MSNBC’s Morning Joe is a window on the immaturity of the ruling class. It consists largely of pundits making faces and rolling their eyes, seconding each other’s sophomoric liberal talking points, and attitudinizing about the latest Trump “outrage.” The smugness of it all can’t be overstated.
The conversation barely rises above the level of mean cheerleaders at a high school cafeteria. Though the ratings for the show are mediocre at best, its participants see themselves as the cool kids of American politics, whose job it is to cat-call the misfits in the cafeteria. The show’s premise is no more sophisticated than that. Collective gasps or guffawing ensue the moment one of those purported misfits deviates from the judgment or taste of the show’s participants. No arguments are necessary. The cool kids just point and laugh.
Stephen Miller, Trump’s policy adviser and speechwriter, must feel like he is back at the cafeteria at Santa Monica High School, after watching Morning Joe on Monday. Host Joe Scarborough was at his most juvenile, oblivious to his own immaturity as he ripped into Miller for his youth. Whipping himself up into a lather over Miller’s criticism of a runaway judiciary and Miller’s assertion that Trump’s immigration orders fall within the unquestioned constitutional authority of a president, Scarborough sputtered:
No, no. They are questioned, my young, little Miller. They will be questioned by the court. It’s called judicial review. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wrote about it in the Federalist Papers. It was enshrined in Madison’s Constitution.
Andrew Jackson — you go into your president’s office; you know, that one — and you look on the walls, and there are all these pictures of Andrew Jackson and books of Andrew Jackson. He talked about judicial independence. He talked about the importance of the judiciary. You really need to go back and read the Constitution.
And, seriously, the White House has got to stop embarrassing themselves by putting this guy out.… I had people working me: “Oh, wasn’t Miller great?” No. That is the worst performance of anybody — that made Susan Rice [on] the Sunday after Benghazi look smooth. I mean, that was horrendous and an embarrassment.
Meanwhile, Scarborough’s co-host, Mika Brzezinski, a feminist who lectures other women on firmness, was near fainting. Gripping her chair for balance, she made lots of terrified faces, joined in the ageist attack by referring to Miller as a “lad” and then fell into a frightened silence as her co-host continued his ludicrous lecture on Miller’s inattention to the Federalist Papers.
Apparently, we are supposed to believe that Scarborough, who resembles a beady-eyed frat boy, has read them carefully. It is easier to imagine him bellowing over a keg than reading difficult political philosophy or studying the life of Andrew Jackson. (Scarborough didn’t appear acquainted with Jackson’s famous comment about letting the judiciary “enforce” its rulings.) But it is not hard to imagine the studious Miller reading the essays of Jay, Madison, and Hamilton and taking them to heart. In any case, his comments are perfectly in line with the constitutional vision of those thinkers, who would have found the trendy jurisprudence of today unfathomable. They, too, would have seen the constitutional authority of a president regulating immigration from terrorist countries beyond “question.”
Such a decision is not even a close call, and it is a measure of the court’s distance from their vision that a handful of judges can now turn such an obvious exercise of presidential authority into a controversy.
What makes Miller “horrendous” in the eyes of the elite is that he is an unapologetic conservative who refuses to bow to liberal propaganda. The elite’s loss of composure is in direct proportion to the intelligence and resolution of a conservative. Nothing unsettles the liberal elite more than a smart and uncowed conservative. (One has to laugh at the sight of George Stephanopoulos, yesterday’s Clinton administration prodigy, tightening his jaw as Miller dared to parry with him.)
Unable to attack his arguments, Scarborough and company have to attack Miller’s age, as if 31 is disqualifyingly young. Quite a few of the founding fathers were under 40 at the time of the American Revolution. Alexander Hamilton, for that matter, was around Miller’s age at the time he contributed to the Federalist Papers.
The pundits on Morning Joe are usually very deferential to the young, marveling at their “intuition” in accepting transgender bathrooms, gay marriage, and so forth. But a thirty-something conservative like Miller enjoys no such access to enlightenment, according to their lights, even as these decadent boomers descend into greater and greater depths of puerility. Maybe Hillary Clinton can join the panel, now that she is tweeting out her approval for a schoolyard taunt of Michael Flynn, which includes a link to an advertisement for jobs at Domino’s Pizza. Amidst the show’s mean girls, she would fit in perfectly.