How can you get MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski to make a qualifications-over-gender argument? Based on her performance Thursday, you force her to defend President Barack Obama.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday, Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough sparred over Obama’s cabinet picks for his second term, which have been all male thus far as highlighted by a front-page photograph on Wednesday’s New York Times. Scarborough suggested Obama should follow former Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s plan to include women in his Cabinet to Brzezinski, a strategy for which Romney was maligned.
SCARBOROUGH: So Mika, I think Mitt Romney should FedEx that binder of women that he has to Barack Obama.
BRZEZINSKI: Oh, please. No. he’s fine.
SCARBOROUGH: They’re binders. It’s different now.
BRZEZINSKI: No, it’s not different.
SCARBOROUGH: Now it’s different because Barack Obama obviously doesn’t know any qualified women to serve in his cabinet. Mitt Romney’s got binders of women that are qualified to serve.
JON MEACHAM: He widened the search and was mocked.
BRZEZINSKI: No, actually, Mitt Romney basically ridiculed the whole concept of hiring women by getting binders. And this president has put policies…
SCARBOROUGH: … has just decided not to hire women.
BRZEZINSKI: Are you going to interrupt?
SCARBOROUGH: I don’t need the binders. I just won’t hire them.
Brzezinski, author of a book on the subject of gender inequality in the workplace called “Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth,” later defended Obama’s picks, explaining that the men he had appointed were qualified, despite the lack of diversity.
BRZEZINSKI: We’re talking about a couple of cabinet positions that are being filled, and one or two names. And it’s not just gender, but it’s exact moment in one’s career. It’s timing and the international situation. You tell me, is John Kerry right for the job?
BRZEZINSKI: Is Chuck Hagel right for the job?
BRZEZINSKI: Should we discriminate against them?
SCARBOROUGH: So we’re doing that now? You’re suggesting that there are no women as qualified as the men for these positions.
Scarborough reminded his viewers of the backlash Romney took during Obama’s “war on women” strategy and deemed Obama supporters hypocritical for giving the president a pass now.
“That was the stupidity of the argument against Romney for saying that,” Scarborough said. “And I didn’t defend Romney a whole lot during the campaign for all the dumb things that he and his campaign staff did. But this is what leaders do. This is what executives do. They say, bring in the best candidates we can get. That’s what Eisenhower did. Eisenhower hired people he didn’t even know. His rule was I don’t want any friends. Bring me in everything you got. That’s what leaders do. And it was this fake controversy that liberals churned up for a month. And now that Barack Obama — again, I hate to say this because it gets so tiresome saying it — if a Republican in 2013 had a cabinet that looked like that, that Republican would be savaged.”
Later in the segment, Brzezinski accused Scarborough of being a chauvinist, but was forced to apologize later in the show as Mediaite’s Meenal Vamburkar pointed out.