The third presidential debate was a nightmare. Its defining moment was a rain check for post-election malaise, if not outright violence. With the 2016 race all but over, it increasingly feels like a big, long national crack-up.
Most of this is anxiety-inducing. But every now and then, it is deeply funny. Today’s Morning Joe was full of the usual morbid symptoms: Kellyanne Conway trying to spin Trump’s refusal to accept the election results as “smart,” and Joe “Morning Joe” Scarborough claiming it wasn’t a big deal because Democrats were mad that Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the White House in 2000. Then came the catharsis. It was almost as if Joe and Mika “Morning Joe” Brzezinski knew that the nation needed to forget its troubles, even briefly, when they trotted out Bill Kristol and yelled at him for five minutes.
Here is the best bit:
KRISTOL: A lot of people accommodated Donald Trump at different times. I think I’m— but I’m not going to get into it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well no no no you just did. You lied. Please don’t come on my air and lie. You said in late ‘15, in early December—I can’t even believe you’re doing this, I don’t know why you’re so bitter.
KRISTOL: I’m not bitter. I’m trying to say that Republicans, I’m trying to say that Republicans need—
SCARBOROUGH: You’re practically crying. You’re practically crying.
KRISTOL: I am upset about this election. That’s right Joe, because you think it’s amusing that Donald Trump is the nominee.
To be fair to Scarborough, Kristol really did sound like he was crying. And to be fair to Kristol, the coverage of Trump on Morning Joe has been truly shameful. But Bill Kristol—who is as responsible as any other elite Republican for creating the historical conditions for Trump and Trumpism—is not the person to make that claim.
But whatever: Watching Morning Joe and Morning Mika yell at Bill Kristol, and watching Bill Kristol almost start crying, is very funny. It almost makes last night worth it. Almost.