Monday, August 30, 2010

Headless Horseman

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for August 30th, 2010


1) If anyone sees anything other than great news out of the Glenn Beck debacle over the weekend, I may not be able to help you. The right is agitated and they want change now. But the fact is despite a spoiled brat mentality that covers the entire right of center spectrum, there is no leader. I know the feeling, because I lived it for 6+ years from the other side. John Kerry? Nothing elicits helplessness more fiercely than having the ‘for it before I was against it’ guy running your squad.

Glenn is out there because of the opportunity brought on by the absence of anyone approximating leadership in the Republican Party. Even if there were an heir apparent, his advisers would have him in an ice cave in Saskatchewan avoiding the recent implosion of the right into its two base parts. Recently is misleading, because the right has been best described as a poster child for identity crisis for the better part of a decade. Let gays in or persecute? Brown skinned Republicans or refuge for those of European descent? Like or dislike Eric Rudolph? All of these seemingly absurd questions show the peril of wanting to be on the right side of humanity without offending the extreme base of the party.

Enter master of doublespeak Glenn Beck. I know nothing of this man, proudly. When I try to watch the guys show, anything else seems more entertaining or informative. I basically get the feeling he is just guessing as he goes along with a piece of chalk in his hand. But look, there’s nothing hiding the fact that Rupert and Roger don’t want him actually making sense or his show even watchable. The more of a catacomb of self serving code that the show is, the more of a convenient device it is to be all things to all of the people mentioned above. There were brown skinned people at the rally and people who didn’t like having brown skinned people, well, at the rally. They were too confused by a lack of any real agenda to question why they were in the same circumstance without a partition.

My favorite fact overviewing the rally was the instruction sent out beforehand to avoid signage. It might as well have said: 'make Joe Scarborough guess your stand on the 2nd amendment, don’t make it obvious that you’re a 99.9% over my dead body crowd'. It was very hard to abide by that instruction. The Toby Keith garb was an overwhelming trend.

I can’t wait. Next, Glenn will say “let’s all meet just over the Potomac in Manassas and settle this thing once and for all”. The population is just weak enough right now because of everything that Glenn Beck is not talking about, to believe that might be the answer.

Lead to your untimely demise by a puppet being strung along by an Australian guy, you really need a leader to emerge prior.

2) Joe Scarborough has declared war on Paul Krugman. Krugman is the whipping post for Scarborough’s scathing dismissal of all things John Maynard Keynes. Amazingly, Scarborough gets away with this despite having offered nearly zero solutions of his own. These are difficult times and what this war on Krugman and Keynes embodies is a disastrous demonizing process when we need solutions and everything should be on the table.

Keynes does not equal stimulus in his theoretical entirety. In fact the thing I find the most interesting about Keynes has to do with regulatory policy. Keynes was for significant segmentation of the financial services and would have been absolutely horrified at the black box that currently best describes the lawlessness that the entire industry operates under. Keynes also has another key ingredient: that the private financial sector has an obligation towards progressing a national goal of full employment.

Now as you digest those two things, ponder that they are higher order elements of Keynesian theory than stimulus to replace spending in a time of crisis. So if you want to wage a war on Krugman and Keynes, you owe your subscribers more than the sound bite sensibility you have exhibited in your vitriolic dismissal of these two great economists.

If you think Krugman called you stupid or insane, you know he has zero inhibition about coming on your show to shine a light on the circumstance or context of that. I agree with the Joe Scarborough assertion that once you base your argument in one dimensional insults like this, the argument is essentially over because you’ve stated that the other side is void of credibility. The bottom line is if the answer really does lie inclusive of some of the things these two historically credible people endorse, they need you to help explain it to the lost souls described in section #1 above.

Those guys around you with economic bonifides: Sorkin, Sachs, etc; I don’t think they would endorse a cold shoulder where a significant part of the collective answer might lie. Ask them.

3) You guys have really lost the plot as it pertains to Erin Burnett. The top 3 things got weighted down by a bunch of Cramer-esque props, and now she is back to fighting to get any intelligent discussion going. Mr. Licht, you had something, you had a path to getting Erin to be an asset, and then it kept getting tinkered with. Can’t you get enough control of the show to not lose assets like this with histrionics as the culprit?

We had this discussion a long time ago when the show got bent on features and forgot to cover the news. This is a microcosm of that discussion. Even when you watch Erin on CNBC she rarely gets an opportunity to wax philosophical on what she sees. You own the real estate ideally equipped to get that conversation from her, void of all the necessary CNBC automations, just what she thinks about things. Yet you let it slip away into a cooking show day after day.

It was a notable evolution of the show just minutes earlier when Howard Dean was done with a segment, and by the reverse magic of television did not have to disappear, in fact, reappearing magically to provide balance to at least two more segments. I remember a few weeks ago when the segment Dean was on was notably short, or shortened. Dean is a cornucopia of knowledge from the other side, and I think it was a great part of the show today when Willie Geist got a chance to ask Howard what he thought of Mark Halperin’s negative election prognosis for Democrats in November.

If you recall I was furious about the Halperin prognosis. But look at the track record of the Morning Joe show: health care has no chance, it’s Hillary for sure in '08, I’m sure there’s more, but the point is, you aren’t very good at prognoses regarding the Democrats, because your cast leader is on the other side. He is projecting his wish list on the Democrats, takes his pocket calculator with him, and needs an azimuth check by guys like Howard Dean periodically.

You have people like Dean and Burnett surrounding you, be sure you aren’t cutting them off and then filling in the blanks with what you wish they would have said or predicted.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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