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Morning Joe on Harry Reid Attacks: “Embarrassing,” “lying,” “pure McCarthyism”

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: charles koch responded to the criticism in a recent “wall street journal” op ed where he described the attacks as character assassination. senator reid didn’t seem the least bit bothered.

SEN. HARRY REID: most people here familiar with the koch brothers, i’m had to make them a little more infamous or famous, and i’m glad i’ve done that. these two men are shadow billionaires spending millions of dollars to rig their political system. and who does it help? them. by every indication, our republican colleagues are falling all over themselves to help advance their self-described radical philosophy. all ready, we’ve had one senator run to the senate floor and read word-for-word the op-ed piece on the floor.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: it’s embarrassing. it really is embarrassing. jim vandehei — i mean, my opinion is, and i’ve said it clearly, that harry reid is — what he’s doing is beneath the dignity of the office he’s holding. he’s lying about these people. he’s calling them un-american, it’s mccarthyism. he’s lying about them. he’s putting lies on his website that the white house itself discredited four years ago. harry reid still has on his website today that the koch brothers may not pay corporate taxes. now, that was a lie debunked four years ago. and he is still pushing that lie today. and then you’ve got the steyer brothers who are giving, what, $100 million this next year, and when you guys went to one of the steyer brothers and compared them to the koch brothers, they said, well, we take that as a compliment, because, yes, we’re going to do the same thing. on the left. i mean, what –

JIM VANDEHEI: well, the question is, why?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: why do democrats think they can connect with middle america by engaging in mccarthy tactics, calling somebody un-american, lying — lying about them not paying inging corporate taxes, and i want to make this about harry reid. we remember he lied during the presidential campaign and said mitt romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. and i’m just — are there no democrats that are backing off of this man? in the united states senate? why?

JIM VANDEHEI: number — why is harry reid doing this? because he has every single political incentive to do it. the koch brothers are basically as big as a party, and he knows if he vilifies them, if he can do anything to discourage that type of activity, he could help his party. more importantly, it’s basically a siren. it’s, like, come on, guys, on the left, women on the left, you have to pony up that kind of money to go after the koch brothers. he’s trying to rally his party, because they’re worried about the election consequences of this. they know that the koch brothers are spending so much money in places like north carolina and some of these obscure races nobody is even paying attention to, it’s having an appreciable effect on the outcome of the races. they are extremely effective in what they’re doing.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: let me ask you about off the record. any democrats concerned about the quote have any democrats been “un-american” comments, which is, again, pure mccarthyism. we had chuck schumer on, and he did not want to embrace that term. but he ended — but off the record, are some of them concerned about this — these mccarthy –

JIM VANDEHEI: yeah, off the record, they do what they always do about harry reid, he takes it a notch too far, but they like him, because he’s sort of dirty harry. he’s the one who says in sharp terms what they all wish they could say, but they would never say in public. yes, they wish he wouldn’t cross that line and make it a distraction when you use terms like un-american. they wish to keep it more focused, but they love the idea he’s the within taking the lead, taking the fight to the koch brothers, because the koch brothers in north carolina alone are outspending everybody. they are the candidate. they are the campaign. and when they make a difference, of course harry reid will get onto the floor and lambaste them. i do think there is a huge danger, they’re making this whole campaign about one man, and, yes, they spend a lot of money. the one thing that’s true is he is orchestrating a large campaign of complex organizations to pump money through 10, 15 different places yes. to affect politics. guess what? it’s legal. also guess what? lots of groups on the left are doing it, they’re just doing it bigger and better than anybody on the left right now. a couple of years ago, the left was doing it substantially better which is why the koch brothers stepped in and are doing what conservatives could not happier that they are doing.