Scarborough: Rockefeller “owes Ron Johnson an apology”

posted at 10:01 am on May 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

An interesting cut from TPM, certainly for Joe Scarborough’s defense of conservatives opposed to ObamaCare, but also for what it leaves out. The cut takes Scarborough’s argument alone, and cuts the responses from the Morning Joe panel entirely. Scarborough calls on Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to apologize for his crude play of the race card in a Senate hearing, which resulted in Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) impassioned response castigating the outgoing Rockefeller for smear tactics:

“I must say, I have been behind closed doors with thousands of conservatives through the years. I have never once heard one of them say in the deep south or in the northeast or in South Boston, ‘Boy, I really hate Obamacare because that black president’ — no, I’ve never heard anybody come close to saying that,” Scarborough said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And I have spoken to some wildly right wing groups. I have never heard it once.”

Scarborough was reacting to a tense exchange between Rockefeller and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) Wednesday during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on health care. Johnson took offense when Rockefeller suggested that some of those who oppose the Affordable Care Act don’t like the President because he’s “of the wrong color.”

“He’s the only Republican in the room, and Sen. Rockefeller suggested that millions and millions of Americans who opposed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as the President likes it to be called, have racist reasons for doing that,” Scarborough said. “That’s one of the stupidest, most offensive things I’ve heard a sitting senator say.”

“He owes Ron Johnson an apology,” he added.

I’m curious why TPM cut out the other responses from the panel. It certainly helps with timing; Scarborough’s argument takes nearly two minutes, and it doesn’t even include his particularly effective point about the identical conservative reaction to HillaryCare while Scarborough was in Congress, in which race was hardly an issue. Did the liberals on the panel object to Scarborough’s argument? I’m guessing no, at least in part, but I also doubt it went completely unchallenged.

Not that it makes much difference to Rockefeller, who’s standing by his remarks, even if he’s standing alone:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller may no longer fear the political consequences of charging the GOP with opposing President Barack Obama’s agenda because he’s the “wrong color.”

But he might be alone in that.

On Thursday, no Democrats publicly rushed to back Rockefeller’s assertion that Obama has met legislative resistance because of his race, a remark that sparked an emotional debate Wednesday with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) over whether opposing the president and his health care law amounted to being “racist.”

Staring down his retirement after 30 years in the Senate and often using a wheelchair because of a bad knee, Rockefeller chose his words carefully Thursday speaking to a pair of reporters. He didn’t use the word “race” or “color” when asked to clarify his remarks — but he refused to back away from his core assertion.

Politico’s Burgess Everett marvels at how this will play back home:

Rockefeller’s assertion is hard to imagine coming from a Democratic senator who represents a state — West Virginia — where the president is more unpopular than in almost any other — but it was no mistake. Rockefeller said the same at the beginning of May, arguing during a transportation hearing that “for some, it’s just we don’t want anything good to happen under this president, because he’s the wrong color.”

I suspect that Rockefeller may choose to live in the Beltway after his retirement this fall.


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Bmore

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Planning to start work on my next book documenting the vibrant, challenging and intellectual debate tactics used by the American lef… oh crap, I’m already finished.

Midas on May 23, 2014 at 12:11 PM

“Racist!”. The End.

VegasRick on May 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Midas, God love you!

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Thank you, I’ll take as much of that as I can get. ;)

Midas on May 23, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Bmore

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I see the same old tired ass race bait I always see from the left. Its all they know. Its all they have. Its all they do.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM

But he didn’t. He said ‘some’ – and in the way many would use it to be quite the opposite of many or most.
Again, I think it was a stupid comment and flagrant buffoonery.
But he did not say or suggest ‘millions and millions’.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM

No, you need to listen to again to what he was saying. He was responding to the fact that senators of all stripes are receiving emails with horror stories of how Obamacare is playing havoc with the health care system. In response, he acknowledging that some of these emails that he receives about Obamacare are negative (as opposed to all or most), but he then generalizes those emails as coming from racists. The Sen. Johnson was actually wrong in a technical sense – Rockefeller was not labeling Johnson as racist. It was much worse – Rockefeller was labeling pretty much every constituent who has sent him an email informing him of the disruption and heartache that Obamacare and its implementation are causing as racially motivated. West Virginians – behold your senator and what he thinks of you. Johnson should have been outraged on their behalf. When Rockefeller then said “God help you”, Johnson should have replied “God help you for labeling your constituents as racists.

But let’s be honest here. This is what the modern progressive is all about – of course they can serve as the representatives of dumb, back-woods, racist, religion and gun clinging homophobes because they are their to act as the enlightened sage, leading the ignorant into out of conservative, religious and capitalist darkness. Then, at the end, if the constituency doesn’t approve of all that progressive approves of, the progressive has every right to pass judgment on them based solely on opinion. This has been the way of the progressives since the mid-1800s. People forget – prohibition was a progressive movement – leading the dumb drunken masses away from the unenlightened habit of drink. Today, it’s universal health care.

studentofhistory on May 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM

“Racist!”. The End.

VegasRick on May 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Hey! You’re supposed to say “spoiler alert! ”

I was gonna read that!

Bigot! Racisss, homophone!

questionmark on May 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM

I hope they suffer, slowly and painfully, the hypocrites.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Drowning on the way to Starving is my best bet. We are leaving for the Holiday. If I don’t see you, have a lovely Holiday Schadenfreude. ; )

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 12:27 PM

You too Bmore and Miss Lamar. Reflect for the ones who gave all, so we be semi-free any more and idiotic too.

Have a safe trip. Been an interesting week, thanks to you :)

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Drowning on the way to Starving is my best bet.

Bmore on May 23, 2014 at 12:27 PM

In the dark, don’t forget.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:36 PM

But he didn’t. He said ‘some’ – and in the way many would use it to be quite the opposite of many or most.
Again, I think it was a stupid comment and flagrant buffoonery.
But he did not say or suggest ‘millions and millions’.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Welcome t*tty baby. Sorry, I couldn’t resist…too funny!

ToddPA on May 23, 2014 at 12:37 PM

it doesn’t even include his particularly effective point about the identical conservative reaction to HillaryCare while Scarborough was in Congress, in which race was hardly an issue.

/sarc

agreed their opposition was not racist, it was sexist.

/endsarc

goatbod on May 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Always nice to hear from the spoiled brat, Rockefeller. He wouldn’t think of ever lowering himself or his family to signing up for Obamacare. He is rotten to the core!

mobydutch on May 23, 2014 at 12:51 PM

So…any wknd plans?

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Honor the fallen. They gave all the right to be stupid, incl. moronic Rockefeller and his azzkissers.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Taking the kids to DC.
Visit the memorials.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Welcome t*tty baby. Sorry, I couldn’t resist…too funny!

ToddPA on May 23, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I believe it’s supposed to be hyphenated.
Profanity is a glorious thing…even in the wrong hands.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Taking the kids to DC.
Visit the memorials.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

I think the forecast is for nice weather, so you’ll have
that going for you….

ToddPA on May 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Taking the kids to DC.
Visit the memorials.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

I think the forecast is for nice weather, so you’ll have
that going for you….

ToddPA on May 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Yea…says sunny and high 70s.
I need to make sure I strike a fair balance btwn history lessons/lectures & hotel pool time.
My kids are less tolerant of my bloviating than Midas.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

I need to make sure I strike a fair balance btwn history lessons/lectures & hotel pool time.
My kids are less tolerant of my bloviating than Midas.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Smart kids! ;)

Midas on May 23, 2014 at 1:06 PM

I need to make sure I strike a fair balance btwn history lessons/lectures & hotel pool time.
My kids are less tolerant of my bloviating than Midas.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Smart kids! ;)

Midas on May 23, 2014 at 1:06 PM

You know 5 year olds can be.
Touché!

(See, I actually do know some French.)

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Can we have more people on the screen?

PBH on May 23, 2014 at 1:18 PM

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Très bien!

Have a good weekend!

Midas on May 23, 2014 at 1:18 PM

I’m pointing out that Scarborough is a hyperbolic windbag to claim this is the stupidest thing he’s ever heard from a sitting senator when he lived through Jesse Helms being in the Senate.

libfreeordie on May 23, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Plenty of sitting senators (and representatives) of both parties say stupid things — and always have.
People who take TV windbags seriously when they are being deliberately hyperbolic for effect have a defect in their sarc-o-meter.

Besides, you know what kind of reaction your comment would get on HA and made it just for that reason.

Rockefeller’s comment was this :

“It has to do with — for some, it’s just we don’t want anything good to happen under this president, because he’s the wrong color.”

In the context, he clearly directed that remark to Mr.Johnson personally.
When confronted, he insisted, several times, that he did not call Mr. Johnson “racist”; as if, somehow, not supporting someone just “because he’s the wrong color” really isn’t racism, when that equation is and always has been accounted a tautology.
That pitiful whining was certainly among the stupidest things ever said by a sitting senator, and if he truly believes that Johnson is in error, and that his charge was something other than denouncing Johnson as racist, then he has serious mental problems.

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Republicans and Democrats both view him as black because they’re ignorant. But Republicans also view him as the President of the United States and a powerful individual, rather than some black mascot to represent their party and ideals. Rockefeller isn’t stupid. He knows that disagreeing with socialized medicine is not racially based, but since he’s got a wonderful black mascot to enshroud his radical ideology in, he will do everything he can to distract from the merits of the debate including, although not limited to, ad hominem attacks. Ron Johnson (and Joe Scarborough) are right to criticize this codger for relying on these old prejudices to cloud the public’s mind. If he were honest, he would debate the legislation on its merits. He’s not honest. He’s never been.

ConservOvrGOP on May 23, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Nicely done analysis.

No, you need to listen to again to what he was saying. He was responding to the fact that senators of all stripes are receiving emails with horror stories of how Obamacare is playing havoc with the health care system. In response, he acknowledging that some of these emails that he receives about Obamacare are negative (as opposed to all or most), but he then generalizes those emails as coming from racists. The Sen. Johnson was actually wrong in a technical sense – Rockefeller was not labeling Johnson as racist. It was much worse – Rockefeller was labeling pretty much every constituent who has sent him an email informing him of the disruption and heartache that Obamacare and its implementation are causing as racially motivated.

studentofhistory on May 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Also a good commentary, but I think Rockefeller was including Johnson in the racist charge.

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I got news Ed. Rockefeller, like many others, already chooses to live inside the Beltway, when he is not at one of his other homes in balmy climes. West Virginia is an address of convenience; much as Westchester County, NY was an address of convenience for Hillary, and some other in New York was for RFK.

So many of our politicians are simply mercenary vagabonds

Oldflyer on May 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Taking the kids to DC.
Visit the memorials.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Hope you and your family enjoy the visit.
Never had a chance to get my kids up there, but we will spend our Memorial Day with General Grandpa, who was a fighter pilot in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, and one of the kindest, most principled men I have ever known.

He did a lot to turn off my seventies-scripted anti-war indoctrination, in addition to what I learned by studying what actually happened instead of what made it into the school-books and the evening news.

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM

So many of our politicians are simply mercenary vagabonds

Oldflyer on May 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Amen.
I would support requiring all Congress members to spend six months living in their district, and only six in DC.
Shut down “the government” every other month and send them home; might keep them from passing so many stupid laws just because they need something to do.

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Amen.
I would support requiring all Congress members to spend six months living in their district, and only six in DC.
Shut down “the government” every other month and send them home; might keep them from passing so many stupid laws just because they need something to do.

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 1:42 PM

It used to be that most districts and states had residency requirements that were in the range of 2 years prior to running. Of course, those have gone by the wayside as “rockstar” politicians travel from state to state and district to district seeing where they can get elected. Unfortunately, Republicans do this as much as Democrats – take Brown who is now moving to NH to run. Of course, the most recent and notable example was the horror of Hillary running for Moynihan’s seat. It was so blatant and so staged, it pretty much blew whatever pretense politicians used to play lip service to with regards to running local.

I actually think that moving back to the 2 year or more requirement would contribute to producing better politicians. At least those running would have some connection to their constituencies and their constituents could then expect them to represent their interests rather than the interests of the national party. That, plus the 6 month requirement (and reasonable terms limits) just might give us some small governance improvements.

studentofhistory on May 23, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Taking the kids to DC.
Visit the memorials.

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Hope you and your family enjoy the visit.
Never had a chance to get my kids up there, but we will spend our Memorial Day with General Grandpa, who was a fighter pilot in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, and one of the kindest, most principled men I have ever known.

AesopFan on May 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Sounds like General Grandpa is an amazing individual.
Your kids are fortunate to have him.
(As are we all.)

verbaluce on May 23, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Being a Democrat means never having to say you’re sorry – unless you offend blacks, women, Latinos, or LGBTQRXYZ.

Since when is ObamaCare “something good” at all? Is Rockefeller senile? Does he not watch the news at all?

I suspect that Rockefeller may choose to live in the Beltway after his retirement this fall.

Where do you think he’s been living the last 30 years? He barely set foot in West Virginia in election years.

Adjoran on May 23, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Rockefeller suggested that some of those who oppose the Affordable Care Act don’t like the President because he’s “of the wrong color.”

Damned right he’s the wrong color.

Red all the way down to his jockey shorts…

JohnGalt23 on May 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Rockefeller’s assertion is hard to imagine coming from a Democratic senator who represents a state — West Virginia — where the president is more unpopular than in almost any other

And yet they keep on electing Democrats. You’d think that SOMETHING might get through to them in WV, but the war on coal (and loss of jobs) certainly hasn’t. The stupid is strong in WV. Very strong.

xNavigator on May 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

WTF is in the water in WV? First Senator KKK Byrd goes all drooly and teary over Teddy Kennedy.

Now Rockefellerr appears to be demented accusing Rs of racism because they hate the dogeaters commie policies.

txdoc on May 23, 2014 at 10:27 AM

I’m pretty convinced roughly half the politicians in D.C. are suffering from dementia. Their average age appears to be 113, based on this guy and Cadaver Reid.

Laura Castellano on May 23, 2014 at 3:10 PM

For the last time white people, Obama is not black. He’s mixed. He was raised by old white people in a state that is known for its large multiracial population (along with its pretty beaches). He did not grow up under the Jim Crow laws that Rockefeller did. He did not hear white people say words like “colored” or any other derogatory terms towards people of mixed race like all black people in the continental United States did. He lived on islands in the Pacific Ocean thousands of miles away from the ingrained discrimination on the continent. On these islands he lived amongst the well-to-do and elite and eventually went to Ivy leagues schools in the US. By his own admission, he did not even identify with black people until he moved to the continent.

ConservOvrGOP on May 23, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Several problems with your post here.

First of all, it’s O’bama who is identifying himself as black. He chose to do so.

As for where he grew up, I also grew up there, at the same time (my family lived in Hawai’i in the 1960s). And I can assure you, he encountered racism out there on a regular basis, as that state is famous for its racism. Even the Far-Left Southern Poverty Law Center admits that.

However, the racism he encountered in Hawai’i was in fact directed at…whites, who are in the minority in the 50th state. You’ve obviously never heard of “Kill Haole Day”; do some quick internet research.

Until the summer of 2008, the wiki entry for the exclusive private prep school O’bama attended in Honolulu noted that said school’s students engaged in “Kill Haole Day” every year. Then that part of the entry magically was vanished down the rabbit hole. Wonder why?

Del Dolemonte on May 23, 2014 at 6:23 PM

“He’s the only Republican in the room, and Sen. Rockefeller suggested that millions and millions of Americans who opposed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as the President likes it to be called, have racist reasons for doing that,” Scarborough said. “That’s one of the stupidest, most offensive things I’ve heard a sitting senator say.”

“He owes Ron Johnson an apology,” he added.

Why is Scarborough so keyed up about this particular rhetoric from Rockefeller? Where’s he been for the past six years? This is pretty standard rhetoric from democrats of all stripes and the left in general in the Age of 0bama.

TarheelBen on May 23, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Jay Rockefeller — thirty years in the Senate and I’ll be no one can think of anything positive that he’s accomplished.

J Baustian on May 24, 2014 at 1:31 AM

If ANYBODY gets my direct ire about the ACA, called Obamacare simply because Obama was POTUS when it appeared, it is Harry Reid. Second place goes to Nancy Pelosi. Those two are hardly black. Reid is hardly a woman, so it’s not sexism. Besides, on the latter I have an automatic get out of jail free card. I’m also a woman.

Yes, I do despise Obama. I despise the POTUS who has made the US a laughing stock throughout the world, has enabled our mortal enemies, has bobbled virtually everything meaningful that should have crossed his desk but didn’t because he was out golfing. His only real accomplishment was undertaken by an underling intentionally misinterpreting his orders and taking the risk to take down OBL. I despise ineptitude on such a galactic scale. If somebody tells me this is simply because I perceive him as black, I note the failures are objective facts. Therefore that person must be presuming that blacks really are incompetent and we must politely ignore the fact and “not notice it.”

(The designer of this page is almost as inept to have it update in the middle of linked 20 minute long videos and while trying to type responses. If you can’t do it right then don’t update the frickin’ page unless *I* ask for it. And if you’re black and I’m thus a racist for criticizing this design flaw, well, you know where that logic leads. Read above. {^_-})

{^_^}

herself on May 24, 2014 at 2:25 AM

I’m sure Rockefeller took his cue from Reid. It’s ok to smear and slime fellow Americans if they’re on the right and be sure to call them racist. It’s all the left really has going for it today. They sure can’t point to any real successes of this regime. I didn’t like Clinton or Carter, for different reasons to be sure. It was all based on policy.

Kissmygrits on May 24, 2014 at 9:10 AM

ConservOvrGOP on May 23, 2014 at 11:35 AM

I want to add my admiration, also, to your great post. I see more than one think so, too.

avagreen on May 24, 2014 at 1:04 PM

His only real accomplishment was undertaken by an underling intentionally misinterpreting his orders and taking the risk to take down OBL.

A little OT, but I’ve read it was OBL’s oldest wife that did him in b/c she was jealous of his attentions to his youngest wife. Also, that AQ encouraged her to do so as they considered OBL a liability d/t his growing dementia from kidney disease and his opposition to the new leader of AQ, effectively confusing the cohesion w/n AQ.

(The designer of this page is almost as inept to have it update in the middle of linked 20 minute long videos and while trying to type responses. If you can’t do it right then don’t update the frickin’ page unless *I* ask for it. And if you’re black and I’m thus a racist for criticizing this design flaw, well, you know where that logic leads. Read above. {^_-})

herself on May 24, 2014 at 2:25 AM

Heh!

It is frustrating, is it not?

avagreen on May 24, 2014 at 1:10 PM

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