critical of President Obama being in India right now is an "idiot,"
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough bluntly served on his morning show, which prides
itself on being a safe haven for different views. India is "exactly
where [President Obama] should be" right now, he opined.
With Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass on as a guest Monday morning, Scarborough clamored that President Obama "needs" to be in India right now for the sake of U.S. foreign policy. "I would send my President to India, like once a month, if I could, for long weekends," he emphasized.
Scarborough hit left-wing bloggers earlier on the show for helping push President Obama's agenda too far to the left. Then he took the chance to slam the far right for what he considers unfair criticism of the President. "I was just going to say, any right-wing bloggers out there that are critical of the President being in India - anybody - is an idiot," he stated.
"They have their head in the sand, they are intellectually feeble, they have no idea about...how important India is to the United States - as Richard said - economically, politically, militarily, strategically."
Of course Scarborough's sweeping indictment of the far right seems to counter his insistence a few weeks earlier that his show is a safe haven for different voices in public policy debate to be heard. "This show is a safe house where people can come and talk whether they are on the right or the left," he glowered, calling the show "Switzerland" in a polarized news world.
In addition, last month the show ran a theme on consecutive days titled "Keep Calm And Carry On," a message meant to foster calmer debate and discourage fearmongering and hyper-partisanship.
And last week, Scarborough praised the "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington, saying that Morning Joe shared with it the sentiments of "a show where people who really disagree with each other can come on, have a fun, tough debate, and be friends at the end."
However, Scarborough insists there is only one side to the India debate - and that anyone who disagrees with him is an idiot.
The Morning Joe co-host agreed emphatically with Haass' reasons for the need to send Obama to India. "Strategically - the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one's talking about is China," Haass posed.
"One of the ways you ultimately manage or help steer the rise of China is with a close-strategic relationship with India. Secondly, economically. India's this enormous market, 1.2 billion people. Politically, the world's largest democracy. Plus it neighbors on the volatile parts of Asia."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on November 8 at 6:14 a.m. EST, is as follows:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Richard Haas, I-I've been talking about left-wing bloggers this morning - right-wing bloggers ginned up a funny controversy about the President going to India, and there's been a lot of noise on the far-right about him going to India. That's exactly where he should be. I would send my President to India, like once a month, if I could, for long weekends.
Could you explain why India - a country we don't think about very much - is one of our most critical allies on the world stage, and why it's important the President's there?
RICHARD HAASS, President, Council on Foreign Relations: It's important for so many reasons. Strategically - the 800-pound goarilla in the room that no one's talking about is China. One of the ways you ultimately manage or help steer the rise of China is with a close-strategic relationship with India. It's the baseline.
Secondly, economically. India's this enormous market, 1.2 billion people. Politically, the world's largest democracy. Plus it neighbors on the volatile parts of Asia.
SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say, Afghanistan -
HAASS: Exactly, Pakistan. So for so many reasons, economically, strategically, China - India ought to be at the center of American foreign policy. It was actually one of - I think - the real breakthroughs of this administration, to create a strategic relationship with India. This administration's been slow to do it. But finally they are doing it, and this whole trip actually - this emphasis on Asia, at a time where China's throwing its weight around - is very, very healthy.
SCARBOROUGH: I was just going to say, any right-wing bloggers out there that are critical of the President being in India - anybody - is an idiot. I don't mean to be that blunt, it is the truth - they are - they have their head in the sand, they are intellectually feeble, they have no idea about how important, Mark Halperin, how important India is to the United States - as Richard said - economically, politically, militarily, strategically -
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: International security -
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, the balance against China in that region - it is critical that the President of the United States is there right now.
MARK HALPERIN: And I'd add one more thing to that list, which is this is a country where the people actually want closer ties with the United States, where there's no real tension, you've got a lot of Indian-Americans, you've got a lot of people in India who would like to come here and trade with the United States, Indian companies - people talk about outsourcing, a lot of Indians want to invest in the United States - it is all upside for us, and it's important for the President - that's why he's spending three days there, which is a lot of time.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, he really needs to do that. And also, historically, and we'll talk to Richard some more about this, because the President's speaking before the Indian parliament -
BRZEZINSKI: 7:00 Eastern -
SCARBOROUGH: 7:00 Eastern Time. But also, we have good relations with India. September 11 came, and our shift dramatically went over to Pakistan - and adversary for a very long time. This is important, as Richard said, George W. Bush quietly built the relations up there, but we - we need to - we need to keep pushing.
- Matt Hadro is an intern with the Media Research Center