“Morning Joe” is one of the smallest morning shows in America, but its influence in the Beltway is disproportionate to the number of viewers in real America. This is what makes Mika Brzezinski’s statements this morning on Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) patriotism – as well as those of Tea Partiers – totally expected, but no less unacceptable.

The segment of the show focused around the “shutdown” and the effort to defund Obamacare:

“It shows how much they hate him [Obama] and don’t love the country, and that’s what’s scary about this.”

And later, after being challenged by Joe Scarborough:

“Are you saying they do?” Brzezinski asked. “Ted Cruz and his group loves the country? We disagree. I think he loves his prospects to develop a database more than he loves the country.”

Scarborough shot that theory down in no uncertain terms:

“I have never suggested the craziest left wing lunatic didn’t love their country,” Scarborough said. “I think Ted Cruz believes that ObamaCare is dangerous, I think he believes it’s devastating. I think he’s willing to take extreme measures to stop it from happening. But you suggested that some people might not love this country. People love this country, but they believe we get to the best outcome in completely different ways.”

There are many conservatives who are not fans of Scarborough – only moments after defending us, he said Speaker Boehner should “be a man” and put a clean Continuing Resolution up for a vote in the House – but his defense of Tea Partiers and Senator Cruz is well done.

Unfortunately, the rest of the segment of the show largely denigrated into a seminar on conservative-bashing. Scarborough criticized Republicans in Congress for being scared of grassroots conservatives – to which we say, “It’s about time!” Next, Brzezinski continued her attempts to delegitimize the defunding effort.

We’re starting to see why the show is so small, and why the only audience watching it suffers from Beltway Syndrome.