Carrying his sermonizing from his MSNBC morning show to Politico, Joe Scarborough railed against inflammatory political rhetoric in his latest Politico column – but hit conservative talk while ignoring leftist vitriol.
Calling them out by name, as he did recently on his show "Morning Joe," Scarborough pleaded with conservatives that if they can't be civil out of righteousness, they could at least practice civility for the sake of the Republican Party. "It's time to grow up," he lectured the Right, specifically pundits Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
Of course, Scarborough made no criticism whatsoever of inflammatory rhetoric from the Left – such as his MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz, who in 2009 joked about ripping Dick Cheney's heart out and playing political football with it, nor from vicious left-wing dilettante Randi Rhodes, nor from Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida who called his 2010 Republican opponent "Taliban Dan."
No, Scarborough was content instead to nitpick and moan, which he has been doing for, oh, a few columns in a row now. From criticizing the GOP to hitting Obama for not being strong enough, Scarborough's columns reek of liberal dissent rather than solid conservatism even as he constantly tells his television audience he is a "small-government conservative."
Scarborough called out GOP leaders for not condemning the "irresponsible language" of the Right, slamming Mitt Romney and criticizing former Gov. Tim Pawlenty for not speaking out against fellow Minnesotan Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R) for calling conservatives to be "armed and dangerous" in combating global warming legislation.
There's just one problem – whether Scarborough knew it or not, Bachmann's comments were taken way out of context by Paul Krugman at the New York Times. As NewsBusters reported recently, Bachmann's quote implored voters to be "armed and dangerous" with information to fight the legislation.
"I'm going to have materials for people when they leave," Bachmann told a radio show concerning possible energy tax legislation in 2009. "I want people to be armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back."
Bachmann clearly was using "armed and dangerous" to refer to people using information to oppose legislation, not violence.
Scarborough also hit Sarah Palin for her widely-publicized use of the term "blood libel" to describe the criticism she has received from the media for helping cause the Tuscon shootings with her rhetoric. Scarborough forgot, however, that the term has been used multiple times in the past – particularly on his own show.
Columnist Mike Barnicle, on the October 31, 2006 edition of MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," referred to Sen. John Kerry's treatment by Swift Boat veterans as "blood libel." Barnicle lamented that Kerry didn't properly stand up to the attacks "when he was undergoing a blood libel by the Swift Boat people." Scarborough, of course, did not rebuke Barnicle at the time for being insensitive or melodramatic.
In addition, Scarborough provided some nice rhetoric of his own Tuesday on his MSNBC show. He recommended that Palin, justifiably defending herself after the Tucson shootings, should have said less. "I know there are a lot of jackasses out there that are going to get upset at me. It just doesn't matter, because it's the truth," Scarborough insisted.
The former Florida Republican congressman did acknowledge that accusations against conservatives immediately following the Tuscon shooting were baseless. "The avalanche of condemnations that came pouring down on Palin, Fox News, and the tea party were off base and offensive," he wrote.
But, he warned, heated Right-wing talk could be a cause of a violent event down the road. "This would be a good time to prevent the next tragedy from destroying the political momentum," Scarborough argued.