Reacting to news that Texas conservatives Pete Sessions (R) and Jeb Hensarling (R) would not challenge Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for House Majority Leader, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd felt compelled to rip the Tea Party for their supposed lack of leadership. According to The Daily Rundown host, Tea Party conservatives “will blind quote ‘leadership’ to death. They love to complain, moan, gripe, you know what, but when the chips are down, they don’t have the guts to run.”
NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell was unwilling to raise much of an objection to this blatantly partisan analysis. [MP3 audio here; video below]
She argued that "they’ll keep doing that, and they get something out of it." Refusing to back down from his original point, Todd asserted, “What do they want, just to complain? They like complaining, but they don’t want to lead?”
Moving on to criticizing the Republican Party more generally, Todd claimed that the Republican leadership would now be run by two men, in Boehner and McCarthy, who prefer political maneuvering over advancing policy arguments. He observed that “we got the number one and number two guy–not really big policy guys–and the whole conservative movement is based on supposedly wanting more policy fights.”
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post agreed: “I mean, McCarthy, he knows roughly about as much about policy as I do, you know, which is not a whole heck of a lot. Let’s just be honest.”
Yes, let’s be honest. We can’t recall the last time that the reporters and pundits on MSNBC worried that maybe, just maybe, the Senate Democratic leadership was too nakedly political rather than interested in an honest discussion of public policy.
Being a policy wonk is an indictment no one has ever made of the present Senate Democratic leadership, nor of Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer in the House Democratic minority.
Of course, the naked partisan gamesmanship of liberal congressional Democrats doesn’t concern MSNBC, which is solely interested in furthering the meme that conservatives aren’t really interested in the art of governing.
The relevant portion of the transcript is below:
The Daily Rundown
June 13, 2014
9:39 a.m. Eastern
CHUCK TODD, host: Kevin McCarthy–I have to say–the Tea Party conservatives, they will blind quote “leadership” to death. They love to complain, moan, gripe, you know what, but when the chips are down, they don't have the guts to run.
KELLY O’DONNELL, NBC News correspondent: And they’ll keep doing that, and they get something out of that.
TODD: What do they want, just to complain? They like complaining, but they don't want to lead?
O’DONNELL: And one of the things that I think that really affected this was by having so little time, by Cantor stepping down, he created a much bigger hurdle for those sort of noise makers to create any kind of operation because McCarthy had it built in. As the whip he knows everybody's phone number and birthday and first name of their spouse and had the votes in hand. So, he was able to launch quickly, which was helpful here. And so the noise making will continue. That's part of the process. We get to enjoy covering it but it's not going to change anything.
TODD: It’s interesting, Kevin McCarthy, very friendly to reporters, loves sort of being in action but this guy is not a policy wonk.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, Washington Post: Not at all.
TODD: Let’s not pretend.
CILLIZZA: Politics are politics.
TODD: And neither is Boehner. So now we got the number one and number two guy–not really big policy guys–and the whole conservative movement is based on supposedly wanting more policy fights.
CILLIZZA: Remember, in theory Cantor was supposed to be the guy–
TODD: He was more the meat.
CILLIZZA: Right. Who was kind of the–moving the party in a different way to different audiences, to different segments of the population. I mean, McCarthy, he knows roughly about as much about policy as I do, you know, which is not a whole heck of a lot. Let's just be honest.
TODD: You're basically–you’re not complimenting him.
CILLIZZA: Right, no, no, it's not a compliment. This is a political guy. You know, everything you read about him–
TODD: He should be NRCC chair.
CILLIZZA: He knows all the districts in the country–that's all well and good. And for someone like me or you, it's interesting. But you're now the second leader in the party and if Boehner steps aside, whatever Boehner does now, is he going to be the Speaker?