Jon Meacham’s Promising Rant About ‘Nascent Fascism’ Devolves Into an Incoherent List of Obscure References
Former Newsweek Editor in Chief and current historian at some august southern college Jon Meacham warned the nation of Morning Joe viewers that we are very much still in a battle with nascent fascism in the United States.
Unfortunately, that was the only salient and even coherent point made during his Thursday morning appearance on Morning Joe, which otherwise featured a word salad of obscure references that seemed designed only to impress viewers, in much the same way a middle schooler relies on a Thesaurus to try to impress a teacher with big words in an otherwise unimpressive essay.
There is no question that Meacham is in the 99.9th percentile in wordsmithery. He has published many well-received books, written speeches for President Joe Biden, and often provides trenchant commentary on Morning Joe, where he was a paid contributor until he wasn’t. But Meacham’s penchant for using the big words even draws loving mockery from Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
Thursday’s segment focusing on John Boehner blaming former President Donald Trump for inciting the “bloody insurrection” in his new memoir, On the House, led to a classic example of Meacham going deep, perhaps too deep, in historical references, that left Brzezinski, and likely many viewers, saying “huh.”
Meacham opened by mocking the idea that there’s a “group of satraps, if only they could beam in and speak the truth on Fox, the republic would be saved.” Absolutely no one shares the idea that metaphorical satraps will appear on Fox News or anywhere else.
He then compared Mitch McConnell’s blaming the insurrection on Trump after voting against impeachment to the line in Tom Sawyer, where an evangelist came through town, who was so good, that they said Huck Finn was “saved until Tuesday.” Decent!
“This is Joe McCarthy versus Margaret Chase Smith, probably, if they care about how they’re seen,” he added, which he clarified that Republicans care more about “who is seeing them.” A smart point—and the math adds up—but challenging to follow in its elliptical delivery. But then things sort of go off the rails.
Then, in what can be fairly called a stream of consciousness ramble, Meacham referenced John Boehner running afoul of the Freedom Caucus for making a deal with Obama, which he compared to Gerald Ford (!) making deals with Tip O’Neill, and Rosty (Dan Rostenkowski?) which in his esteem, reminded him of the 41st president George Bush dealing with Newt Gingrich.
How’d he land the plane? By comparing Gingrich bolting on Bush and getting the bill passed, but when they bolted on Boehner, they couldn’t pass the bill.
As Brzezinski responded, “huh?”
Look, Meacham is a super smart dude. But he has a conveyance of someone who not only knows he is a super smart dude, but is overeager to show how super smart a dude he is. And in this segment, he had me at nascent fascism but lost me at Rosty.
Watch above via MSNBC.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.