Scarborough: Republicans Can Come Back in 2010
Tuesday, June 9, 2009 7:08 PM
By: Jim Meyers

Scarborough: Obama's agenda is a "radical economic plan, and it will destroy this country economically in the coming years if we don't have conservatives and some moderate Democrats that are willing to check it."

Former U.S. Congressman Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," tells Newsmax that the "reckless" Republican Party betrayed core conservative values over the past eight years and will need to reform or die.

But Scarborough, whose new book is "The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise," also declared that President Barack Obama's "radical" economic policies could prove "disastrous."

Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter asked Scarborough what was the inspiration for his book.

"You look at Bush-style conservatism, or what passed for conservatism over the past decade, and it's very easy to figure out why we conservatives got out of power," he responded.

"George W. Bush's brand of conservatism and the party's brand of conservatism over the past 10 years meant runaway deficits, the doubling of the debt, a $7 trillion added entitlement program for Medicare - just general recklessness at home and an aggressive foreign policy that would have made Woodrow Wilson blush.

"You had this terrible combination of big government Republicanism at home and this Wilsonian Republicanism abroad, and the mixture was toxic. You add that together and you see that the Republican Party wasn't too conservative, it was too radical.

"Of course the mainstream media still loves to say that if Republicans are going to find their way again, they've got to become more moderate. They've got to become more liberal. But that's just not the case.

"What we need to do is return to first principles. Those are conservative principles of less spending, less government, and less military adventurism."

Walter asked if the Republicans' current troubles began with Bush, or before.

"When I left Congress in 2001, we had a $155 billion surplus," said Scarborough, who represented a Florida district beginning in 1995.

"We were doing pretty well through the 1990s. Even with Bill Clinton as president we balanced the unbalanceable budget. We paid down the national debt. We reformed welfare. We changed the way Washington worked. We strengthened our military. We did a lot of great things in the 1990s.

"Unfortunately when Republicans took control of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, we started spending excessively. We started doing things that were not conservative.

"This is not to suggest that George W. Bush didn't do some things right. He ran a very aggressive war on terror and he should be saluted for that. He wasn't afraid to treat terrorist suspects the way terrorist suspects should be treated. And he appointed two great Supreme Court justices.

"So it wasn't eight years of failure. But on the core concept that defines the conservative movement, which is the concept of limited government, the relationship between the individual and the centralized state, the past eight years, the past 10 years have been very bad for the conservative movement."

How long will it take for the GOP to recover? Walter asked Scarborough.

"The New York Times asked me this last week if it was going to be a generation, and I said it's anywhere between a generation and a year," he said.

"We could come back in 2010. But we have to have a very clear message for voters."

Scarborough said that right now Republicans are not going to inspire conservatives to campaign for and contribute to candidates who seek to take back the House of Representatives and the Senate for the Republican Party.

"The Party either reforms itself or it dies, and I say that because Republicans need conservatives a lot more than conservatives need Republicans."

Walter asked what Scarborough thinks President Obama is doing right and doing wrong.

He said he generally approves of Obama's performance so far on foreign policy. But on the economy, he said: "While I'm critical of George W. Bush, Barack Obama makes him look like a flinty New England cheapskate.

Obama's spending policy, and the deficits and debt they will lead to, is a "radical economic plan, and it will destroy this country economically in the coming years if we don't have conservatives and some moderate Democrats that are willing to check it," Scarborough added.

"So obviously his economic policies I believe in the long run are fiscally reckless, and could be disastrous to this country."

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