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“Morning Joe” Fireworks with Nicole Wallace and Chuck Todd

"Morning Joe" panel on Governor Chris Christie showed all sides of this debate, including fireworks, and everyone came out alive.

“Morning Joe” panel on Governor Chris Christie showed all sides of this debate, including fireworks, and everyone came out alive.

“I don’t think people want income equality. What they want is income opportunity.”Governor Chris Christie in Chicago

ONE OF THE reasons New Jersey elected Chris Christie twice to be governor, with the help of Democrats, is because of what surfaced again briefly in Chicago on Tuesday. The trouble and challenges surrounded his governorship remain, with talk of 2016 at this point off the table, because whether he survives U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s investigation is still unknown. Any objective analysis of his performance, however, shows clearly why Republicans are right to hope he survives, while Democrats who have been around and seen politicians survive scandals are hoping he falls.

As political segments on cable go, heads up NBC News. “Morning Joe” just gave you an example of how to save the snooze fest “Meet the Press.”

When it comes to Governor Chris Christie’s coverage, MSNBC has a lot to answer for in their primetime shows. Minutia isn’t evidence and neither is rehashing old news. In the morning, friends of Chris Christie Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough have their relationship on the record and offer the flip side. Unlike the night, however, more sides of the story are reviewed.

What started with a question from Joe Scarborough, then ensued into a blunt back and forth between NBC’s political director Chuck Todd and Republican Nicole Wallace, eventually broadened out into an expansive and transparently educational and entertaining cable TV moment. It revealed what can happen when people who disagree openly and frankly discuss the elements of a story, complete with rhetorical fireworks, but aren’t interested in demolishing one another personally, because they respect each other.

It all eventually landed in a space where everyone came down in a smooth landing that includes laughter, never mind how it’s being reported by other new-media outlets who wanted to paint one picture and very likely aren’t interested in the spectacular conclusion that had everyone proving civility and debate are not mutually exclusive.

“Nicole had a Trident, she used a Trident against me! I think she killed a man.” – Chuck Todd



I’m not going to directly compare Christie to what happened with the Clintons in the 1990s, because it’s worlds apart.

However, having been honed in the cauldron of the right-wing hunting of President Clinton, to borrow and tweak a phrase coined by Joe Conason, piling on is something easily spotted. I’m simply not going to do to Chris Christie what was done to the Clintons, which includes the New York Times, a paper Christie is doing battle with right now. Even before Bill Clinton was elected, Jeff Gerth concocted and reeled out Whitewater in the New York Times, something that evolved into a political witch hunt of maximum destruction for everyone, except the media covering it. Adding William Safire, as well as Maureen Dowd’s poison Clinton pen, and you’ve got some real firepower.

Governor Christie’s got many challenges, an op-ed in New Jersey suggesting he should step down from the RGA. Not very good political advice if you’re a man fighting for your career, but it’s being suggested. He shouldn’t step down until there’s evidence that proves his career is over. I’m an expert on this, having lived in the white hot heat of the 2008 Hillary primary war.

“Morning Joe” did a great job revealing everything this story contains, including what Nicole Wallace revealed is at the heart of many of our political squabbles. People get “brittle” battling the pile on of the press, which inevitably becomes a swarm, because of the magnitude of our many media outlets today.

“He was very, very good [in Chicago],” David Axelrod offered after the skirmish. On messaging, Chuck Todd agreed.

In fact, “income opportunity” is actually a much better message than “income equality.” When the time comes, Hillary should steal it.

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14 Responses to “Morning Joe” Fireworks with Nicole Wallace and Chuck Todd

  1. Elizabeth Gardens February 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Leave it to a Clintonian to think it would be a good idea to parrot a Republican line.
    The fact of the matter is addressing income inequality does not mean as Christie suggests
    that everyone should make the same income. American production increased 46% on the backs of American Labor and most of the value of the increased production went to the top 1%, creating income inequality. To address that, employers have to pay more and if they refuse, that’s what taxes are for, to divest them of the wealth that they are sitting on.
    When we have government policy that props up the economy, such as the Fed’s bond buy back program that runs at 85 billion a month, some of that policy has got to be directed to the 99%, either in creating jobs by fixing the infrastructure, by making all community college entrance paid for by the government, by raising the minimum wage and by setting a minimum standard of living for all, by increasing Social Security, by allowing underwater homes owned by Fannie and Freddie to be refinanced to fair market value. The powers that be saved the economy for the 1%. Income equality is about saving the economy for the 99 %.
    As for income opportunity, all studies show that in American increasingly for the majority, if you are born into wealth you will not want, for wealth or opportunity. However, if you parents are poor, you will more than likely continue to be poor. There will not be the schools in your neighborhood to educate you nor will their be jobs available for you and your parents. Thirty years of Reagan trickle down economics, whole heartedly endorsed and brought to us by Clinton and Obama, (Nafta, Ending Welfare as we Know It, the Bank Bailout, the too small stimulus, permanent tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts to capital gains etc., ) have insured the destruction and death of the former American Dream/Fantasy.
    But you can hope Mrs. Clinton will parrot Chris Christie all she wants. She will continue to represent the dearth of ideas held by the powers that be on both the Democratic and Republican side.
    By the way, no response to Chrystal Ball going off the MSNBC reservation ? http://talkingpointsmemo.com.

    • Taylor Marsh February 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      It’s interesting that you assume “income opportunity” is a “Republican line” just because it comes out of Chris Christie’s mouth.

      Income opportunity has been a Democratic talking point for decades, going back almost a century.

      You’ll have to explain why “income equality” can’t be joined with “income opportunity” to make a message that will reach voters.

      As for Chrystal Ball, again, you haven’t read much around here, because Elizabeth Warren isn’t running, has in fact come out for Hillary Clinton, so there’s really no point in responding to an argument that’s over. I did respond via Twitter, if you’re interested.

      On top of which, as I’ve also written, not only will Elizabeth Warren be needed in the Senate, including if HRC would happen to prevail (no sure thing), but there is no case to be made for Sen. Warren on foreign policy, which could never be sold to the public. She just doesn’t have the chops *yet*.

      You’ll get no argument from me about Ds & Rs, except that you’re as naive about the system in place as a lot of other people, but I understand, because I hear from a lot of frustrated independents, Ds & Rs who have had it with the system as it is.

  2. Lake Lady February 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I agree with your assessment of the evening MSNBC line up. You would think nothing else is happening in the world. Why don’t they just give the topic to Konracki and let theothers do other stuff? Maddow has been particulary bad at twisting a little here and there.

    • Taylor Marsh February 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      It’s the same pile on the right-wing did against the Clintons.

      As a response to Fox News Channel, thank the gods for MSNBC. That doesn’t mean they have to repeat their mistakes!

  3. mjsmith February 12, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    I said all along that Governor Christie will be fine. MSNBC, once again. are looking like the amateurs that they are. Yes this story attracted some attention to the typically ignored channel.

    Best Selling author and former White House Communications Director, Nicolle Wallace was great and Democrat Chuck Todd was pathetic.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 12, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

      “I said all along that Governor Christie will be fine.”

      Would you care to bet?
      I bet that he will not only NOT be “fine” but that he will not finish out his term. If I win you take a powder….If Christie finishes his term I will depart…..how bout it….got any balls?

      • mjsmith February 13, 2014 at 8:59 am #

        So if Christie finishes his term as Governor you’ll leave? He might have to leave Office early in order to move into the White House.

        If you want to leave if Christie finishes his term, that is fine with me. If you want o leave right now, that is fine with me as well.

        • secularhumanizinevoluter February 13, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

          I expected nothing less from a member of the cowardly right. You pull cap outta your nether regions and yet completely lack any guts to back up your prognostications. You are as lacking in courage as your posts are with reality based content.
          “He might have to leave Office early in order to move into the White House. ”
          Probably wasted effort with someone so lacking in courage or a willingness to put anything on the line to back up their dreck but I will bet you if Christie is elected President I will donate $1000 to the charity of your choosing. If he isn’t but instead leaves the Gov. Mansion in disgrace… you will donate $100 dollars to Planned Parenthood. How about it….have any big boy pants ?

          • mjsmith February 14, 2014 at 10:59 am #

            IF Chris Christie has to leave office early in disgrace, I’ll donate $100 to any charity except planned parenthood or any group like that. I will even subscribe to Mother Jones. I just can’t support a group like that, no matter what.

            If Christie is our next President, and you feel like donating $1,000 to a good cause, I would be more than delighted to help you make sure it gets to a noble and worthy charity.

            You may say that I am not in touch with reality. Time has proven much of what I say is correct. If you take the time to look at what I said in the past, you will discover that time has indeed proven what I say to be correct. This issue is just an example of many. When this story first started, I knew Governor Christie would get passed it. At the time that looked impossible. Now, today, this is the reality. The only thing against Christie, after all this hoopla, is “what ifs” and “possibilities.” Even though his brand has been tarnished temporarily, I think what he is going through now will help him out when it comes to the 2016 Presidential Election. It is much better to go through this trial by fire now and get it out of the way.

  4. casualobserver February 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Another insightful piece from our hostess. A blog looking to analyze politics would be clinically myopic to think the talking points of the left are going to exclusively determine political outcomes. If left-leaning ideology carried the day with the “99%”, every election would be a Dem landslide except possibly mayor for Highland Park,Texas.

    If Christie’s near-death experience has motivated him to not only refrain from allowing Daleyesque practices to become his national image, but even more importantly, to learn to articulate a non-statist ideology in a manner the middle ground voter finds appealing, then he may well recover more quickly than the obituaries posted here have promised.

    • Ga6thDem February 12, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

      Chris Christie is dead as a presidential candidate. Currrent polls have him losing to Hillary Clinton by over 20 points. Ted Cruz polls better than Christie. Christie’s problem always was and is the GOP base who does not like him.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 12, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      To quote a lovely young woman in the movie Time after Time…” a bigga crock of shit I neva hoid!”

      • secularhumanizinevoluter February 12, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

        This is in response to casual.

  5. Ga6thDem February 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    Chris Christie’s problems were large even before the US Attorney went after him and I’m not talking legal problems. To me all the legal stuff tells me right now is that he defintiely will not be the GOP nominee simply because the GOP base did not like him in the first place and now they have this to use as another reason not to vote for him besides him hugging Obama.

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