Conservative columnist Mark Steyn is not convinced Joe Scarborough can win the Republican nomination if he runs for president in 2016, but he does think the MSNBC host is “quite smart and quite savvy.”
“I think Joe Scarborough’s a smart guy, actually,” Steyn said Thursday during an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, which was being guest-hosted by yours truly.
“And I went to the National Review conservative conference, which was more of a wake, really, held after the 2012 election, a couple of months afterwards. And everything he said, compared to a lot of people who were sort of living in a state of delusion, was actually quite smart and quite savvy,” Steyn continued. “But the reality is that he’s not where the 50 percent of the country that wants an alternative to the Democratic Party is. And he can’t get past that. I mean, it’s asking a New Hampshire electorate quite a lot to swallow some of the things Scott Brown has said on guns, for example. It’s asking a lot more to ask them to swallow what Joe Scarborough stands for in a New Hampshire primary.”
“I think he’s a smart guy, and he’s cleverly nuanced and all the rest of it,” Steyn concluded, “but he’s not where the base is. And as the Jeb Bush thing reminds us, you know, in the end, you can only insult the base so much. And that’s not going to fly this time around, not after all the geniuses have picked the last couple of candidates, and we watched how that played out.”
Despite Scarborough publicly downplaying the possibility of a 2016 presidential campaign, The Daily Caller reported in February that people around Scarborough believe he is seriously considering a run.
During the interview, Steyn also reacted to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s comments last weekend that some forms of illegal immigration are “an act of love.”
“I made the mistake of doing it the other way, the legal way, which I take it isn’t an act of love,” Steyn said. “And to modify that old 60s slogan, if I’d have known that what Jeb Bush says is the official position, I would have made love, not INS paperwork for the best part of a decade. I think this frankly is insulting.”
“There are individual stories that can be presented as appealing in illegal immigration,” he continued. “There are a lot of illegal immigration stories that are totally unappealing, where people come here, they get mixed up with drug gangs, they drive without a driver’s license and they kill some poor, native-born American citizen guilty of no crime than happening to be crossing the street when an illegal immigrant without a license came plowing towards her. So there’s all kinds of human stories on that. And the idea that the population of Canada moving illegally into the United States is some kind of mass lovemaking act in Jeb Bush’s eyes is preposterous.”
Bush said last weekend that he would make a decision on a 2016 presidential run later this year.