I admit it: I watched MSNBC earlier this week. I tuned in “Morning Joe,” because the horrible Howard Dean was going to be a guest, and Dean will always say something that puts him in the running for at least an Ethics Dunce post. As far as I can see, he has no scruples or shame at all; he’s like Donald Trump with an MD. Still, I didn’t expect what transpired.
Co-Host Mika Brzezinski raised Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees, and suggested that that high prices she charges colleges undercuts her credibility when she discussed making higher education affordable. “These kids… will be strapped with $90,000 in debt or $120,000 in debt and she’s making $225,000 in one hour,” she said.
“She’s not getting $225,000 for speeches in front of colleges,” Dean stated.
Mika’s partner, “Morning Joe” Scarborough objected, insisting that she did indeed.
“No, she’s not!” Dean insisted. “Which colleges?” A few minutes later, the Morning Joe executive producer read to Dean two examples, saying, “UNLV in October of 2014, she got $225,000. Then a month later, UCLA, she got $300,000.”
“I stand corrected,” said Dean. That is hardly sufficient, however. Some questions need to be answered.
How could Howard Dean not know about Clinton’s obscene college speaking fees? They have been a source of criticism and discussion for years. (I wrote about them here, in 2014.) How did he think Bill and Hillary made all that money? Dean was previously the DNC chair, and is still involved in party leadership. Was he just lying, like current chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz does without fail. Was he just assuming that the fellow travelers at MSNBC would let it pass, as they do most Democratic cover stories? Or does this mean that Democratic leadership is that ignorant of Clinton’s flaws and vulnerabilities?
None of these theories are especially credible. I don’t believe an issue as well-publicized as the speaking fees were not known to Dean. I have a hard time believing that Clinton sends out surrogates whose job it is to lie and deny without any more foundation than this. Nor can I believe that even Howard Dean is bold enough to deny something a google away.
Was MSNBC, given their assumed roles as a Democratic party mouthpeice and ally, trying to mislead its audience even as it corrected Dean’s attempt to deny the undeniable? Also in 2014, the Washington Post identified 8 universities that it believed has paid at least $200, ooo to have Hillary speak: the University of Connecticut ($251,250)m the University at Buffalo, Colgate University and Hamilton College in New York, Simmons College in Boston and the University of Miami in Florida in addition to the two revealed on “Morning Joe.”
Whatever was going on, it is appalling and an insult to the American public. The Democratic Party has an obligation to perform its role in the selection of a President responsibly. This means, in addition to selecting a qualified and trustworthy candidate, knowing who and what they are nominating, having its leaders be knowledgeable about the candidates and be at least minimally informed on issues relating to them, and requiring them to be transparent, rather than direct them to lie or deny as a reflex.
Dean never did answer the question, by the way.