Mika Defends Carter's Cheney-Bashing: 'A Responsibility to Say Something'

Surprise! Mika Brzezinski, far from criticizing Jimmy Carter's excoriation of the Bush adminstration, applauds it . . .

View video here.

In a free-swinging democracy such as ours, rare are the restraints on political speech by our elected representatives. One exception are rules of decorum, such as those governing the House of Representatives that prohibit members from speaking in negative personal terms about their colleagues and other officials.

There is a similar, unwritten rule by which former presidents do not criticize their successors. And while the occasional lapse has occurred over the history of the republic, no president has so thoroughly trashed the tradition as Jimmy Carter, who has made stinging criticism of the Bush administration a virtual art form. Earlier this year, for example, Carter publicly labelled the Bush administration "the worst in history."

The Kvetcher-in-Chief is back at it again.

The latest tirade from the man who brought us the "Desert One" disaster is directed at Vice-President Cheney, whom he called a "disaster," and "a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military."

Surely no MSM newsreader would defend Carter's breach of comity, would she? As it turns out, at least one would. There was Mika Brzezinski on today's "Morning Joe," staunchly standing up for both the form and substance of the remarks by the former president for whom her father Zbigniew served as National Security Advisor.

Carter will be a guest on "Morning Joe" tomorrow.

WILLIE GEIST: He was talking to the BBC yesterday, and we only hope he opens up like this for us tomorrow. He called Dick Cheney, quote, "a disaster" and "a militant who avoided military service himself" but who has no problem inflicting our military on the world. He also said, in a negative way, that Cheney was overly persuasive on Bush, and that he has often prevailed in foreign policy decisions.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well, I've heard echoes of that before, for sure, so he's just saying what a lot of people are thinking.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: A lot of people around your household, Mika, but the rest of us . . .

BRZEZINSKI: Hey, hey, hey: that's not necessarily true. Don't paint my household.

"Not necessarily" true? It either is or it isn't. Is Mika professing ignorance of what's being said in her own home? But let's give Bubbles the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps in speaking of what "a lot of people are thinking" in terms of blasting the Bush administration, she had the MSNBC newsroom in mind. But back to the exchange.

SCARBOROUGH: What do you think of the rule that former presidents don't say bad things about current presidents? Do you think that's a good idea?

BRZEZINSKI: No I don't. I think people should speak their minds and act on their convictions. If something is wrong in your mind, you speak it.

And a bit later.

BRZEZINSKI: I just think if you, in your gut, think that our country is fundamentally going in the wrong direction, and you're a former president, perhaps you have a responsibility to say something.

SCARBOROUGH: You know what, perhaps there are other ways you can do it.


Scarborough later predicted that the same people who today applaud Carter's candor will condemn Pres. Bush for criticizing a future President Hillary Clinton. Let's hope Mika never has the chance to prove Joe right.

Bonus Coverage -- Mika Gushes Over New Carter Book: Earlier [see beginning of video], Mika sung the praises of Carter's latest thumb-sucker, "Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease and Building Hope.” Even the New York Times labelled it "something of a valentine to himself; his wife, Rosalynn; and his colleagues at the Carter Center in Atlanta." But Mika gushed that it was "a great book" that "makes you realize what one can do with one's life."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.