By Mark Finkelstein | May 2, 2016 | 8:21 AM EDT

Mike Barnicle's a guy from the Duke Ellington era, so I suppose it makes sense if he doesn't "get around much anymore." How else to explain his nonsensical statement on today's Morning Joe? When Joe Scarborough asked him why the FBI investigation of Hillary's email is taking so long, Barnicle said "I have not spoken to anyone who believes there is an indictable offense that has occurred."

Responded Scarborough sarcastically: "you're talking to a very tightly focused crowd there," adding that people in the intel community say "anybody else would be in prison right now." The befuddled Barnicle reversed himself moments later, saying "there's a couple of people I've spoken to who, you know, think that there should be sort of a Petraeus ruling on it, at a minimum." Petraeus was indicted and convicted of a misdemeanor for his mishandling of email. So which is it, Mike? 

By Tom Johnson | April 26, 2016 | 5:56 PM EDT

Republican politicians, more than their Democratic counterparts, tend to campaign on anti-Washington themes. That’s kind of odd, suggests Michael Tomasky, given that one of Washington’s quintessential institutions, Congress, helps the GOP by playing a crucial role in obscuring the American people’s fondness for liberal socioeconomic policies.

“If Congress is what you see when you see America,” wrote Tomasky in a Tuesday column, “then you see a place where roughly half—no, more than half—of the people think that raising the minimum wage is radical, or that health care is a privilege you have to earn, or that climate change is a fantasy…Out in the real country, only crackpots think these things…But the crackpot community is dramatically overrepresented in Washington and skews the way all these things are discussed and described on shows like Morning Joe.”

By Mark Finkelstein | April 25, 2016 | 9:27 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough was careful to state for the record that he was "not voting for Hillary Clinton." But everything else he said during a segment on today's Morning Joe was one long love letter to her foreign policy and leadership skills.

Granted, Joe set the bar very low, comparing Hillary's prospective leadership to President Obama's fecklessness. Even so, it was striking to hear Scarborough proclaim "Hillary Clinton does not believe in leading from behind. Hillary Clinton does not believe that you sit back and let the events of the world shape the country. Hillary Clinton does not believe in the type of foreign policy, the don't-do-stupid-stuff foreign policy of Barack Obama." He also claimed that within a week of assuming office, Hillary would build better coaltions around the world and with congress than Obama ever did.

By Mark Finkelstein | April 22, 2016 | 1:58 PM EDT

Mike Barnicle prefaced his remarks on Obamacare by saying his understanding was "meager." He was grossly . . . overstating his knowledge. The subject in the Morning Joe segment today was UnitedHealthCare's decision to quit the Obamacare exchanges. Dr. Dave Campbell explained that UnitedHealthcare was going to lose $1 billion on Obamacare this year, and that all other insurers were also losing money.

That's when Barnicle piped up: "my understanding of it, meager as it is: so it's the profit motive that's going to drive these insurance companies out of the exchanges. They have boards of directors. They can't figure out how to retool their approach to it in order to make [money]?" Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant, Mike! Why didn't UnitedHealthcare think of that? If there's a problem with that profit-motive thingy, just have the board of directors figure out a way to turn a profit. Problem solved! 

By Brad Wilmouth | April 21, 2016 | 9:33 PM EDT

As former ABC This Week co-anchor Cokie Roberts appeared as a guest on Thursday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, she expressed agreement as liberal host Mika Brzezinski declared that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz "seems like a terrible choice" for Republicans to support to stop Donald Trump from winning. Brzezinski proclaimed: "I'm sure it is a little bit of, for me, my world view, ideology, but it just seems like Ted Cruz seems like a terrible choice to try and use -- am I wrong? Help me out with some objectivity."

By Mark Finkelstein | April 20, 2016 | 11:30 AM EDT

Morning Joe regulars know that Mika Brzezinski has made a virtual art form out of her facial expressions and body language. On today's show, Mika put on a particularly demonstrative display of horror while asserting what she sees as Ted Cruz's lack of appeal to women voters.

The question on the table had been Donald Trump's surprisingly strong showing among women in yesterday's New York Republican primary. The Donald scored 59% of women voters, almost equaling the 63% of men voters he garnered. Gene Robinson was stumped to explain it. When he posited Ted Cruz as the alternative to Trump, someone to whom voters would be expected to "flock," Mika broke in: "I don't think women are going to flock to Ted Cruz." Mika accompanied her comment with animated expressions, looking to the sky, taking a deep breath then sharing a horrified look with someone offstage to her right. You can catch Mika's contortions 40 seconds into the video clip. See also screencap below.

By Mark Finkelstein | April 19, 2016 | 9:22 AM EDT

Barry Goldwater was a conservative hero and pioneer.  But his presidential run was an historic flop. So when Joe Scarborough described Ted Cruz on today's Morning Joe as "Barry Goldwater's ugly stepson," it was a scalding simile. Scarborough in turn scolded the Republican establishment for backing Cruz over John Kasich as the alternative to Donald Trump.

Scarborough's argument focused on electability. Scarborough predicted that in a general election against Hillary, Cruz would lose 40-41 states [actually a bit better than the 44 Goldwater lost]. The screencap shows Scarborough holding up a Boston Red Sox coffee cup while claiming the cup has a better chance of beating Hillary in swing states than Cruz. In contrast, Scarborough says Kasich would "blow her out."

By Mark Finkelstein | April 18, 2016 | 8:13 AM EDT

John Heilemann: self-appointed avenging angel and scourge of lies and liars? Earlier this month, Heilemann accused Dan Senor to his face of "lying" about Paul Ryan's presidential ambitions. Heilemann was back at his accusatory beat on today's Morning Joe, this time making the affable Willie Geist, of all people, his target.

To introduce a feel-good segment congratulating Willie on his new gig, Morning Joe rolled a clip of the opening of Geist's hosting debut of NBC Sunday Today yesterday. Willie told viewers they were welcome to hang out on their couches in sweatpants, while he got dressed in his "church clothes." But Heilemann, raining on the parade, jumped ugly: "Do you think it was a good idea to start off a show with a lie like that?" Challenged, Heilemann said that he realized many people go to church "but I don't assume Willie goes to church." For the record, Willie said he had been to church last weekend, but even then Heilemann remained skeptical: "what were you doing there?"

By Mark Finkelstein | April 14, 2016 | 9:26 AM EDT

The Coming Cruz Senate Apocalypse? That's Joe Scarborough's baleful prophesy, should the senator from Texas snatch the Republican presidential nomination.  On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough asserted that "Ted Cruz is the worst-case scenario for [GOP] Senate candidates, even worse than Donald Trump."

So bad, in fact, that Joe agreed with Mike Barnicle that Cruz as nominee = Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority Leader.  In making his case against Cruz, Joe said "there's a reason why in 2008 there was not a single Republican representing anybody in all of New England in Congress." Kind of strange tarring Ted for the absence of New England Republicans in 2008, considering that Cruz wasn't elected to the Senate . . . until 2012.

By Mark Finkelstein | April 13, 2016 | 8:56 AM EDT

Does Donald Trump think he's going to lose the nomination at the convention? Are his current complaints about RNC "dirty tricks," the system being "rigged," etc. a preview of the explanation he'll be offering when he does indeed lose?  Yes, and yes, if you buy what former senior Cruz aide Rick Tyler said on today's Morning Joe.

After the show rolled video of Trump's attacks on the RNC, Joe Scarborough said that the Donald had hit the "sweet spot." Scarborough again made the case for Trump, saying "no,  that's the speech of somebody that can win 49 states and would be enraged he lost the 50th." But Tyler pushed back, saying "that's not the speech of a winner. That's the speech of someone who believes he's losing . . . He actually believes now he's going to lose this nomination at the convention on the second ballot."

By Mark Finkelstein | April 12, 2016 | 9:16 AM EDT

Shades of Chris Matthews' infamous thrill up his leg when listening to Barack Obama in 2008 . . . Fast forward to 2016, and we have ostensible Republican Nicolle Wallace getting the good kind of "chills" up her arm when listening to . . . Hillary Clinton talk about gun control.

Morning Joe today played a clip of Hillary saying that many of the guns used to commit crimes in New York come from Bernie Sanders' home state of Vermont. For once, Clinton eschewed the grating tone that sends so many of us scrambling for the mute button. And that was enough to have Wallace, gesturing to her arm, say: "that -- that attack on the guns is so, you know, I got chills. This is the third time I have heard it."

By Nicholas Fondacaro | April 11, 2016 | 2:53 PM EDT

Joe Scarborough spent Monday morning fanning the flames of fear that all the political mechanisms in America are "rigged." Some of Joe’s rants were dedicated to the Hillary e-mail probe and "super-delegates" on the Democratic side, as my colleague Mark Finkelstein wrote about. But when Joe set his sights on the Republican nomination process it was to boost the guy he has been “campaigning” for, Donald Trump.