Joe Scarborough is furious with Joe Biden and his campaign for supposedly going too easy on Donald Trump. On Tuesday's Morning Joe, Scarborough twice kvetched that Biden is playing by the gentlemanly "Marquess of Queensberry rules."
Who remembers that "Jim Crow 2.0" stuff?
According to Scarborough, the Biden campaign is failing to respond to Donald Trump's attacks. Instead, it's staying "above the fray." Scarborough analogized the situation to the failed 1988 campaign of Michael Dukakis, in which the Democrat supposedly left the playing field to George H.W. Bush and let his early 20-point lead slip away.
In particular, Scarborough was peeved by Biden's lack of pushback on the issue of his mental acuity, the notion that he is "too old" to carry out presidential duties. Continuing a theme that we noted Scarborough sounding last week, in which he suggested that Trump has "dementia," he today, citing some recent verbal miscues that Trump had made, insisted that Biden "needs to start talking about Trump being too old."
Scarborough said that Biden doesn't need to wait for the Hollywood writers strike to be over to get attack lines against Donald Trump for his speeches. Nope, not to worry: Joe Scarborough to the rescue! He suggested a number of instances of Trump's verbal tangles that Biden should use in going after his once-and-perhaps-future rival.
Lost on Scarborough is the irony that Biden has not needed to lead the fight against Trump. Instead, Ol' Joe has always been able to rely on media lackeys like Scarborough to carry his water, or better said, his vitriol, against Trump. Scarborough has been cravenly carrying out that job for years.
Scarborough simply formalized his role a bit more today today. Perhaps Joe could ape John Kerry's opening words in his acceptance speech at the 2004 Dem convention, and declare, "President Biden, sir: I'm Joe Scarborough, and I'm reporting for duty!"
Question: Jon Meacham was on today's panel. Will the occasional Biden speechwriter resent Scarborough horning in on his gig?
Note: Morning Joe regular Jonathan Lemire dutifully played his part. He flatly declared that despite questions about his age, "President Biden has been able to do the job." And in a bit of unintentional humor, Lemire scolded his fellow members of the liberal media, saying "we have been giving Donald Trump a pass too much." Yeah, that's the problem: MSM too soft on Trump!
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough serving as a volunteer Biden speechwriter, suggesting avenues of attack against Donald Trump, was sponsored in part by Liberty Mutual.
Here's the transcript.
6:00 am EDT
DONALD TRUMP: You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than hitting a whale with your boat.T here has only been, listen to this, one such whale killed off the coast of South Carolina in the last 50 years.
But on the other hand, the windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before. Nobody does anything about that. They're washing up on shore. I saw it this weekend, three of them came up. They wouldn't -- you wouldn't see it once a year. Now, they're coming up on a weekly basis. The windmills are driving them crazy. They're driving -- they're driving the whales, I think, a little batty. And they're washing up on shore at levels never seen before. And they want to stop your boats. One in 50 years, can you imagine that?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Donald Trump yesterday in South Carolina, continuing his weird war against windmills.
. . .
WILLIE GEIST: The whales and the windmills, that was even for him a real tour de force. We can talk more about that.
But Donald Trump has been back on the campaign trail. He was in South Carolina yesterday, talking to a rally, about 400 people in Summerville. His first event in the state since July.
During a speech that lasted 40 minutes, Trump talked about the 2016 presidential race, and appeared to confuse his then opponent, Jeb Bush, with former President George W. Bush.
TRUMP: You know, the beauty was, when I came here, everyone thought Bush was gonna win. And then they took a poll, and they found out Trump was up by about 50 points. Everyone said, what's going on right here? They thought Bush, because Bush was supposedly a military person, great. You know what he was in mili ---- he got us into the -- he got us into the Middle East. How did that work out, right?
GEIST: So, Jonathan Lemire, he was talking, of course, about George W. Bush, but conflated him with Jeb Bush, who was the Governor of Florida in March of 2003, when the United States went into Iraq.
But for all the talk of Joe Biden's problems, and his age and everything else, if you sit and watch not just those clips, but the 40 minutes in South Carolina, some red flags there.
JONATHAN LEMIRE: I mean, [sarcastically] Trump's right about the windmills and the whales. I don't know what you're talking about.
GEIST: You're, you're on board with that?
LEMIRE: Yeah, yeah. Fact check, true, on that. No, you're, you're right. It's a couple things here. First, there's a lot of discussion about President Biden's age, and whether or not he seems to be, you know, slipping at all; whether he's still up for the job. And there was a moment last week where eyebrows were raised. Where at the, at a fundraiser the president had in New York City, he told the same story twice, seemingly not remembering he had told it the first time.
That said, President Biden has been able to do the job, and his record speaks for itself. His aides are very quick to point that out.
I think we have been giving Donald Trump a pass too much, because he's always sort of, frankly, spoken like a crazy person. And many times, if you read the transcripts of his speeches, they're very hard to follow. And he's so all over the place, it's tough to pin down what he actually means.
. . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Think about this, and it goes back to what we said yesterday, which is, Joe Biden's sitting there playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules, And going [adopts nerdy voice], the GDP is going to rise by 2.49.
I mean, that's how I talk, okay? But I'm not running for anything. He needs to do better, all right? He needs to start hitting Donald Trump back. There's a reason why those polls are looking the way they are. Because they all talk about Biden being too old.
Biden needs to start talking about Trump being too old. Listen, this is not hard to do! He doesn't have to wait for the writers to get off the picket lines to write his material!
Because, everybody, this is what Donald Trump thinks and what he's thought over the last two weeks. That he ran a primary contest against George W. Bush in 2016. And he beat him, even though George W. Bush had gotten us into the Middle East. And then he thinks, alternatively, that he ran the general election in 2016 against Barack Obama! And he said last week, nobody thought we could beat Barack Obama, but we did. He stumbled around with Obama's name, and then he went on to say he beat Barack -- he was going to beat -- oh, no, that he beat Barack Obama in 2020, as well. And then, of course, on to the part about where Joe Biden was going to get us into World War II in 2024.
The reason why those numbers are higher, and the reason why people are comparing Hunter Biden's laptop to stealing nuclear secrets, is because the Republicans have been hammering Joe Biden over this nonstop. And the White House considers itself above the fray.
This is, like Mike Dukakis in 1988, using his push lawn mower, while George H.W. Bush was going around talking about how polluted Boston harbor was, and talking about -- you know, going from one flag factory to another flag factory.
And Jon Meacham, by the time it was over, right, and, and you had Michael Dukakis going, oh, I'm above this. I'm not going to respond to that. I mean, you've written 41's biography. You know!
By the time Dukakis finally started responding to the attacks, he'd lost like 20 points in the polls. His 20-point lead was evaporated.
Ane now, you've got the Biden people sitting back, talking Bidenomics, while his son's being trashed and while his age is being trashed.
And here, I just want to repeat for you, because I know you're a historian. And I'm sure you never knew this. Donald Trump says he ran against George W. Bush in the primary and beat him. Ran, in 2016, ran against Barack Obama in the general election. Nobody thought they could beat him, but he beat him. Ran against Barack Obama in 2020 and beat him. No matter what the press and the pundits say. This is a guy who is terribly confused.
And, again, we don't hear that so much because the Biden campaign is playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules.