My mother had a saying about heeding warnings from others: "if one person tells you you're drunk, ignore him. If two people tell you you're drunk, lie down." So what should Hillary Clinton do when the entire Morning Joe panel tells her that her supposed apology on ABC last night was a total bust?
From Joe Scarborough saying it looked like a "hostage video," to John Heilemann saying her apology proved that everything she had said about no one caring about the issue was a "lie," to Mika Brzezinski speaking of the "freakish" control exercised by the Clinton camp, to Willie Geist flatly contradicting Hillary's assertion that her actions were "allowed," the panning of Hillary's performance was unanimous.
Scarborough went on to say that if Hillary's numbers drop just a few points further, into the 30s, the likes of Biden, Gore and Kerry will decide "it's time to move."
Let's take Joe's thought one step further. With this drumbeat of scandal, with FBI investigations ongoing, aides taking the Fifth, the president's spokesman speaking glowingly of Biden, wouldn't any candidate other than Hillary be long gone from this race?
Note: The screencap is of the moment at which the camera came back to the set after the clip of Hillary's "apology" had rolled. Joe smirks while a mortified Mika shuts her eyes.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Climactic ending to Hillary Clinton and the dragging and the finally apologizing. Let's watch. Let's see how it went.
HILLARY CLINTON: What I had done was allowed. It was aboveboard. But in retrospect, certainly, as I look back at it now, even thought it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. One for personal, one for work-related e-mails. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility.
[Extended silence on Morning Joe set; Joe Scarborough mockingly wipes a tear away.]
MIKE BARNICLE: When are we going to see the real ending?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I think she did it on --
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Just do the end of it. Hold on a second. Replay that ending. Just listen to how flat her voice is at the end. Seriously, this was a hostage video . . . It's almost as if she purposefully said it as quickly and as flatly and as --
MIKA: -- unwillingly.
JOE: -- unwillingly as humanly possible.
. . .
JOHN HEILEMANN: The whole, the point that she's now gotten to does suggest that everything that she has said previously about the fact that no one's paying attention, it hasn't affected my campaign, none of this has mattered, no one cares, that that has all been a lie.
. . .
JOE: The best way to describe this, Mika, you just said it, it's all so ham-fisted.
MIKA: Well, I'm just going to say, I think she can do ten times better than this. I really do. I've seen it, I know it. And I know it's in her. And I want it to work for her, which is frustrating. But there's a couple of things that they cannot get around and that is being overly controlling to the point of being freakish.
. . .
WILLIE GEIST: She was obviously pushed in this direction. But I'm more with you. Less about her tone than with the "allowed" and the semantic game about what was legal and what was allowed. There was a State Department policy nine months into her term that said it was not allowed. Everything had to be captured on State Department servers, and all of her e-mails were not captured on State Department servers.
MIKA: So it was not allowed.
JOE: It was certainly not allowed.
MIKA: Heilemann, was it allowed?
JOE: Nine months in, the Obama administration said, like Willie said, all e-mails had to be captured on the State Department server.
MIKA: Thank you, Willie. Thank you for reporting the honest truth.
. . .
JOE: Any candidate in America running for any race in America and you were at 52% last month and you're at 42% this month, there is something terribly wrong. And there is something about that 40 level. Hillary does not want to drop any more. Does not want to get into the 30s. Because then, that is when the Al Gores of the world and the John Kerrys of the world and the Joe Bidens of the world start thinking, she's in the 30s: it's time to move.