Having successfully lodged his foot in his mouth on the issue of gun control, Joe Scarborough has since found a new topic with which to contradict himself: Mitt Romney. Despite his severe criticism of the Republican candidate during the 2012 Presidential campaign, on Tuesday, the Morning Joe host gushed that Romney could be “a great hope” for conservatives.
Scarborough’s latest 180 occurred during the A-block of his MSNBC show as panelists discussed the President’s recent endorsement of Romney for the Utah senatorial race. The segment began, somewhat ironically, with a montage which alternated between clips of the Trump and the former Senator insulting each other, ending with a screenshot of Romney’s tweet accepting the President’s endorsement. But while the video aimed to highlight Republican hypocrisy, the panelists displayed quite a bit of hypocrisy themselves during the ensuing discussion.
“There are a lot of good conservatives out there,” Scarborough remarked, “and Mitt Romney is actually a great – a great focus for them. A great hope for them that somebody will come in and be a traditional conservative.” He went on:
Conservatism in Washington, D.C. is dead... Mitt Romney, though, is an opening. And he is an opportunity to return, as he said in his speech, to the conservatism that was the conservatism when I was here, a conservatism of balanced budgets, of less debt, of opening your arms to legal immigrants across the world, of embracing free trade...
That’s basically his message right now and it’s a message that a lot of conservatives are going to be excited about.
Scarborough seemed particularly excited about the prospect of Romney ushering in some sort of return to ‘true’ conservatism. Yet in 2012, Scarborough’s favorite angle of attack against Romney was to make precisely the opposite case; that Romney was a poor vehicle for true conservative ideas. Just months before the election, he said as much with a scathing tweet:
Brzezinski’s story is no different. Whereas six years ago the Morning Joe co-host was quick to criticize then-presidential candidate Romney (she was particularly outraged at the overhyped “binders full of women” controversy), on Tuesday she fawned over him, dramatically characterizing his decision to run in the 2018 midterm as “admirable and courageous.” Brzezinski also downplayed Romney's acceptance of the President's endorsement as "just being polite," and concluded, "We need good people like Mitt Romney."
Scarborough and Brzezinski likely owe their newfound enthusiasm to widespread speculation that as a Senator, Romney could continue the consistently anti-Trump legacy of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. It's anyone's guess whether their newfound appreciation for him will endure beyond the 2018 midterms.