Using stories linked on the news aggregation website the Drudge Report over the weekend as evidence, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough bemoaned what he called an “extreme” and “far right” direction of the Republican Party that he tied to its recent electoral difficulties.
On his Monday program, Scarborough pointed to a Sunday “Meet the Press” appearance by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who voiced similar concerns about the GOP.
“It’s extraordinarily significant because yes, [Powell] supported Barack Obama two times,” Scarborough said. “But there are a lot of other Republicans that are required for a majority, that are required for Republicans to win the White House that are a lot like Colin Powell, that just look at the Republican Party and think that they’ve lost their way. I’ve got to say, if you look at how the Republican Party reacted the first time President Obama was elected, I wrote a book that basically could be boiled down to don’t lose your — Al Roker at the White House.”
But despite his and Powell’s protestations, Scarborough explained that some prominent conservative opinion makers “didn’t listen.” To bolster his case, Scarborough pointed to stories linked on the Drudge Report, including remarks from conservative talkers Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, the latter of whom he did not mention by name.
“They didn’t listen. They went out, they engaged in birtherism, they called the president a racist who hated all white people,” he continued. “And they went so far right and so extreme that they lost Middle America. And so yeah, we lost another presidential election. Look at the cover of Drudge, which I think magnificently reflects the feelings of conservatives — where the conservative movement is. And you know, he links stories that people want to see, and he does it better than anybody else.”
“This weekend, I went on Drudge. And at the top of it is a story of survivalists that are buying property, arming themselves and building walls out west. You have Sean Hannity who is talking about secession. You have another talk radio host whose name isn’t even worth mentioning that is talking basically about — about how the federal government is coming in and taking weapons, you know. You know, there’s a call to arms, and they’re going even more extreme right than they were four years ago.”
“This is such a recipe for disaster for the Republican Party,” Scarborough said. “I thought I would never say it, but if this party continues on this trajectory over the next three years, then we’re going to get wiped out in ’16. And if we continue on this trajectory and I think the Republican Party ceases to be a player in presidential politics.
“When a guy like Colin Powell, Mike Barnicle, says ‘I’m a Republican’ — and he’s been saying this for years — and the Republican Party has been pushing him away, every time I talk about how our foreign policy should be like Colin Powell’s foreign policy for five, six years, even before he endorsed Barack Obama the first time, I would get attacked for associating with Colin Powell’s very conservative with a small ‘c’, realist approach that Republican presidents followed for years. It was the Weinberger doctrine. It was the Reagan doctrine. It was the Powell doctrine. And suddenly, it became the doctrine of lefties?”
Scarborough went on to take shots at some elements of the National Rifle Association, and said the GOP’s anti-gun control stance is part of the reason why Republicans are losing key swing areas across the country in elections.
“Let’s talk about the people that want to buy Bushmasters,” Scarborough said. “Yes, gun sales are moving at a rapid pace. A lot of people are buying two or three just to keep up with their survivalist neighbors. You can’t have enough of those clips, right? Maybe they string them around their Christmas trees. I don’t know what they do with them. But Steve Rattner, this is the problem the Republican Party has made — this is the mistake the Republican Party’s made. They listen to the loudest voices — a small, small percentage of Americans. And Americans, by the way, who don’t swing presidential elections.”
“I have been saying it ad nauseam for four years and making extremist conservatives very upset. You don’t just look at what the most conservative person in northwest Florida is going to do when they’re voting. If you want to win the White House, you ask what’s going to happen in Bucks County, Pa., what’s going to happen in the suburbs of Philly, what’s going to happen in the I-4 corridor, what’s going to happen in Columbus, Ohio. Republicans chasing survivalists and the Wayne LaPierre fringe of the Republican Party — I’m not talking the NRA, I’m talking the extreme fringe of the NRA — that’s just such a losing formula.”