Dan Rather said something on MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday that is likely giving liberal media members across the fruited plain serious heartburn.
In a discussion about the various scandals now plaguing the White House, Rather said, "The Republicans must be slapping high five behind closed doors" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Dan, you have experience with stories like these. Let’s just put it that way. And I just wonder in all your years how this one compares?
DAN RATHER: Well, we're in the early stages, so it's a little early to start making comparison. Those who compare it to Watergate, the Republicans are always eager to jump on almost anything and say well it's like Watergate. We're not anywhere in the same cosmos as that. Keep in mind, with Watergate, while using the Internal Revenue Service to punish one's opponents came directly from the president himself. That's a fact. Now, in this case we don't even know whether the president was aware that this was happening.
But this is advantage Republican. The Republicans must be slapping high five behind closed doors because they have three things going for them. One, their number one agenda item is to stop president Obama from accomplishing anything in his second term, and this aids that. Number two, they have their eye on the next Congressional elections in 2014, and many Republicans in Congress were getting estranged from the Tea Party, and now they have solidarity with the Tea Party moving toward that election.
And by the way, with the Benghazi thing they managed to damage Hillary Clinton’s chances of not only getting the presidency in '16 but also getting the nomination. So it's a trifecta for them, and no wonder they’re slapping high five behind closed doors.
DONNY DEUTSCH: Isn't there a danger for Republicans as they get drawn back into the Tea Party fervor, we know that doesn't play in general elections. So, I keep coming back to, yes, there's a football here to be played with but I think it’s going to be fumbled and it’s going to be backfire on them.
RATHER: Well, I heard you say that earlier and I agree that the Republicans can overplay this, because let's keep in mind in the 1998 Congressional election – I know people don’t remember - Bill Clinton was being pillared every day. Talk about scandal, this was a five-star scandal. And the Republicans did not do that well in the 1998 off-year elections.
What people want the government to do is be honest and be effective. This is the reason I think the tax story is the most important thing we’re dealing with. The people, they want their schools to work. They want their government to deliver value for dollar, and they have a feeling that it's not working. But President Obama must feel like he's Gulliver tied down by the Lilliputians. Every time he turns around he can't really move in any way, and it raises the question can he get anything done in this second term as president with the Republicans playing this obstructionist role.
Let's face facts: If a liberal such as Rather is willing to go on national television and talk about this being good for Republicans and bad for Obama and Clinton, these scandals are far more serious than most in the press care to admit.