What Is In The Water At MSNBC?

You would think the people at MSNBC could find someone better than Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson to represent the conservative/Republican point of view on their network. For that matter, they could do a lot better on the liberal/Democrat side of the aisle than the always exasperated motor mouth Chris Matthews and conspiracy theory thumper, Keith Olbermann. Here is the latest from Scarborough:

For 10 minutes, the talk show host grilled his guests about whether “George Bush’s mental weakness is damaging America’s credibility at home and abroad.” For 10 minutes, the caption across the bottom of the television screen read, “IS BUSH AN ‘IDIOT’?”

But the host was no liberal media elitist. It was Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman turned MSNBC political pundit. And his answer to the captioned question was hardly “no.” While other presidents have been called stupid, Scarborough said: “I think George Bush is in a league by himself. I don’t think he has the intellectual depth as these other people.”

Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard and a reliable Bush supporter, said the disillusionment is not surprising. “People get weary, especially when they expected a war to be over very quickly,” he said in an interview. “Supporters fall off over time. I’ve been disappointed by some of the people who have fallen off, like George Will, but that’s what happens.”

Few have struck a nerve more than Scarborough, who questioned the president’s intelligence on his show, “Scarborough Country.” He showed a montage of clips of Bush’s famously inarticulate verbal miscues and then explored with guests John Fund and Lawrence O’Donnell Jr. whether Bush is smart enough to be president.

While the country does not want a leader wallowing in the weeds, Scarborough concluded on the segment, “we do need a president who, I think, is intellectually curious.”

“And that is a big question,” Scarborough said, “whether George W. Bush has the intellectual curiousness — if that’s a word — to continue leading this country over the next couple of years.”

In a later telephone interview, Scarborough said he aired the segment because he kept hearing even fellow Republicans questioning Bush’s capacity and leadership, particularly in Iraq. Like others, he said, he supported the war but now thinks it is time to find a way to get out. “A lot of conservatives are saying, ‘Enough’s enough,’ ” he said. Asked about the reaction to his program, he said, “The White House is not happy about it.”It is one thing to question some of the decisions made in Iraq, it is quite another to start spouting the Democrats’ silly “intellectual curiousness” line, especially with people like Lawrence O’Donnell who went on an infamous screaming tirade on Scarborough Country a couple of years ago. Leaving that aside, though, is running the caption “Is Bush An Idiot?” really the best way to make an appeal for more intellectualism in politics? Such judgment leads me to wonder, “Is Scarborough an idiot?”

Update: Carol Platt Liebau makes some excellent points about this Washington Post article and the Joe Scarborough segment. One of the things Carol points out is how well respected “Republican pundits” become when they openly disagree with other Republicans. It’s kinda funny how that works, isn’t it?

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