On today’s Morning Joe, the MSNBC crew spent 12 minutes of its first hour lauding the “Affordable Care Act,” and they even happily called it “Obamacare.” Joining in the lovefest was former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs and Steve Rattner, who lead Obama’s task force on bailing out GM and Chrysler.
But a half-hour before that, Scarborough pressed Gibbs to join him in heaping contempt on the idea of Ron DeSantis running for president in 2024.Two weeks ago, we caught Scarborough mischievously surmising that Ron DeSantis won’t run.
Today, Scarborough expressed skepticism—to Mika’s surprise—as to whether Donald Trump will run. Scarborough suggested that Trump might have announced just to fend off indictments and raise money.
And as he did two weeks ago, Scarborough also was openly dubious about DeSantis’ ability to take a punch from Trump. This time, he suggested that somehow, former Gov. Charlie Crist bested him in debate. Ahem: DeSantis beat Crist, 59 percent to 40 percent. Who was bested??
Then he painted DeSantis as a bully who likes to feel tough by yelling at female reporters. (It doesn’t matter when Sharyn Alfonsi from 60 Minutes aggressively mischaracterized his vaccine policy in a presser.)
It’s a sign of just how far left Scarborough has swerved that Gibbs was actually more balanced in his comments on DeSantis. He acknowledged that DeSantis would be “scrutinized” when he announces. And, unlike Scarborough, Gibbs mentioned an advantage against Trump that DeSantis enjoys: his ability to point to his resounding re-election victory and his legislative record.
But if Scarborough is down on DeSantis, he’s way up on . . . Obamacare. Scarborough gleefully noted that “the enrollment just keeps skyrocketing!” And when Gibbs claimed that due to Obamacare, “we have fewer people who are uninsured,” Scarborough enthused, “it’s made a huge difference on that front. You just look at the numbers. It’s undeniable.” Scarborough also praised Obamacare’s “remarkable resilience.”
When challenged on his liberalism, Scarborough’s frequently proclaimed fig leaf is that he remains a “small-government conservative.” Give it up, Joe: you just enthused over a government takeover of health care!
Question: what’s an obvious subject that an honest journalist would have raised with former White House spokesman Gibbs? Naturally, it would be Karine Jean-Pierre’s pitiful performance, particularly in the context of Biden’s classified documents scandal. Trick question! We said “honest” journalist. Scarborough predictably didn’t breathe a word with Gibbs about the documents scandal or Jean-Pierre’s undeniable incompetence. They needed 12 minutes to praise Obamacare.
Morning Joe was brought to you in part by Liberty Mutual insurance.
Here’s the transcript.
6:07 am ET
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The question is, Robert Gibbs, at this point, can anybody really do anything to stop Donald Trump, if Donald Trump decides he’s actually going to run.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: He is running.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, he’s saying he’s running. But you never know with him. It could be he’s trying to make money, he’s trying to avoid indictments —
MIKA: Oh, there’s a lot of cases against him.
SCARBOROUGH: — prosecution. If he actually gets out there on the debate stage, Robert, is there anyone who can take the guy down? He’s still the champ inside the Republican party.
. . .
Robert Gibbs, when I think of Ron DeSantis, I’m reminded of that really famous Mike Tyson quote, that everybody’s got a plan until the first time they’re punched in the face. I mean, I saw Ron DeSantis. You saw Ron DeSantis debate Charlie Crist. Charlie Crist had him tongue-tied several times when there were some basic questions.
You know, Ron DeSantis is good with gestures. He’s great calling press conferences. He loves yelling, especially at female reporters. It makes him feel tough. He walks off, and people give him lots of money.
But you know this better than any of us. On the presidential level, you get up on that debate stage, and when it’s Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, and he has nowhere to hide, I mean, come on!
Again, I, I, it’s, it’s seeming like that Tyson quote makes a lot of sense here. I don’t — I mean, what do you think? Does DeSantis have a chance one-on-one against Trump?
ROBERT GIBBS: Well, I’d say a couple things. One, you point out really correctly is what we don’t know is how somebody’s going to perform on that national stage. And, you know, not a lot different than what Barack Obama had when he first came out is, he’s not going to get a chance to practice off-Broadway before the play starts opening night. So he’s going to be scrutinized from the very beginning.
I think the one advantage that he’s going to have, and you saw him try to use this in the response the other day to Trump, which is, to use those credentials of having won significantly in Florida, and to build a record in the legislature, and a governing record that he can use against him.
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: And just a perfect day for you to be here. Steve Rattner’s about to show his charts on Obamacare. The enrollment [chuckles] just keeps skyrocketing. Republicans have been trying to kill Obamacare now for a dozen years. The American people have continued to vote with their feet, continue to vote by enrolling.
MIKA: By signing up, yeah.
SCARBOROUGH: Enrolling. Talk about that. I mean, we could get personal for a second here. That has to mean a lot to you and to others who fought so hard to make that happen.
. . .
GIBBS: We have fewer people in this country that are uninsured than ever before.
GIBBS: And that is a very, very, good thing, regardless of your party.
SCARBOROUGH: It, it, it’s made a huge difference on that front. You just look at the numbers. It’s undeniable. And again, we, we talk about the ups and the downs, the difficulties. Again, the resilience of the program, I think, has been, been remarkable.