MSNBC's Jonathan Alter Spins Cruz's Message: 'Extremism Is Good'

MSNBC journalists on Monday reacted predictably to Ted Cruz's announcement that he is running for President. Former Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter summed up the Republican's vision by comparing Cruz's 2016 bid to Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign. Connecting the two, Alter concluded, "So, that's the Ted Cruz message, 'extremism is good.'"  

Regarding the Texas senator's agenda, the MSNBC panelist marveled, "He pushes all the buttons he can. Abolish the IRS. Not reform the IRS, abolish it. This is radical, political material." 

Despite his critique, Alter also offered a few compliments: 

JONATHAN ALTER: There is a powerful instinct for insurgency in the modern Republican Party. Even though in the past they tended, except in 1964 and arguably in 1980, to give it to the more mainstream Republican candidate, they do have this tradition of great strength in their conservative base. 

Fellow guest Beth Fouhy, a senior editor at MSNBC, praised Cruz's speech as "masterful" and technically beautiful." However, she also minimized, "He definitely speaks a great message to the base. I think he is a very base-oriented candidate." 

Twenty nine-year-old MSNBC reporter Luke Russert smeared Cruz as only running for money. He tweeted, "Cruz will exploit the free media coverage better than anybody else. Grow the brand among the ultra conservative advocacy wing---get paid." 

A transcript of the March 23 segment is below: 

10:53

BETH FOUHY (MSNBC senior editor): Well, my take away, initially, is that it was masterful. Technically beautiful. He definitely speaks a great message to the base. I think he is a very base-oriented candidate and that's not what the Reince Priebuses of the world, head of the RNC, is looking for over the long term. 

...

JONATHAN ALTER: You know, this was a really strange combination of John Lennon and Barry Goldwater. 

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Well, he kept saying imagine, imagine. Right? 

ALTER: "Imagine all the people." But the real question is is this 1964 when the Republican Party decided it would go with its most extreme candidate? Remember, Barry Goldwater said that year "extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." So, that's the Ted Cruz message, "extremism is good. Red meat is good." He pushes all the buttons he can. Abolish the IRS. Not reform the IRS, abolish it. This is radical political material. And we will see how it plays. I wouldn't assume that it doesn't. 

There is a powerful instinct for insurgency in the modern Republican Party. Even though in the past they tended, except in 1964 and arguably in 1980, to give it to the more mainstream Republican candidate, they do have this tradition of great strength in their conservative base. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential MSNBC Video Jonathan Alter Ted Cruz
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