A choice cut of red meat to unite the tribes after last night’s civil war over Beck and Levin. Sneer at Scarborough if you like but all he’s doing in calling out people like Romney is anticipating a future media strategy against the GOP’s presidential contenders — i.e. amassing the kookiest or most incendiary stuff that Beck’s said and then putting them on the spot by asking them to denounce it. (Democrats are never asked to denounce Olbermann’s crap, of course, although that may be because no one watches Olbermann.) It’s the same shtick they pulled with Republican congressional leaders earlier this year vis-a-vis Limbaugh’s “I want him to fail” comment, but they’ll adapt it to GB going forward because (a) his exploding TV ratings make him a bigger media story than Rush, (b) he’s a richer vein than Rush for oddball material that can be used against the GOP, like that weird analysis of communist symbolism at 30 Rock from a few weeks ago, and (c) by hammering Beck they get to take a shot at Fox too. Why all Republicans should be asked to distance themselves from a guy who’s neither conservative nor Republican himself, nor even sure that he’d have voted for John McCain over Hillary Clinton, isn’t clear to me, but we’re talking politics here, not logic.
You won’t be surprised to hear that Matthews was pushing this same meme on “Hardball” tonight, replacing the call for “grown-ups” to denounce Beck with a call to denounce talk radio more generally. Say what you will about MSNBC but they know how to hit a talking point.