The consensus among conservatives is the fiscal cliff deal from President Barack Obama that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner delivered to Capitol Hill Thursday is not a serious one, despite how some in the news media covering the legislative battle seem to interpret it.
On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough fell in line with those who were discouraged by the president’s initial offer. He also took on the media who have treated the election as a complete repudiation the Republican Party’s principles.
“I don’t mean to say this directed towards you, I really don’t — no, this isn’t about you,” Scarborough said to Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein. “I’m just saying generally, there is such an arrogance in the media since the president won. They think that these House Republicans have absolutely nothing to say. They act as if they weren’t elected by 60 or 70 or 80 percent of their own district. They think they’re going to sit down, like who in ‘Star Wars,’ who was it that Luke [Skywalker] would always strike down? You know, all — Darth Vader’s guys in white suits that just would have walked into … the storm troopers. They were the worst fighters ever. How did Darth Vader get to where he was with those guys that were patsies? There were so many of them.”
“But my point is — so you say to me, ‘Well, you know what? Barack Obama’s just going to pass tax cuts for the middle class,’” Scarborough continued. “Great, pass that through Harry Reid’s Senate and then talk to me because we’re going to pass tax cuts for everybody. And let’s take that debate, and guess what, Republicans will win big in the off-year election.”
Later in the segment, Scarborough attempted to rationalize for viewers how the Republicans are laying out their game plan.
“This is the only point I’m making, and I could be wrong,” Scarborough said. “All I’m trying to do for people watching the show is to give the perspective of conservatives like me who are anti-tax, who was anti-tax in Congress and let people know how those Republicans that people aren’t focusing on enough, who have basically one-third of the power in this process — how they are thinking, the pressures that they are facing and also what they believe.”
“So for years, the mainstream media has said, throw Grover [Norquist] under the bus,” he continued. “They’ve thrown Grover under the bus for years. They’ve said, oh, you’ve got to agree to new tax revenue. [House Majority Leader] Eric Cantor came on the show the other day and said, we agree. We need new tax revenue. Those were pretty extraordinary moves forward. And to have those two steps moved forward, you know, moving forward with those two steps and then having this proposal come out, I think it’s a problem. I think the president’s going to have to come out today, and he’s going to have to clean this up some way.”
The former Florida congressman added that for all their flaws, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former President Bill Clinton’s mutual cooperation should be an example to Obama and Boehner.
“It begs the question, really — it’s a question that we have to be asking or at least I’m asking, why is the president in Philadelphia holding a campaign rally instead of sitting behind closed doors, you know, with John Boehner?” Scarborough said. “I keep going back to the 1990s. Who would ever look at Bill Clinton and think — would look at Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich as the models of, you know, of compromise in the age of impeachment? But those guys did not like each other at the beginning of the process. In fact, they hated each other in ’94.”
“But they spent four years behind closed doors, you know, knocking each other’s heads,” Scarborough continued. “They figured out how to balance the budget together. And they will both say it. The president will say to Gingrich, Gingrich will say to the president, four years in a row for the first time since the 1920s, and the president is flying off today to a campaign rally. I’m rooting for the president. I am. I’m rooting for Boehner. I really am. I want them to all succeed. I want us to avert this crisis. It depresses me, though, the way the president’s team is having him perform on the national stage. I think this is a bad mistake.”