Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Accidentally, Morning Joe

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for December 23rd, 2009


1) So there we were content to let this be a phone in program, what with Christmas upon us and the news that the GOP admits it’s powerless to stop tomorrow’s health care vote. But wait, Mika Brzezinski had another idea: let’s get this day off to a start by looping Bernie Sanders alarm on the functionality of the government, bring in Carl Bernstein and start ambushing guests on why this is a celebration rather than a placation.

Bravo. I was ready to go back to bed when the Bernstein interview took off. “A systemic failure of the legislative branch of government”. “It’s necessary to reform towards a public funding of campaign finance”. A 1-2 punch that we’ve heard before, but right now, right this second, when we are looking at the crowning achievement of a 60 vote voter induced mandate on health care that looks like a Chinese made recreation of reform on sale at Wal-Mart for $19.99 with the proceeds going to Connecticut and Nebraska, I think this time that systemic message has more intrinsic weight than Uranium-238.

This along with some very necessary measure from Andrew Ross-Sorkin on what reasonable people should expect looking a lot like the status quo, and a late arriving Joe Scarborough adding the crucial connecting point that the systemic failure has to point to the executive branch and the money signals that appear to be guiding the Presidency as well, what we have here is some Oliver Stone level fixing going on. Because of MSNBC, Howard Dean, Firedog Lake, and ironically Lindsay Graham, this fix has been more transparent than Mr. Obama intended when he claimed transparency but was relying on the limits of a public’s comprehension of the inner workings of government.

Not today. The cat is out of the bag. No longer can you put a “D” next to your name and claim to be insulated from the corruption failing 2 branches of our government. A 6th grader now knows that it’s not right or left but systemic that the government of the United States is making its deals in violation of the interests of it’s citizens. That consequently the American citizen is not even in the top ten of the food chain, and the top ten in that food chain are dismantling the riches of a nation and heading to higher ground with their new and our former wealth.

And I doubted you Mika Brzezinski, shame on me.

2) I wrote my Senator Barbara Boxer when I promised to do so last week and asked for a no vote on health care. I got a letter back that I’ve seen before from her. “Thanks for your note, here’s my position irrespective of how you feel”. Then she came on the show and I was ashamed. The Senate has lost it’s will and is fighting not for the people but for its war chest in 2010 and 2012. Joe Scarborough is dead on with the cross hairs being the ability to purchase 30 second spots when it matters.

Senator Boxer did not miss a single message from the party line in a moment Karl Rove would’ve been proud of. What sucks is that same 6th grader from above knows its not a message with any lucid restraint, but in the a good concept Steven A Smith had provided to the show, that message is everything we ever hated about John Kerry, hyperbole at every turn.

Message 1: 31 million Americans get insurance that didn’t have it before. That is a number driven by the mandate. The show didn’t catch that underlying ugliness. The math here is that healthy 20-somethings look at the mess of health care and choose with dollar votes not to participate. They are also, if they’re not employed or underemployed, in a lower tax bracket simultaneously, so not paying via taxation either, and are getting a free ride. If they get in an emergency, the service is provided. That 31 million people are those people who have opted out, not people that were barred from the market. You didn’t insure 31 million Americans in a rush to charity, you enslaved 31 million Americans by mandate to enrich private insurers and re-establish the pool they were avoiding by choice.

Message 2: Pre existing conditions are no longer a way out of, or preventing the acquiring of, health insurance. If the penalty for drunk driving were a $61 dollar fine, would it be effective, or would it still amortize out as less than the cost of cabs 5 times a month? If a business not bounded by a universal requirement amortizes out that it’s better off to pay a small fine than insure a child with a hole in their heart, get ready for that to happen. You can call something illegal, heck, marijuana, driving 71 miles an hour, banking in Antigua to avoid taxes, and keeping a handgun under the seat are all illegal, but their commonplace occurrence displays that you can’t effectively manage unless there is real consequence, and there isn’t here.

Message 3: 15% margin. History shows that the accounting practices of US Corporations are designed to make a 35 look like a 7.4, the difference between the corporate tax rate and the rate of tax contributions of the Fortune 500. So, yea, we’re talking politics.

That Barbara Boxer asked for the show’s credibility by saying she was a progressive completes this shameful observation of what amounts to 50% of the hope I have for reform from the Senate reduced to a shell game removing my interests and the interests of my Fox-watching conservative neighbors with equal effectiveness.

3) I write about this show. I am not a subscriber of the show that was the Morning Meeting. I am not because I largely agree with every single thing that Dylan Ratigan says and don’t need to participate in an echo chamber. I can watch that show once a week and catch all I need from his debate, which has been painfully circular and woefully without discipline, but just so right as rain for its entire run.

I hope that viewers don’t look at hack commentary based on the numbers of viewers for that show and its viewership decline and eventual cancellation and derive some take void of critical thought that it must’ve sucked. It had all the hard edges of U2’s first album when they really didn’t know how to play their instruments. But the heart present in these cases should be ample to win out over time, and I sincerely hope that MSNBC realizes that talent development is where the content comes from.

The 4 PM slot is no picnic. Many a generic show have gone there to die or placate a contract. But the 9 AM slot is equally difficult. The entire range from 9-5 is tough, because lets face it, we’ve already heard the reading of the news, there is little new content, we don’t have the free time to think critically about politics, and it’s just better for your career to switch to CNBC at that time.

Your mission at Morning Joe is to embolden what’s working with Dylan’s message and help develop what’s going on there. He didn’t come from lefty radio like Ed and Rachel, from congress like Chris, from sports like Keith, but from CNBC, the very place your show needs to relate to better, yet he has all the chops of a whistle blower gone mad.

What I did see when I watched that show is that it found stuff further in the details than Morning Joe could. As I’ve often been critical of missing underlying details on Morning Joe, which relies on expert guests and pure political instinct, it would be fair to say jettisoning the depth that the Morning Meeting provided in the hours after your show isolates your show further, and you'll need to find some depth and resolution that the sameness of a political scorecard show like what Savannah and Chuck are going to do just won’t provide you.

Personally, I think that Dylan should be lobbying for the overnight shift, and drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes on the set. Getting guests might be hard. It would be very, very good live TV and conspiracy theorists the world over would set their Tivo's accordingly. I vote for the Midnight Meeting, only on MSNBC.

Have a great holidays, see you Monday.

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