On Tuesday, a Morning Joe panel comprised entirely of liberals conducted a saccharine softball interview with Tom Steyer, the founder of the Need To Impeach campaign which has been running ads on MSNBC for months.
Throughout the segment, Steyer went unchallenged in arguing that impeaching President Trump was a purely pragmatic issue rather than a political one: “We aren’t pushing impeachment because we think it’s politically or tactically smart. We’re pushing it because we think it’s important and true.” Host Mika Brzezinski concurred to a degree. But, she complained, thanks to Republicans, impeachment had been marred in politics.
“But it is political,” she protested, pointing out that Democrats were far more likely to support what she saw as the correct position. “And then you’ll have the bulk of Republicans saying nothing; how could that be?” she complained, seemingly intentionally missing the point.
Steyer answered that regrettably, impeachment was “being taken as a partisan issue.” However, he maintained that it was “really much more about patriotism.” Ironically, this is a standard partisan talking point that can be applied to almost any issue. Both Democrats and Republicans routinely argue that their position is the pragmatic one, motivated by America’s best interest, while accusing their opponents of injecting partisanship into the conversation.
Of course, none of the panelists saw fit to push back against Steyer’s canned argument. “I really admire what Tom is doing,” radio host Bill Press remarked. But he admitted he had little faith that “this group of Republicans that now control the House” would initiate impeachment hearings. “You’re hearing nothing from them!” agreed an outraged Brzezinski.
MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle was similarly taken with Steyer. “You know we love you here,” he smiled before asking, “Give me the first two or three counts for an indictment of the sitting President of the United States that you propose he be thrown out for.”
Styer began his list of counts against the President with obstruction of justice, evidently having concluded of his own accord that there was sufficient evidence for the charge, despite no such indication from Special Counsel Mueller. After an obligatory mention of Russia, he launched into a monologue that did little more than restate his previous points:
Our attitude is, this is the most important truth in the United States right now and not to say it because it doesn't seem tactically sensible, to me is a terrible misappropriation of priorities. You've got to go with the biggest truth in America and let the chips fall where they may.
Despite the lack of substance, his speech was very well-received by the panel. “Well put!” gushed Brzezinski. “Tom Steyer, thank you very, very much for being on.”
The interview was thick with the pretense that Steyer represented a nonpartisan teller of hard-truths who was willing to do the right thing no matter the cost. Of course, no members of the political right were present to challenge his allegedly pragmatic views, as any such individual would have disrupted an otherwise cozy echo chamber.