I don't know who MSNBC thought they were appealing to this Friday evening but they seemed to be determined to stick a fork in the eye of their regular viewers who were expecting to see Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow on the air and found themselves watching an atrocity called Morning Joe at Night rather than their usual fare of liberal television for the evening.
The two hour show was every bit as banal and awful as any of their typical three-hour three-ring circuses they air every Monday through Friday during the week and I fear watching too much of this stuff would have most people -- as Charlie Pierce loves to say when commenting on Tiger Beat On The Potomac (a.k.a. Politico) -- ready to break out the Prestone, and make it a double, especially if you didn't know it was coming. I was somewhat prepared because I heard Mrs. Greenspan talking about how wonderful it was going to be that they were allowed to pollute MSNBC's airways at night instead of just the usual three hours they're given in the mornings.
Joe has a meltdown
About the only mildly interesting part of their entire two hour exercise was watching Joe Scarborough have another one of his meltdowns when Chris Matthews dared to challenge him on foreign policy and what the next Republican presidential candidate might have to run on if they hope to win the next election.
Mike Barnicle asked what a Republican candidate is going to run on if the economy keeps getting better and they can't run against Barack Obama since he's not going to be on the ballot.
SCARBOROUGH: The Republicans, my god. Foreign policy, an extraordinarily failed and flawed foreign policy is a great place to start. The fact that the rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer.
BRZEZINSKI: Wait, the Republicans should run on this?
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, anybody should run on this...
BRZEZINSKI: Mitt Romney could run on that?
SCARBOROUGH: Wait, he's asking me a question. Let me answer the question. The fact that wages continue to be depressed, the fact that we have thrown everything including the kitchen sink at the economy and yes, unemployment is low, but also the job participation rate is also as low as its been in about twenty, thirty years, millions of Americans have just given up and while the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer, the middle class keeps falling behind. The working class, forget about it.
Anybody, you go out there, any Republican or Democrat that goes out there and tries...
MATTHEWS: You listed everything that's wrong in the world. It's not Obama's fault.
SCARBOROUGH: You just asked....
MATTHEWS: How did ISIS become his fault?
SCARBOROUGH: You just asked a question Chris, or Mike did, what do you run on? What do you think? Do you think Republicans run on who wins this Super Bowl? You run on what's wrong and how you think you can fix it?
MATTHEWS: And how would a Republican fix all the all of these (crosstalk)
SCARBOROUGH: You talk about ISIS. If ISIS did not grow out of American's inaction in Syria, please tell me what it grew out of. You had two presidents in a row, one Republican and one Democrat that ran an overly ideological foreign policy. George Bush, we're under attack. I'm going to make the world safe for democracy. He got us in Iraq and he went in too fast and he fools rushed in and we paid for that. Barack Obama got us out too quickly because he was overly ideological. He wanted to be able to come home and say, I got us out of Iraq. That's just the reality and if you don't believe that...
After asking Matthews if Romney is now somehow vindicated following the last election because all of his attacks against President Obama have supposedly been proven right and whether he'd have had a chance in the 2016 presidential race had he decided to get in, Matthews responded.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, I think the country's learned a lot in the last ten, fifteen years and they don't think that the right strategy was more aggression and these ground wars. They don't think that we won by going into Iraq. The don't think we would have won by staying in longer or staying in longer in Afghanistan. I think the big lesson they learned is, the more aggressive we are in land wars the more enemies we make, starting with putting all of those troops into the holy land of Mecca under Dick Cheney back in the first Gulf War. It's all worked against us. It's created al Qaeda. Israel going into Lebanon created Hezbollah. All this aggressiveness and killing of Arabs have made Arabs our enemies in so many nations. I don't think the American people say more hawkish foreign policy is going to make us safer.
Matthews went onto slam Bibi for his latest stunt with Boehner and doing an end around on the President on foreign policy and that's when the meltdown by Scarborough started. He started pointing his finger at Matthews and telling him he didn't answer his question, to which Matthews retorted, "Yes I did." Scarborough told him he needed to listen to him and accused Matthews of "giving a political speech" on "his show."
It seems he's the only one allowed to give political speeches when he's running the show. Matthews who is probably pretty used to Scarborough and his blow ups seemed pretty amused and continued to make his points on what might turn the next presidential election.
Don't do this again, MSNBC
Unless their intention is to run Chris Hayes' and Rachel Maddow's ratings down to nothing, it might not be wise for the network to repeat this little experiment again any time soon. They replaced what is generally two hours of intelligent broadcasting that informs the viewers with two hours of banal claptrap that insults their intelligence instead, and with Joe Scarborough playing the bully-boy in prime time rather than the mornings, when most of their audience is half asleep.