Ok, so the the interwebs and talk radio are buzzing about MSNBC senior political analyst Mark Halperin’s surprisingly blunt assessment of President Barack Obama’s performance at yesterday’s press conference… From the video it’s pretty clear Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski thought Mr. Halperin was joking when he asked if the seven-second delay was working before delivering his remarks:
MARK HALPERIN: Do we have the seven-second delay today? I want to characterize how I thought the President behaved.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We have it. We can use it–right [Executive Producer] Alex?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, sure, come on, take a chance. Have faith.
BRZEZINSKI: Let’s see what happens.
SCARBOROUGH: I’m behind you. You fall down, I’m gonna catch you.
BRZEZINSKI: And the precedent has been set on the show, so you’re good [a reference to Joe dropping an f-bomb back in 2008, leading to the installation of the seven-second delay].
HALPERIN: I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh my God. Delay that! Delay that! What are you doing? I can’t believe you–I was joking! Don’t do that! Did we delay that?
(Transcript courtesy Newbusters.)
Ouch, there’s a lot of things I could say about President’s performance yesterday, but that’s not one of them…. Look I’m no fan Barack Obama, you don’t have to like or even respect him, but he is the President of the United States and you do have to respect the office he holds… While I might agree with Mr. Halperin’s assessment of the president’s performance, his remarks were still inappropriate. You don’t call the President of the United States a “dick” — period.
Anyway, Mr. Halperin has apologized and MSNBC rightly has suspended him indefinitely.
“Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers,” in a statement by MSNBC spokesperson Jeremy Gaines. “We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”
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“I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate,” Halperin said in a statement. “Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.”
That said the President was clearly posturing and playing to his base yesterday by resorting to the same tired, old partisan class warfare rhetoric. This country faces a serious financial crisis driven by debt and a lack of economic growth.
Washington’s policy makers can’t simply turn a blind eye to that and keep spending beyond our means. No amount tax increases is going to close the budget gap, particularly not while the economy is teetering on the edge of a cliff. Raising taxes now could easily push our already weakened economy back in recession or depression.
Washington’s policy makers have to face reality and make real, what some would call draconian, spending cuts. Not only in discretionary spending, but also through entitlement reform. Whether you agree with Republicans or not they have at least offered a plan. All the President has offered is demonetization and demagoguery.