Joe Biden compliments Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe.
Consider it a weird preview of an unlikely Joe vs. Joe 2016 presidential race: In a blast of blarney, Joe Biden gave Joe Scarborough an ego boost (and a possible campaign ad) that almost made Joe S’s already swelled head pop off.
At the end of a substantive roundtable discussion on gun control on yesterday's Morning Joe, Scarborough was thanking Biden and the other guests, when the ever-effusive vice president broke in:
Biden: Hey, Joe, thank YOU. [Scarborough laughs.] No, no, no, no. You have changed the debate in America. You!
Scarborough: Thank you so much.
Biden: You. The two guys that deserve, if anything gets done, an award here are you and Michael Bloomberg. [Biden plunks down his pen for emphasis.]…
Mika Brzezinski: Thank you.
Was Mika thanking the veep on Scarborough’s behalf, like the good helpmeet she so often plays, or was she trying to take some deserved credit for nudging him to evolve?
Either way, Scarborough didn’t notice. He soaked in the praise, his face beaming, and cracked the obligatory joke: “I don't know if that's going to help me in a future Republican primary, but thank you so much!”
Biden was right to praise Scarborough and Bloomberg. Each has done important work to alter the balance of power on gun control–Scarborough by relentlessly needling his fellow Republicans and the NRA; Bloomberg by funding ads against pols who kowtow to the lobby that protects gun manufacturers from little children.
But in prematurely handing out awards, the ebullient Vice focused too narrowly on the two Big Name guys, to the point that it felt awkward to not mention the rest of the Morning Joe crew, the victims’ families, the lawmakers sweating the details—or himself. (After all, Biden heads up the adminstration’s gun-control effort and has been fighting the good fight for decades in the Senate.) Co-host Mike Barnicle seemed a tad miffed; in the “What Have We Learned Today” segment, he said he learned that “Governor Daniel Malloy should really be commended as well as the Connecticut legislature. The components parts of that [gun control] bill, every state in the union should take a look at what Connecticut has done.”
Maybe Biden recognized in Scarborough—whose “moderation” conservatives occasionally attack–an ego in need of a public pat on the back. For Biden, that’s an irresistible invitation to blarney it up.