interesting.
FORD, JR.: Think about this contrast, we discussed it last week on the show – Mike, you've been a part of this – you have some Republican governors who are advancing economic policy issues, job growth issues, how you get their state and local economies moving in the right direction by balancing the budgets and so forth. Yet you still have a national chorus of Republicans, led by those who have not won races in a long time, suggesting that, perhaps, the real angle, the real test for Democrats is whether or not they can nominate someone who is young and may not be a woman. We wouldn’t be saying this about a man. Ronald Reagan was elected at an elevated age. By all accounts, whether you’re Democrat or Republican, did a pretty good job depending on where you may sit. I disagree with some of the things, but by and large the country liked it. To suggest her age is a problem spells out clearly –
GALLAGHER: It feels a little desperate.
FORD, JR.: You can help amplify this point for me.
GALLAGHER: It does. It feels a little desperate, that strategy.
KAY: Yeah, I think so too. It reminds – but what it also reminds me, we saw a little bit with the Benghazi stuff. When she runs, there's been a slight revisionism about Hillary Clinton – she left office with these great approval ratings, everybody loved her, she has these stratospheric opinion polls – it’s gonna be a tough race. They are going to go after her in every possible way they can if she’s the Democratic nominee.
BARNICLE: Benghazi is the perfect segue, as we close out this block, a comment from the oracle in Washington, D.C.
KAY: Should we go to the oracle?
BARNICLE: I think so. Is the oracle still there? David, are you still there?
DAVID IGNATIUS: I am. I don't answer to that name.
BARNICLE: What do you think? Hillary, Jonathan Martin's piece yesterday, and the Republican strategy against her?
IGNATIUS: I think the Republicans are flailing. If that's the best they can come up with right now, it just shows how empty their kit is. Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, showed just what an active and dynamic personality she is and campaigner she will be. And, you know, if they're going to stick with that oh, she's just too old theme, and don't have anything else, they're going to get hammered.
BARNICLE: I agree.
KAY: I think it's going to be a good race. We don't have anything else, we'll go for her age. David Ignatius, thanks very much for joining us from Washington.
IGNATIUS: Thanks guys.