The key bit comes at 2:20. The Free Beacon is celebrating this for Scarborough’s beastmode pro-American rant but that rant is in service to an odd knock on GOP candidates. Why is the party of Reagan seemingly so bearish about America these days, he grumbles? We’ve got an energy revolution happening in the midwest, we’ve got the world’s best universities, we’ve got the Chinese bubble starting to burst. We’re all lined up for a new American century — except, to listen to Republican candidates these days, you’d think it’s “midnight in America,” as Mike Allen puts it.
But it’s not midnight. The Republican message is more that it’s 4 a.m. in America, very dark but on the verge of brightening significantly. Come to think of it, that’s the message of every party that’s out of power in virtually every presidential election cycle. If America’s continuing greatness is a fait accompli driven by technology and economic dynamism irrespective of which party holds power, then the electoral stakes are small. That’s an inspiring message for a No Labels type like Scarborough, not so inspiring if you’re a committed partisan. How do you get the GOP rank and file to turn out for you, never mind swing voters, if the subtext of your campaign is, “We’re America, baby, we’ll be golden no matter what”? Besides, it’s not true that Republican candidates are relentlessly gloomy. Rubio in particular is running on a Reaganesque “morning in America” message; his campaign slogan is “A New American Century,” for cripes sake. And for all the Democrats’ gloom about income inequality and wage stagnation, Hillary will naturally spend the next 16 months trumpeting the strides that America’s supposedly made on both issues under Obama’s leadership. If you don’t counter that by stressing how bad things are, especially on foreign policy, voters will have less of an incentive to hand the White House to the other party next year. That’s politics 101, even in Reagan’s time. Why beat up on the GOP for it now?