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Hey Joe, America Is Not An Idea

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

No one is as smart as Joe Scarborough thinks he is, and no one could ever love him the way he loves himself. These unfortunate truths were on display for the world to see on Tuesday, the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country. It was on that day Joe decided the world had to know his latest Jack Handy “deep thoughts” about President Trump and the state of the country today. He then proceeded to step on a series of rakes.


Choosing the anniversary of 3000 Americans being murdered by Islamic terrorists to write an op-ed entitled, “Trump is harming the dream of America more than any foreign adversary ever could,” was dumb. To tweet it out with, “My Latest—> Trump is damaging the dream of America more than any terrorist attack ever could,” was dumber.

It was also proof Joe lives in a bubble and likely has no one in his life who disagrees with him or who can credibly tell him to pump the brakes a bit when he gets a stupid idea in his head, especially on a day like September 11th. (A point he later admitted on Twitter, long after the fact.)

In what reads like an attempt to make his readers believe he is much smarter than everyone else, Joe uses hindsight like it’s in his windshield to attack US foreign policy since that horrible September day. Falsely, Scarborough writes, “Seventeen years later, endless wars abroad and reckless policies at home have produced annual deficits approaching $1 trillion. President Trump’s Republican Party will create more debt in one year than was generated in the first 200 years of America’s existence.”

A couple of things are shady about this. The first four years of Barack Obama presidency saw deficits of more than $1 trillion, thanks to his “stimulus” bill, which was rolled into the budget and became near-permanent spending. Something Joe either doesn’t know or hopes his readers don’t.


Secondly, notice that nice bit of sleight of hand stopping counting debt in 1976? That lets a lot of big spenders off the hook, most notably the last president. The national debt is approaching $21 trillion, so to claim “Trump’s Republican Party will create more debt in one year than was generated in the first 200 years of America’s existence” is, for lack of a more-perfect word, deceptive. He knows people won’t think about the fact that he’s cropping out presidents after the bicentennial, framing Trump as the worst of the worst for the national debt. When you control (or are dishonest) about the unit of measure it’s never because you have a good argument, it’s because you’re hiding something.

Still, that’s not the worst part of Joe’s prose.

In what would have been another easily ignored, though inappropriately timed, rambling column from a self-important cable news host, Joe just had to take one more swipe at the man he gave countless hours of free, glowing television time to when he was just one candidate in a large field of Republicans.

Of the president, Joe wrote, “The question for voters this fall is whether their country will move beyond this troubled chapter in history or whether they will continue supporting a politician who has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could.”

Whatever you think of President Trump, the idea that he is a bigger threat to our country than “any foreign adversary” is a sign of a chemical imbalance, or your segment is fast approaching on CNN or MSNBC, not serious thought.


To bolster his point, and inflate his own sails, his op-ed was a topic of discussion on his show Tuesday. This is where he got even dumber. Quoting the New York Times’s Roger Cohen, as he did in his piece, Scarborough repeats this nonsense. “I love that line, that Roger Cohen line, ‘America is an idea,’” Joe said. “If you strip America of its ideas, forget about knocking down buildings in the financial district, forget about running planes into the Pentagon. Those are tragedies, but those tragedies bring us closer together. America is an idea. You gut America of that idea, that is when you do the most harm to America.”

America is not an idea. It is a country full of people with all kinds of ideas, where ideas are allowed to flourish and people are free to pursue them, provided they’re legal, for as long and however they wish.

Freedom is an idea, liberty is an idea, the United States of America is a country, with borders and laws, and a Constitution that is the greatest use of words ever put to paper by men. Whatever else anyone imposes on the country, either externally or internally, is irrelevant. We should never be governed by whatever vague concept someone has of what America means to them anymore than we should accept the idea that the Constitution can mean whatever we want it to mean based on the political whims of the moment.

That this country places value on the concepts of individual freedom and liberty is a testament to the greatness of our Constitution, of our country; not the perceptions of the rest of the world. Perhaps Joe should spend less time inside his MSNBC bubble, where he’s seemingly fallen in love with the sound of his own voice echoing off its walls, and try to remember that.


Programming note: I will be on CSPAN-2 this Saturday and Sunday, on Book-TV’s show “After Words,” having a chat with Brent Bozell, legendary founder of the Media Research Center. He interviewed me about my book, “Outrage, INC.: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood.” It airs Saturday night at 10:00, and again Sunday evening at 6:00, 9:00, and midnight. You can see preview clips here and here. And order a copy of the book here.

And, as always, subscribe to my daily podcast in iTunes here.

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