Parade Magazine Excerpts Book of 'Conservative' Joe Scarborough's Advice for GOP to Lunge for the Center

Parade Magazine, the Sunday newspaper supplement, has an ongoing relationship with Joe Scarborough, so on Sunday they published an excerpt of Scarborough’s latest book on fixing the Grand Old Party: “the conservative cohost of MSNBC’s Morning Joe calls on his party to reject extremism.”

In case anyone doesn’t catch this every morning, Joe argued against those Tea Party freaks who just arrived in Washington: “[W]e have to stop electing amateurs who serve as little more than ideological indulgences, who exploit resentments that play well enough among the base, but whose positions make them nonviable in general elections.” And then Scarborough turned to Colin Powell for advice:

This is a lesson I learned the hard way: I spoke out against the possibility of Colin Powell’s presidential candidacy in 1996 because his political moderation was so off-putting to me. The thought that he could be the standard-bearer of my Republican Party was offensive. But watching the retired general on Meet the Press in recent years has made me understand why Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush drafted him to a be a critical player in their administrations.

In retrospect I realize how much better the GOP would have fared against Bill Clinton in 1996 if I had not let my hopes for a conservative stalwart get in the way of our best hope to beat Clinton. “If it’s just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty,” said Powell this year. “I’m a moderate, but I’m still a Republican.”

Scarborough began by quoting William F. Buckley: “conservatism, except when it is expressed in pure idealism, takes into account reality.” So here are realities Joe is skipping:

1. Colin Powell has twice endorsed Barack Obama. He is not allowed to speak as “still a Republican” after two gaudy Obama endorsements. John McCain wasn't too conservative to be endorsed by Colin Powell.

2. The Republicans did not nominate a “far right” candidate in 1996 to go up against Clinton. They nominated Bob Dole! Colin Powell endorsed Bob Dole. If the idea of nominating someone to please Colin Powell was the key to victory.....Well?

In a separate interview on the Parade website, they asked Scarborough this beaut: “To what extent do you think individual extremists like Ted Cruz were held accountable for the government shutdown?”

Scarborough swung away at that tee-ball: "If you look at the people who ran the strategy that drove the Republican party over the cliff and gave us our lowest approval ratings ever, you'll see that the warnings that people like Charles Krauthammer and I gave for the shutdown are now not seen as the idle ramblings of RINOs, but rather, the very real concerns of conservatives who like winning elections more than losing elections. I think the most distressing part of it all is that you had people going on ideological witch-hunts, not based on what other Republicans believed, but based on tactics. There's nothing glorious about running a quarterback sneak at the middle when it's fourth and thirty-one."

Tim Graham's picture