MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” invited veteran newsman Dan Rather today to provide trenchant analysis on the issues of the day. He didn’t.

The discussion addressed the trio of issues dogging the White House these days — the IRS’s lopsided pursuit of political groups, Benghazi and the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of Associated Press phone records. Of those, Rather endorsed the IRS thing as the most significant. After some back-and-forth with Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rather took control of the conversation:

RATHER: This is advantage, Republican[s]. The Republicans must be slapping high-five behind closed doors.

MALE VOICE (chiming in): Absolutely.

FEMALE VOICE (chiming in): Yup.

RATHER: Because they have three things going for them. One, their No. 1 agenda item is to stop President Obama from accomplishing anything in his second term, and this aids that. No. 2, they have their eye on the next congressional elections, 2014. And many Republicans in Congress were getting estranged from the Tea Party and now they have solidarity with the Tea Party moving toward that election. And by the way, with the Benghazi thing, they managed to damage Hillary Clinton’s chances of not only getting the presidency in ’16 but also getting the nomination. So it’s a trifecta for them and no wonder their slapping high-fives behind closed doors.


RATHER: President Obama must feel like he’s Gulliver tied down by the Lilliputians. Every time he turns around, he can’t really move in any way, and it raises the question whether he can get anything done in his second term as president with the Republicans playing this obstructionist role.

Rather these days does a gig on titled “Dan Rather Reports,” which the Erik Wemple Blog hasn’t sampled. We hope, though, that it’s far more enlightening than this wretched segment. Instead of picking apart the nitty-gritty of these scandals, Rather frames them up in the most facile way possible, as political footballs.

He’s perhaps the 1,345th pundit to comment on the political implications of the Republican Benghazi attacks for the political future of Hillary Rodham Clinton — without drilling into the question of whether the former secretary of state provided presidential-caliber leadership in the episode. The notion that Republicans have damaged Clinton, too, may well be dead wrong, too, considering recent polling numbers.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.