By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun
5:11 PM EDT, April 22, 2013
If you want to know what makes MSNBC's "Morning Joe" so much better than anything else on morning TV, check out this video of a discussion Monday morning about President Obama's awful failure to marshall support for even the most tepid gun reform.
First of all, hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were not only absolutely transparent about the way in which they were piggybacking Maureen Dowd's brilliant Sunday column in the New York Times, they celebrated her and her words. How rare it is to see TV pay proper respect to the print content that sustains it.
But what makes the segment so riveting is the passion Scarborough brings to his explanation of how Obama should have handled the Senate in lining up votes.
Compare Scarborough's passion and keen political insight to the let's-not-offend-anyone, weak analysis by David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker.
Remnick says, "I share Maureen's frustration, deep, deep frustration." And then, offers a critique absolutely devoid of any real emotion or conviction. Worse, he makes the overused and under-thought comparison to Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Scarborough comes up with a totally unexpected presidential role model for Obama, and then he sells his hypothesis with so much energy and conviction that I couldn't turn off the TV until he finished.
I was 10 minutes late for everything all day, thanks to Scarborough. But his anger provided a wonderful catharsis for all the frustration I was feeling toward Washington after all the big, phony gun talk post-Newtown yielded nothing from our elected representatives.
Scarborough proved a worthy TV companion to Dowd's words -- and that's a very high bar.
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