For those that are luckily unfamiliar, Rachel Maddow is one of the darlings of the extreme-left in this country. A regular on MSNBC's "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann, the Air America Radio host is also a panel member on that network's "Race for the White House" with David Gregory.
Another panel member is Joe Scarborough, and those that have watched this program since its inception know that he holds Maddow in as low esteem as any self-respecting conservative would -- or any sane American, for that matter.
With that as pretext, on Thursday's show, Scarborough apparently had enough of this liberal antagonist; during the following exchange, he unhooked his microphone, walked off the set, and didn't return (video embedded upper right):
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At what point are we expecting presidential candidates to not have any kind of association with somebody of questionable character in their past?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: I think that‘s a fair question. Harold Ford Jr., when does guilt by association go a step too far?
HAROLD FORD, JR., FORMER CONGRESSMAN: The American people are smart enough to distinguish between these things. If you have a close relationship with someone who has a very checkered, questionable past, and you didn‘t know them before that time, or you met them during that time, and you steadied and grew the friendship, voters are able to see through that. And I thought Barack handled that question fairly well last night. It was an interesting comparison he made between Tom Coburn, but I understood what he was trying to say. I think voters get it.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, “MORNING JOE” MSNBC: But Harold, if you ran for governor of Texas or ran for Senate again, people in Tennessee know you. If there‘s a questionable association, they go, we know Harold Ford, maybe he hung out with a weird guy one summer when he was younger. Whereas if somebody new runs for that Tennessee seat and nobody knows him, then you start saying, OK, who is this person? Who do they hang out with? Who do they associate with?
Barack Obama can‘t be shocked. He was in Washington for one year before he decided to run for president of the United States. People don‘t know him. They know John McCain. They know Hillary Clinton. They don‘t know him. So who he associates himself with is that much more important to voters.
FORD: That‘s why Jeremiah Wright has been such a big issue as well. Joe makes a good point. But I do think the caller‘s question dealt with how far back—how do we know—how long can you punish a candidate or someone running for office for a friendship? At some level, I just think voters are able to get it. Jeremiah Wright will pay bigger than this --- the Weather guy we talked about last night.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA: Associates and friendships become an issue when political opponents decide to make them an issue. We talked about this before on the show. The Jeremiah Wright
MADDOW: Joe, let me make my point and then you can dismiss me. Let me make my point first. Jeremiah Wright as a pastor for Barack Obama is an issue. The political associations that John McCain has made with right wing pastors have not been an issue. The issue that has been made about who‘s giving money to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, because their opponents have decided to go after them on that. For example, John McCain had this incredibly controversial relationship with a Florida campaign co-chair, who was caught in a bathroom offering money to a police officer to do something that we can all imagine in a bathroom. Nobody is going to John McCain and saying he was your Florida campaign co-chair; what do you think about men doing that in bathrooms? What do you think about entrapment from police officers? What do you think about public sex?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That‘s what a general election is for.
MADDOW: But nobody‘s brought that up to John McCain at this point, and it‘s a decision made by political opponents. It‘s not something that happens organically because of how long you‘ve been around the block.
GREGORY: Let me get a break in before I run out of time. You can play with the panel every night. Don‘t forget to call us or email us. Predictions from the panel are coming up next.
GREGORY: We‘re back. It‘s prediction time. Time for our panelists to peer into the crystal ball and tell us something that they see. Rachel, Harold, John and Joe still with us. Joe, what are you seeing tonight?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I think I may blow all my time on the predictions to respond to Rachel. I don‘t engage in crossfire type debates and certainly I don‘t want to talk about what people do in bathrooms. I do want to say though that anybody—and you can ask Harold Ford. You can ask anybody that‘s ever run for political office, that the thing you want to do is define your opponent.
You define opponents that people don‘t know more easily than defining opponents that have been in public service for a quarter of a century. It was the only point I was trying to make. And again I don‘t do cross-fire, so if we want to yell back and forth, then Rachel will have to find somebody else.
MADDOW: Joe, I wasn‘t trying to yell back and forth with you. I was starting to make my point and you cut me off before I started my first sentence. You waited for me to start. I started and you jumped in.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t mean to be condescending, but I can say that anybody that‘s ever run for political office before knows that there‘s a big difference between John McCain and defining him, who has been in public service for 25 years, and defining Barack Obama who was in Washington, D.C. for one year before he decided to run for president.
GREGORY: All right. I‘m going to shut this particular debate down and move on. John, your thoughts about what‘s coming up ahead.
HARWOOD: After Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is right back in the fight of her life. What she‘s probably done with bitter-gate and with that debate is preserve her lead in Pennsylvania. She‘s got a working margin there. She‘s likely to win next Tuesday. But then she‘s got those May 6th contests in North Carolina. She‘s likely to lose there. She‘s got to win in Indiana, very close race right now. No more than even money bet for her to win that state.
GREGORY: All right. Harold, what do you see coming up?
FORD: The Democratic nominee, once he or she is determined, will surge to a five to 10 point lead over John McCain. I‘m a believer that as this race is joined between McCain and Obama/Clinton, you‘ll see John McCain have to answer questions about how it is that you can believe that going into Iraq, if they had no weapons of mass destruction, was the right thing to do, which he said.
I think Joe Biden laid this case out in the last 48 hours. The Democratic nominee will benefit from the biggest thing happening for Democrats nationally, people want a change, and John McCain doesn‘t represent that.
GREGORY: All right. Rachel, your thoughts tonight?
MADDOW: First of all, Joe and I will go out for a beer and hash this all out.
It would take more than one beer, Rachel, to assuage my anger regarding your regularly disgraceful behavior.
In fact, you better bring some top-shelf vodka!