Joe Scarborough: GOP Must 'Fight Smarter'

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 05:27 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Republican Party must "fight smarter" and look to past GOP victories to map out a successful future, says Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"The first thing we do is we look back and we look back to our heritage . . . when we were winning 49 states. We won 49 states in '72, we won 49 states in '84, we won five out of six presidential elections. We were the center of American politics," Scarborough told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"It was Democrats who were pulling their hair out every four years because they always thought they weren't going to be able to beat us. The fact is, we have to look back to the past, we have to see what worked.

"This is when Republicans win presidential races: it's when they nominate people that are conservative ideologically and moderate temperamentally. And what I mean by that is [Ronald] Reagan, very conservative guy, but he was moderate temperamentally. He figured out how to connect with Middle America."

Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida and author of "The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics — and Can Again," said the GOP has its work cut out to recapture the Senate and White House.

"This is how we do it: We do not by saying, agree with us 100 percent or else we're going to shut down the entire government. The way we do it is we come up with our own alternative to Obamacare," he said.

"We got on the wrong side of this thing strategically. We talked about shutting down the government, we threatened to shut down the government, and the whole debate was framed wrong.

"We've got to fight smarter. We've got to understand that we're running up a hill, and we're running up a hill because we're not only running against Democrats and the Washington establishment, we're running against a news media that supports bigger government when we support smaller government."

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Scarborough said Republicans must strive to find humor in the many prejudices against the party.

"What we've got to do when faced with the preposterousness of all of the biases against us, we've got to laugh. We've got to point it out with a smile," he said.

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"There was somebody that said after [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie won, if [he] wants to prove he's a conservative, he needs to go out today and call President [Barack] Obama a liar.

"To which I said, Ronald Reagan never called Jimmy Carter a liar. The only thing he ever said was, when Carter said he liked taking cold showers in the morning, was a man who will lie about liking a cold shower will lie about anything."

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