Somewhere along the line at a Washington function I've met MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. He's a nice guy.
So I am curious to know whether Joe and his crew over there at MSNBC's Morning Joe are aware of the real origin of the title of their show?
The "Joe" comes from one Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy for President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921). Secretary Daniels was a progressive reformer like his boss (and his Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a young man named Franklin D. Roosevelt). One of Daniel's "reforms" was to ban wine from the officer's mess on Navy ships -- and substitute coffee instead. As one might imagine, this particular reform didn't go down all that well with sailors, and coffee on Navy ships acquired the nickname "Morning Joe" in honor of Secretary Josephus Daniels.
Alas, also like his boss President Wilson, Daniels was a thoroughgoing racist, as noted in my posting nearby, "Two Presidents and the Court: When Bigotry Takes the Bench."
The nationally prominent owner and editor of the Raleigh News and Observer in his native North Carolina, where he vividly practiced a scurrilous racism, Daniels shrieked that Wilson's predecessor Theodore Roosevelt (before Taft) and opponent in the 1912 election had insulted "the sensibilities of every man in the South" by inviting black leader Booker T. Washington to lunch at the White House during TR's tenure. He insisted that "the subjection of the Negro, politically, and the separation of the Negro, socially, are paramount to all other considerations…short of the preservation itself of the Republic." He prided himself as owner of the News and Observer, proclaiming his paper was "the militant voice of White Supremacy." And, not to be forgotten, "Morning Joe" Daniels segregated the U.S. Navy. There's more, lots more -- a hat tip here to Bruce Bartlett's informative book Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past -- but you get the picture. This was someone who gives the words "overly ripe" a new meaning.
So the question in these quarters as we listen to the Sotomayor debate, where accusations of racism have been raised, is this:
Does Joe Scarborough realize his show is named for the phrase coined for Josephus Daniels? Do the suits at MSNBC realize the titter potential from a show that could quickly be tagged the "Morning Racist"???
Just asking. As Joe surely knows, the record of our friends on the left with issues of race…a record bequeathed by the likes of Josephus Daniels is…ahh…a bit dicey. Some would argue it's the storyline for the American left. And since the left runs MSNBC…