Monday, August 9, 2010


The Morning Joe Rebuttal for August 9th, 2010


1) The dynamic that seems to work for the Morning Joe show is when Scarborough surrounds himself with antagonists, keeps maybe one ally and takes them all on kung fu style. The show today would’ve capsized to the right if it had to pass a seaworthiness test, and screamed: bring me Katrina Vanden Heuvel at the top of its lungs.

Nice safe edits of the Sunday talk shows ensued with the favorite being the tape of the two former treasury secretaries agreeing with everything Joe Scarborough ever said, ever. Ruben and O’Neil were in rare form on GPS on Sunday. I wish the Morning Joe show would’ve spent some time talking about Paul O’Neil talking about how he got fired for his loud recognition that WMD was a fallacy or that the Bush tax cuts were catastrophic. No great mystery why that part didn’t make it to the agenda of the day.

To be fair, this show skewers John Boehner every single time. They taunt him, they mock his takes, and as of this morning refer to his appearance as ‘distracting’. It’s always a good day when that is the context of Boehner’s mention on the show, but it appears to be white noise at this point and does not counterbalance the abbreviated representation of the Ruben/O’Neil interview.

Another outright passive aggressive smackdown occurred when Joe Scarborough at the end of the Erin Burnett segment listened to Erin postulate that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts will have an at best marginal effect on domestic growth. Upon hearing a take that need to be assassinated at once, Scarborough went to his ‘hypnosis’ face and deep froze the conversation straight to commercial.

But Haass, Halperin, Wallace joined Scarborough and Geist in what amounts to a televised 5-0 verdict on any issue that showed up. Halperin might have seemed like he was dissenting, but that was actually Mark wishing that Democrats would actually be even more extreme and run the ship on the rocks in the 3 months after the election, in hopes that a regime change could be had more possibly in 2012.

2) If I could have asked a question of Jeffrey Sachs, it would have been: does your abandonment of stimulus have to do solely with buyer’s remorse from the mediocrity of the Pelosi plan, or do you share Scarborough’s ban on anything called stimulus? It’s really two different takes on the issue. We have a sinful amount of envy for the recession era investments made by the Chinese, and we have no appetite to have Pelosi II.

But Scarborough ran with the Sachs accompaniment as if it was an endorsement, and that’s just not congruency. It’s OK to say there’s some coincidental parts of the two things, but what I hear when I hear Sachs riff on stimulus or health care or financial regulatory reform is a disenchantment with the diluted solutions of our government and an intent not to fund counterproductive governing bodies. That is worlds away from a small government conservative that would’ve created an equal fiscal catastrophe with misplaced austerity.

I am not surprised by Scarborough magnetizing his position to smart peoples takes that sound like they have similar elements. But there needs to be proof sent out by this claim that Scarborough’s take was something other than extreme with no provable benefit.

So should that question have gone the way I would bet everything it would, I would have followed up with another: if there was a provable architecture and an executive intent to a second stimulus, a do over with a top to bottom plan, could you endorse that? It would separate Sachs from Scarborough and prove that my remorse is solvable, but only by government that adapts to its previous failures.

They are two different takes, don’t adopt it because you won’t like it when it grows up.

3) On Friday, the Sebastian Junger visit followed up by the David Ignatius interview was as good as it’s been on the Morning Joe show in a long while. I looked up the film and found it nearby with one paltry midday showing, but there is zero chance ill miss it. While I love the segment and the reverence, there just doesn’t seem to be any relationship being made that the movie and this book is no different than the WikiLeaks situation.

People trying to bury WikiLeaks will find that Junger’s book and movie won’t make them happy, either. So the question that should be fairly levied here is: why the reverence in one spot and the demonization of the other? I have consistently called the Julian Assange effort a courageous one. I would like to see an explanation about the two different treatments by this show.

We all like Tom Hanks, we all watched The Pacific, so how is Assange a spy and Junger a hero? They are both heroes. I elect as judge of this challenge: Dr Jeffrey Sachs. Good luck winning that one.

Ignatius made everyone’s head spin with real news that the President is trying to look in unorthodox spots like Iran to solve the problems he is facing. If nothing else, the fact that this train of though exists is very good news.

But like we all know, we may want to give that a minute or a week, lest we get bested by quick moving facts.

That's all for today, see you tomorrow.

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