At the National Review Institute Summit in Washington, D.C. this weekend, MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida’s First Congressional District, said the GOP lacks its historical diversity of ideas.
“I think the debate has been stifled. It has been stifled because we have created this conservative groupthink over 30 years that has become more and more narrow. A conservative groupthink that would allow all of our primary presidential candidates being asked if they would take a 10-to-1 deal on spending cuts to taxes, and everybody’s afraid to talk. Everybody’s afraid to talk about regulation.”
Scarborough explained that certain key distractions, like the Sandra Fluke contraception issue during the 2012 campaign, existed only because Republicans weren’t putting forward their own innovative proposals.
“The problem is, you know, liberals believe that you manage the government from the top down. We believe you manage the economy from the bottom up,” he said. “Well, we are managing our ideas from the top down. You want to talk about why everyone is talking about Sandra Fluke? It is because there are not 20 or 30 conservative proposals out there like there were in ’93 and ‘94. You talk about 1993 — I can tell you I decided as a 29-year-old guy I was going to run for Congress in 1994.”
Scarborough said in the 1994 midterm elections, when he was elected to the U.S. House, he offered a litany of solutions whenever confronted with an issue.
“There was so much excitement out there, because there wasn’t just one talk radio guy that everybody listened to or one news channel that everybody listened to, or one website that everybody went to. You would get a great welfare reform idea from John Engler in Michigan. You would get great crime-control ideas from Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin.”
“I remember in ‘93 going into the RNC and they had a sign that said, ‘Think Majority,’” he said. “I just laughed. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? We have no chance. We have not been in the majority in my lifetime.’ But guess what? We got it because we had ideas. We had ideas on the House level. We had ideas in the state legislatures. We had ideas coming from governors, and Democrats didn’t stand a chance.”