NRLC Interview - Joe Scarborough

Another of the featured speakers at the NRLC this weekend was Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and author of The Right Path. (Which Ed reviewed in a previous interview that Scarborough gave us.) Joe delivered a well received stem winder on the current state of the GOP and the path to a lasting majority, after which he hosted a panel of “First in the Nation” campaign strategists. These included Michael Biundo, who worked for Rick Santorum, Andy Demers from Ron Paul’s presidential campaign team, Jim Merrill from the Romney team and Paul Young who worked for Rick Perry in 2012. He also did a book signing and came to visit everyone in the press room both before an after his scheduled events.

Joe has frequently spoken well of Hot Air, and he agreed to sit down for a 15 minute interview before heading back out of town. The video is below, followed by a few of his answers. (It’s simply too long to do an entire transcript, sorry.)

On the 2014 crop of GOP Senate candidates:

I think we’re doing well. I think we learned from some of the excesses of 2010. I think mostly my critiques of the past four years, six years, of Republican candidates hasn’t had as much to do with ideology, it’s to do with whether they were amateurs or not. We’ve done a lot of really dumb things. Harry Reid.. not only should he not be running the Senate right now, Harry Reid should be back in Nevada. He should have been retired. We’ve nominated some really weak candidates in the Senate, we’ve done well in the House, and if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot I think we’re going to take the Senate back.

On the GOP’s chances in 2016:

I think we remain the party that’s fiscally responsible, and we can win again. Younger voters are becoming more libertarian. I’m hopeful about the Republican Party and I’m hopeful about this country…

Freedom, lower taxes, the federal government getting out of small business”s way… that helps an 18 year old Latino voter in South Central LA as much as it helps a hedge fund broker in Greenwich, CT. In fact, I believe it helps the 18 year old Latino voter in South Central LA more than it helps the hedge fund broker in Greenwich because crony capitalism rules in Washington DC and the hedge fund broker is going to be taken care of. I believe that. But if we nominate candidates that don’t believe that, who believe in “the 47%” then we’re going to lose elections.

The inevitable question. Was he in New Hampshire because he’s “testing the waters” for a presidential run, as some have suggested?

When I do things, whether it’s running for Congress or doing our show, I do it 100%. I wake up at 4 in the morning, I do my show, a lot of times I go until 10 or 11 o’clock at night. Right now I’m not going 100%. If I were running, you would know that I was running whether I announced it or not. I’m just not doing it right now. I’m keeping all options open. People have been asking me from the national Republican Party since 2004, including running for Senate. It’s something that happens every two years. I keep all options open because I absolutely love being in Washington. It’s the best job I ever had. I make a lot more money doing the job I do now, I meet a lot of great people, I have a lot more freedom. You don’t have news people poking and prodding you all the time. But still, I loved being in Congress… I loved feeling like I was making a difference.

We covered some other things, and as usual, Joe had plenty of opinions to share. There’s an interesting part in there about why the GOP needs to win back voters like Colin Powell. (Not to nominate him, but to win their support at the polls.) The audio isn’t perfect because we were set up right next to a radio station’s rig and the place was packed, but it sounds good enough for podcasting.