Nicolle Wallace and her panel were not calm today. Not at all. Between Steve Schmidt and Donny Deutsch, the mood was grim and full of gloom, but also with some fire.
Most importantly, Donny Deutsch got them to think beyond the mundane punditry of small thinkers and see exactly what the danger is here. It's not something we can sit around and "both sides" the hell out of, not at all.
During the discussion about what it would take to get Trump back in line now that Republicans have totally bent down and sworn fealty to him, Donny Deutsch erupted.
"I want to know what the people of this country are going to do if Rod Rosenstein is fired," he said. "We can't sit down. Trump is winning. He's winning, kids. This crazy wacky guy is winning!"
They began to list all the ways he is eroding trust in our democratic institutions. The media. Intelligence. The independence of the judiciary. Attacks on the intelligence committee a year ago after Jim Comey briefed him on the dossier.
Deutsch jumped in again, sounding the alarms louder. "A year from now if this doesn't change, maybe this table is in trouble if we keep talking like this," he warned. "I'm not being dramatic." (He's not!)
"This is what's happening, kids. I mean, and this guy is winning," he repeated. "This wacky orange poofy-haired guy is winning this game and we cannot depend on the Congress any more."
More ominously, he predicted, "If Rosenstein is fired, there needs to be people in the streets because that is -- it's getting in scary territory, kids."
It's been in scary territory but we are finally seeing the pundit class catch on, which is a very, very good thing.
As they went around the table for some concluding remarks, these statements resonated with me too.
Steve Schmidt observes: "Everybody's side is chosen. It's on the Super Bowl on Sunday. You have Patriots and Eagles on the field. In this election in November, you have Team Trump and you have everybody else."
Nicolle Wallace adds: "A (Trump) ally said to me that he's out of control. The guardrails have all failed. And only losing control of congress will bring him back in control. It will be the campaign equivalent of losing Wisconsin. That will be the next time anyone can talk any sense into him. Scary thought."
Scary thought, indeed. Sharpen your pitchforks and shine your torches, folks. There's a rough ride ahead.