As Don Imus might say, there was a "tension convention" on the set of today''s Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough and Nicolle Wallace got into it over Marco Rubio's future. Scarborough repeatedly argued that Rubio should get out before the Florida primary, or risk ruining his political future. Wallace made the case that Rubio has the right to remain in as much as Kasich, both their strategies being to survive to a hopefully brokered convention.
Scarborough would surely say his was simply the voice of political reason. But watch the clip, and see if there isn't something more at work. As for Wallace, the strain in her expression as Joe harangued her spoke volumes. At one point Joe snapped at Nicolle: "get your Marco Rubio badge off, okay?" To which Wallace could have but didn't respond "quit your anti-Rubio crusade, Joe."
At one point, Scarborough tells Wallace: "this is obviously very personal to you. It's not personal to me." Doth the Scarborough protest too much? View the video: who looks more personally invested in the argument to you?
The kerfuffle lends credibility to the notion that intra-party squabbles can be more bitter than those between people in different parties. Joe has said that Jeb was his first preference in the primary, and Nicolle is a former W communications director.
NICOLLE WALLACE: This has turned into a totally different kind of contest where they are staying in to deprive Trump of getting to 1237. If that's what Rubio wants to turn his cause into--a deprivation strategy--I don't see any reason why he should get out.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: But Marco's problem is he is getting worse by the week and not better.
NICOLLE: No one's geting worse faster than Trump. Trump's got the nation talking about the correlation between the size of one's hands. That Rubio followed him there is so funny --
JOE: No, no, no, no, no: just stop.
NICOLLE: -- That Rubio gets tagged with that.
JOE: Just stop. Nicolle, just stop. Marco Rubio --
NICOLLE: Stop blaming Trump for taking us to the gutter? I never will. I never will. I swear I -- my child runs around the house yelling "hands."
tJOE: Come on, Nicolle.
NICOLLE: Come on, Joe. You want to blame Rubio for going to the gutter? He followed Trump there. Because that's what everyone's talking about.
JOE: [shouting] I'm talking about numbers, Nicolle!
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: He's talking about the polls and the numbers.
JOE: [still shouting] He's finishing in third and fourth place, okay? Get your Marco Rubio badge off, okay?
. . .
JOE: This is obviously very personal to you. It's not personal to me.
NICOLLE: Personal, that's [inaudible]. Listen, they're staying in to prove --
JOE: Marco Rubio -- Marco Rubio has a decision to make. Does he want to destroy his political career by staying in a race that he obviously is not going to win. And he keeps getting worse in the polls every week!