Let me start by stating my headline is not a sentence. And now onward.
This morning, as each weekday, I eat breakfast while watching Morning Joe. I continually find the show insightful, filled with good vocabulary, spots of humor, while the meat of news stories are examined. I always walk away feeling either a bit more educated or heartened that a conviction of mine has been confirmed by someone I respect. Additionally, I very much admire the hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. (I was a fan of Zbigniew Brzezinski going back to the presidency of Jimmy Carter.)
Long-time readers to this blog know I am honest in how I write, and never mince words about the views being shared. So it does not please me now to need to take Scarborough to task about his views of Donald Trump’s campaign rally last night. He compared the rally to the final concerts of Elvis Presley.
The morning host spoke about what Trump did on stage with his old rhetoric from the 2016 campaign, the same use of stagecraft, along with the fervent applause for the familiar. Then Scarborough linked it to the final months of concerts by the King of Rock and Roll.
Scarborough said that Trump’s “greatest hits” reminded him of the the half-hearted manner in which the singer, in late-career, overweight and the drug-addled played to his crowds. I was not amused.
It’s Elvis in ‘77 sweating, trying to sing the old hits but his heart is just not in it. They know what he’s going to sing before he sings it. They know all the words and the guy who was once so exciting is now just dull.
Elvis, the gentlemen and consummate Southerner, being compared to a grifter was truly hard to stomach in the morning. More so, because Scarborough thought it ‘cute enough’ to use in more than one throw-away line. He really felt he had an analogy which worked. It truly did not.
The main reason I differ with Scarborough is that Elvis was told to slow down on the hectic touring schedule but said there were so many parts to his musical entourage counting on him for a paycheck he felt a need to continue. Elvis loved being Elvis, but he also knew how much others counted on him to perform.
Contrast that with Trump who showcases himself on a daily basis as only looking out for himself, at the exclusion to everyone and everything else.
We can also contrast the two regarding how they treated people they encountered. Elvis was known to go car shopping and buy autos for strangers and have keys handed to them. In July of 1975, two years before his death, Elvis was shopping for friends and family at Memphis’ Madison Cadillac, his preferred dealer. A bank teller, Mennie L. Person, was admiring Elvis’ limo, parked outside, when the man himself wandered over. He took her into the showroom, said “pick one out”.
Manners is another way that Elvis outclassed the one who held a rally last night. With the values of ‘Yes ma’am’ and ‘No sir’ Elvis was always a product of his roots and solid upbringing. Elvis was born in a shotgun shack but knew what style and decency meant when dealing with people who were not rich. When we think of the word character and Elvis we have a list of words which come to mind.
When we think of word character and Trump we also have a list of words which come to mind.
The two lists are vastly different.
Finally it would not be in the style of this blogger to not make my case with Elvis himself. In the final weeks of his life came this performance below. This underscores why Joe Scarborough is most definitely wrong when he chose to use Elvis this morning in his analogy. This was, at the time, a newly recorded song on Moody Blue–an album printed in see-through blue vinyl which I own–and proves the incredible vocal range and performing prowess of Elvis. Today Elton John and Paul McCartney sing the oldies in concert , and Elvis did the same for his adoring crowds. But he also was always venturing forward as this video clearly demonstrates.
I trust Scarborough will allow his audience an apology Thursday morning for his rudeness today.
Elvis Presley showed, time and again, what generosity of spirit looks like. And he wore it with a smile and humble heart.
Joe Scarborough is wrong. Period.