A Third Open Letter to Joe Scarborough
I confess to regularly watching “Morning Joe” for the political discourse and as a barometer for what some Republicans are willing to accept as true (Fox News doesn’t work for this purpose) in the face of overwhelming facts. My previous two open letters were related to Joe’s support of the voter ID laws while being highly disingenuous as to their content and impact and failure to acknowledge the political motivation as opposed to fighting a minuscule level of alleged fraud. This letter has to do with his defense of Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, Republicans who came under fire but can count on their ally Joe Scarborough to be their apologist and offer a strong defense against the least of what has been alleged while ignoring the major issues.
Let’s start with former Governor Bob McDonnell who along with his wife was indicted on 14 counts of violating Federal laws. They not only accepted but requested hundreds of thousands of cash and gifts from a wealthy businessman who wanted support in launching his company. Having access to no more information than you and your producers Joe, I’ve seen the direct flow outlined in the indictment showing both the “quid” and the “pro quo” when calls were made to set up meetings with state officials within hours of receiving gifts. There’s a promotional picture of the ex-Governor doing his best Vanna White imitation holding a can of the product in question at a launch party he hosted at the Governor’s mansion. Yet you Joe are in denial.
You forcefully claim that the Governor broke no Virginia state laws and how the Fed’s had no business getting involved. The law used to indict the couple, the Hobbs Act, was old (1951) and therefore not relevant somehow. This is a portion of what the law states; “ Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”
Since you have decided that Federal law doesn’t apply somehow to Republican Governors that you support, I think we can find some Virginia state laws they violated although you have absolved them. They gave away state property to their children including liquor, pots and pans and food from the Governor’s mansion. State law would consider that theft. They obstructed justice by telling lies to prosecutors along with the people of the state in their claims that first they and then their daughter paid for a reception and dinner again held at the mansion. I’ll give you credit for being consistent in your defense of McDonnell as you have backed him for months as this scandal unfolded. No doubt if convicted, you’ll clamor for a fine and no jail time as he did nothing really wrong.
With Chris Christie your apologist theme is that he hasn’t done anything that politicians haven’t always done. In your view he merely used the levers of power to get others to bend to one’s will. There are two separate issues currently with Christie; the shutting down of access lanes to the GWB in apparently some sort of political retribution and the alleged extortion attempt involving state controlled Hurricane Sandy relief funds to Hoboken.
Regarding the bridge your first deflection was to try to focus instead on Benghazi and the IRS indicating somehow that it was not worthy of further inspection in light of those other alleged scandals. You tried to suggest that the issue was over after the second round of dismissals of Christie staffers without acknowledging the several other members of Christie’s staff already named in E-mails in having a role and having no explanation how the Governor was somehow unaware of what was in the newspaper and television daily and the subject of multiple calls and e-mails to his office. His version of the story and his seeming lack of interest despite his acknowledged micromanaging style seems perfectly acceptable to you.
Regarding the withholding of Sandy funds until the Mayor of Hoboken approved funding of a development project for the Rockefeller Group (to the exclusion of all other developers), you’re response was to lambast the Mayor who came forward. She didn’t do what you say you’d have done which was to threaten the Governor who had the power to in this case allow your town to remain crushed in the aftermath of the hurricane. Mayor Zimmer has spoken with the Federal prosecutor for the area and made statements which if untrue could land her in jail. You side with the broad denials of the accused as they shield themselves with defense lawyers and stonewall.
A real newsperson would follow the story. What efforts have been made by the state to push this development down the throat of Hoboken, while shutting out other developers of similar projects on nearby seemingly equivalent land? What do the E-mails between the Port Authority Chairman Samson, the Governor’s office, the Lt. Governor and others say? You imply she’s a liar but make no effort to ferret out the truth.
Joe, you are a defender of the rich and powerful and have lost touch with the people. While you see these instances as either not important or business as usual. It’s clear that your alliance is with the 1% who may no longer be funding your elections but now are your advertisers. You tell the parts of the story that meet your objective and drown out and cut off others with opposing views. The barometer you are is no longer that of the moderate Republican but that of the complete apologist for the rich, wealthy and powerful. Shame on you!