It's not every day you have guests telling other guests to shut up before the host comes on to warn both of them they're in danger of being tossed off the set, but that's what happened today on Katy Tur's show during a live shot at Huntington Beach.
Squaring the liberal Bob Shrum against the conservative Republican committeeman Shawn Steel, Tur was looking to get their take on yesterday's California primary and Trump's tweet about it.
Note to readers: So far, every take on the California primaries on cable news has been the absurd claim that Democrats are still in disarray, that yesterday was a disaster because John Cox is running against Gavin Newsom (as if Newsom himself didn't promote Cox), and that the Blue Wave is just a tiny little lap on the shore.
None of those things are true, but it makes for a nice tense runup to the general election, doesn't it?
It took about 40 seconds for the conversation to spiral into chaos, mostly because Republicans can't help but behave like frat boy assh*les.
Basically, Shawn Steel couldn't resist taking a swipe at Los Angeles as some kind of swamp of poverty, which is so patently untrue and ridiculous that Bob Shrum couldn't help but bite back.
And it was on. Katy Tur, for her part, did a terrible job of reining it in. It should have been as simple as cutting some mics, but instead she tried to play nice for far too long.
At some point in the catfight between these two grown men, Shrum told Steel to "just shut up," prompting Steel to taunt Shrum about whether he had ever won a race in his life. (As a lifelong Californian, I don't recall Steel winning one either, but whatever).
Finally, Tur told them she was going to "kick you both off-set," prompting them both to shut their mouths long enough to be told to behave and speak one at a time.
Shrum's analysis was pretty straight and correct: Trump may have helped Cox in the primary but it wasn't going to help in the general.
Reminding viewers that independent voters now outnumber Republicans in the state, Shrum explained the lay of the land.
"Donald Trump is very popular with Republicans and his endorsement in my view is what propelled John Cox to the Republican nomination aided by the ads put on by Gavin Newsom which attacked him as a conservative," he said. "Newsom knew exactly what he was doing."
Yes, he did, which is why I want to punch my TV screen every time someone says it was some kind of victory for the CA GOP to have John Cox land the number 2 spot in yesterday's primary. It was entirely expected, especially after Trump's endorsement. And in fact, Gavin Newsom would much rather campaign against John Cox than fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa which is why he did that thing. STOP saying it's some sort of major GOP victory, cable yakkers.
Shrum summed it up. "Now that's been a huge asset for Cox in the primary. I think it is a big lead weight around his neck in the general election. The president's popularity in this state is about 25%. He's very unpopular among independents and he's disdained by Democrats."
Exactly. Cox is the perfect candidate to run against Newsom. He's a carpetbagger, a rich businessman, and a Republican. Newsom is the very successful Governor Jerry Brown's Lieutenant Governor and former Mayor of San Francisco. John Cox is not going to ride to Sacramento on the coattails of Donald Trump.