On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough forcefully sought to refute the notion that Chris Christie's takedown of Marco Rubio in the last GOP debate was an unprovoked attack. Scarborough painted a very different picture, one in which by dint of his town hall work, Christie had been steadily climbing in the New Hampshire polls--until Rubio unleashed a wave of negative advertising on Christie that drove his numbers back down. It was only then that Christie counter-attacked, suggested Joe.

Scarborough said pundits were either "ignorant" or "lying" to their readers if they portrayed Christie as "mean" for having exposed Rubio as he did, or that Christie's poor performance in New Hampshire was the result of a backlash against his attack. Noteworthy was Scarborough's statement that the funding for Rubio's attack ads against Christie was "dark" money. At one point, Scarborough called it "dirty" money, before correcting himself and repeating "dark" money.



In a Friday piece, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait delved into why he’d welcome seeing Donald Trump atop this year’s Republican ticket. For one thing, there's the possibility of permanently driving a wedge between the party’s masses and its financial elite. “The GOP is a machine that harnesses ethno-nationalistic fear…to win elections and then, once in office, caters to its wealthy donor base,” argued Chait. “If, like me, you think the Republican Party in its current incarnation needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt anew, Trump is the only one holding a match.” For another, Chait thinks that Trump would wind up governing as a sort of liberal, a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in California.



Donald Trump normally projects the image of a guy with only one gear: warp drive. But on today's Morning JoeTrump made an interesting admission, saying that in Iowa, "I sort of just went through the motions a little bit." According to Trump, he went less than flat-out in the Hawkeye State because he had been told he couldn't win, until a poll at the very end of the campaign indicated that he could.

Note: there was an odd moment at the very beginning of the phone interview. When Mika Brzezinski began by asking "let's talk about Iowa. What happened?" there was an awkward pause on Trump's end. "O-k-a-a-a-y," he eventually responded. The pause was so strange that Joe Scarborough asked "can you hear us?" Trump said he could hear fine, and the interview went on from there. So . . . was Trump distracted, or might he have been annoyed by Mika's entirely reasonable opening question focusing on his second-place finish in Iowa?



Former MSNBC host and soon-to-be Russia Today (RT) host Ed Schultz joined Larry King on Thursday’s Politicking to preview his 30-minute program on the Kremlin-backed network and promised that there “won’t be a lot of opinion” and instead serve as “a direct news show.” The leftist heaped praise on Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and John Kasich with Trump having focused on “these rotten trade deals” and acting like Ronald Reagan while ruling that he’d “be surprised” if Kasich wasn’t chosen as the GOP’s VP nominee.



Ben Carson seems to be joining the likes of Michele Bachmann and Howard Dean on the list of presidential candidates who generated a lot of early buzz but became distant also-rans well before a nominee was chosen. According to Washington Monthly blogger David Atkins, Carson’s campaign also offers yet more proof that conservatives tend to be easy marks for scammers.

“The libertarian-conservative ethic of ‘get rich any way you can’ combined with a stubborn dismissal of objective fact makes political conservatism especially ripe for con artistry,” argued Atkins in a Saturday post. “It’s no accident that the tea party has been home to one grifter after another making a quick buck…Fox News itself is a long con perpetrated on fearful, older white Americans with the goal of making Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes rich while keeping Republican politicians in power.”



As Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) gradually fades among liberals after its decade-long stint atop their stack of pathologies, a newly diagnosed condition known as Completely Unhinged over Citizens United (CUCU)  is supplanting it.

Even though BDS is unlikely to wholly depart from the liberal psyche, which appears to draw sustenance from its presence despite the obvious toll on left-wingers' health, eruptions of the new malady still occur with alarming frequency. 



Embattled 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sat down for her latest interview on Wednesday and surprisingly, the liberal media’s questioner in Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour (and Clinton Foundation donor) came prepared and hit Clinton on issues ranging from her e-mail scandal to the administration’s misjudgment of Russia’s global threat to allied super PACs attacking socialist Bernie Sanders and possible candidate Joe Biden.



The occasional dust-ups between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on the Morning Joe set seem largely made-for-TV. But there appeared to be some authentic antagonism on today's show on the issue of the motivations of those who oppose the Iran deal.

Joe passionately condemned supporters of the deal who cynically suggest that opponents are controlled by the Jewish lobby. "Why don't you guys talk about the Elders of Zion?" suggested Scarborough sarcastically at one point.  When Mika tried to shut Scarborough down, claiming "we get the point," Scarborough shot back "you're the last person on the face of the earth who appears to get the point."  Later, Mika walked right into it, saying that in opposing the deal, Chuck Schumer "did what he had to do, and it's perfect for him." Scarborough pounced: "there you go. There's the cynicism I talked about."



There’s going to be a Top Gun sequel, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is coming back, and Bloom County has already returned. Still, suggests Esquire's Pierce, when it comes to things that have the 1980s written all over them, these days Donald Trump is the king of the mountain.

In a Tuesday post, Pierce contended that Trump “was one of the purest products of the Age of Reagan, which was nothing if not a celebration of vulgar excess, whether that was illustrated by the excessive opulence of people like Trump or the excessive self-regard of the mindless nationalistic chest-beating that kept Reagan's administration aloft through scandal after scandal. In that time, the country was louder and more stupid than it had been for a very long time.”



If a woman announced on live national TV that she had shoplifted an iPhone, there'd presumably be a cop at the studio door to greet her.  So why is it that someone can blithely announce on national TV that she's in the country illegally, and far from fearing any repercussions, have her views on the American presidential election respectfully solicited?

It happened this morning, when MSNBC invited Erika Andiola, who described herself as "an undocumented Mexican woman," onto the Up show to give her take on the GOP candidates' comments on immigration during Thursday's debate. Andiola was disappointed in general that the candidates didn't stand up to Donald Trump's remarks on immigration. In particular, she jabbed Jeb Bush for continuing to express opposition to sanctuary cities. That doesn't "make the cut" as far as Andiola's concerned, adding that Bush needs "to push back stronger." Good point, Ms. Andiola. I mean, without sanctuary cities, where is poor Francisco Sanchez supposed to hang out?



I noted on Sunday how former Associated Press reporter Philip Elliott, writing for Time Magazine's Time.com website, joined the Scott Walker pile-on brigade criticizing the Wisconsin Governor's reasonable — arguably to a fault — position that he doesn't personally know whether Barack Obama is a Christian.

A separate post by Elliott, which covered a weekend retreat hosted by Charles Koch, originally carried a headline so obviously outrageous that it should never have gotten past him (though, to be fair, he may not have been responsible for creating it) or Time's editors (if they exist) for more than a few minutes after it appeared. Readers will see that headline after the jump (HT Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air):



Strange new respect? Two days after the New York Times labeled real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a racist on its front page based on thin evidence, the Times is suddenly treating one of his Twitter pronouncements as newsworthy, with Ashley Parker devoting an entire story to Trump's tweet. Perhaps because he's attacking his fellow GOP candidates as "puppets" of the libertarian Koch Brothers, themselves a frequent target of the Times.