Joe Scarborough often riles up conservatives for his continual trashing of his fellow Republicans, but his most recent claim might be a new low for the MSNBC conservative. Appearing on Morning Joe on Wednesday January 23, Scarborough insisted that he was not a Republican-in-name-only (RINO), but instead is more conservative than most in Congress.
Scarborough, who NewsBusters has repeatedly documented slamming conservatives, suddenly views himself as the epitome of conservative values. Earlier this month, Scarborough made similar comments when he claimed to be a, “really conservative guy.” Addressing the usual all-liberal MSNBC panel on today's Morning Joe, Scarborough argued that he is “Mr. Cut.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Scarborough, who perpetually proclaims that Republicans need to listen to him and their problems will be solved, claimed that:
This goes back again to the Republican Party, not being conservative, not being moderate, but being smart. Turning their back on their stupid ways where they set themselves up as punching bags which they've done time and time again through the years.
Scarborough continued by defending sequestration-imposed defense cuts as eminently conservative, even though national defense is the primary purpose of the federal government: "I want those defense cuts. And after we do those defense cuts, we need more defense cuts."
For conservatives already critical of Scarborough, his adamant support for defense cuts and the overall sequestration which the GOP has been trying to stop for months, will not ease their doubts. While conservatives want to cut fraud and waste in defense, sequestration would throw the good out with the bad.
What's more, for a supposedly staunch conservative, Scarborough has set his sights on the NRA, unloading tirade after tirade on the nation's oldest civil rights organization, claiming that they made millions off of the Newtown shooting.
If calling for massive defense cuts and slamming the NRA as profiteering off the deaths of innocent children makes you a true conservative, then the GOP is in serious trouble, but the more likely answer is that Scarborough is truly a RINO.
See relevant transcript below.
January 23, 2013
6:08 a.m. EST
MARK HALPERIN: Joe, you're going to remember whose line it is, the Democratic Speaker of the House says to his colleagues, the Republicans are the opposition, but the Senate is the enemy. The gap between the two chambers is pretty big. What's exciting to me now and interesting to me is that public opinion may start to matter. The president
-- we've talked about, starting this new organization, organizing for action to try to get public opinion to influence what goes on on Capitol Hill, to take an outside game and influence the inside game. What Speaker Boehner is doing with this proposal on pay, overwhelmingly I bet you the American people support the notion. They can't get paid if they don't do their job. The question is, will the Senate, will Harry Reid, will Mitch McConnell, will they actually feel either based on the efforts of the house or what the president does, will they actually feel like hey, we need to listen to what the country wants. There's still populism out there particularly with the economy bad and people feeling like Washington needs to get its act together.
MIKE BARNICLE: Hey Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.
BARNICLE: That asks -- that leads me to ask, you know, the group, what happens if within the White House, off of what Mark just said, because this will be increasingly popular if the Republicans continue to do things like this, what happens if the White House decides to try and pick off specific members of the Republican membership in the House and perhaps some Republicans in the Senate and basically to them say people like you more now if you come and try and meet us halfway. What happens to this whole ball game if that occurs?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I actually think the ball game is changing. The front of The Washington Post says that the GOP offers respite on debt. The New York Times also talks about how the Republicans have gone ahead and pushed for -- obviously for this three-month extension that we're talking about. And Mike, this goes back again to the Republican Party, not being conservative, not being moderate, but being smart. Turning their back on their stupid ways where they set themselves up as punching bags which they've done time and time again through the years. Again, I think this three-month move last week that they've made, I think it's a very shrewd move. It's one of the first shrewd moves I've seen the body do in quite some time. I've seen Republicans do in some time. And we were -- Mika and I were up on the hill all yesterday afternoon. And I've got to say, the Republicans I spoke with gave me hope. And Michael, they didn't give me hope because they said we're going to compromise because you know -- actually, this is the great irony. You know, people, Scarborough is a RINO. I don't want them to compromise on spending cuts.
MICHAEL STEELE: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: In fact, I want them to cut more than they will cut. I want them to go further on Medicare, I want them to go further on Social Security. I want them to go further on the middle-class entitlements in the out years. Not now. I don't want any seniors to be hurt now. But in the out years where it really explodes. I want them to be more aggressive on tax reform. I want them to cut defense spending much more. I hope the sequestration goes through.
SCARBOROUGH: I want those defense cuts. And after we do those defense cuts, we need more defense cuts. We need to stop occupying countries for a decade at a time. We've got to stop spending $2 billion a week. I am Mr. Cut. Call me Mr. Cut. I am more conservative than most Republicans on the hill. That said, what gave me comfort yesterday was, I talked to party leaders, and I talked to the rank and file on both sides. And they seemed to understand that they've walked into traps time and time again. And they're ready to start playing smart. That's good.