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Scarborough Slams 'Lowest Common Denominator' GOPers Who Are 'Dooming' 2012 Chances

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Friday again berated the 2012 Republican field, decrying them for pandering to "the lowest common denominator in a way that doom conservatives to make gains next year in a race for the White House."

The Morning Joe host also compared Tea Party conservatives to the John Birch Society before backtracking: "...For the record, America, these are the people that Bill Buckley kicked out of the conservative movement in the mid-1960s."



He continued, These are the people that [Buckley] said, the John Birchers, that he said have nothing to do with what I am and what conservatism is."

After guest Peggy Noonan asked if Scarborough was comparing Birchers to the Tea Party, the cable host retreated, "I'm not painting that broad brush over the Tea Party movement at all. I think there are elements, though, that our candidates are focusing on too much..."

The conversation grew out of Scarborough's distaste for one of the recent debates: "And I have great concern when you have people in the crowd, you know, wildly applauding record number of death penalty executions."

Scarborough has put himself on record as declaring GOP candidate Rick Perry as unelectable.

Noonan offered her own warning for the Republicans, linking them to those who impeached Bill Clinton: "...I think the Republican Party could be entering, a sort of, Whitewater/Monica Lewinski moment where they're off on a tear and forgetting how they look and they are forgetting an elemental sense of sense of stability and comportment."

A transcript of the September 16 segment, which aired at 7:17am EDT, follows:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But let's go to parts of this debate, following up what Gene said, that caused me great concern. And I have great concern when you have people in the crowd, you know, wildly applauding record number of death penalty executions. When you even have Pat Robertson years ago starting to have second thoughts about the increasing number of death penalties and wondering whether we're executing too many people too quickly without asking enough questions. I'm telling you, I- I was a Tea Party guy before Tea Party was popular. You can look at my thousands of votes from 1995 to 2001, and you will not find anybody, nobody, other than maybe Ron Paul, that was more small government than me.

You just won't. It is a matter of record. A matter of record. And yet when I was watching the debate the other night and I heard some people applauding the death of a young man without health insurance- or some of the other applause or quite frankly, some of the responses to some things that Rick Perry said that would've got him laughed out of a middle school classroom. I sat there and said who are those people in that room? And where in the hell is my conservative party? Because I will tell you, these people- for the record, America, these are the people that Bill Buckley kicked out of the conservative movement in the mid-1960s. These are the people that he said, the John Birchers, that he said have nothing to do with what I am and what conservatism is.

PEGGY NOONAN: So you think the Tea Party now consists of old Birchite folks? Or Birchite thinking or attitudes?

SCARBOROUGH: I'm not painting that broad brush over the Tea Party movement at all. I think there are elements, though, that our candidates are focusing on too much and they're playing to the lowest common denominator in a way that doom conservatives to make gains next year in a race for the White House.

NOONAN: Well, I don't disagree with you. It's gotten a little bit polar out there. I would say, however, we shouldn't over think this. If you go to a Democratic Party meeting, historically in New York, there's always an old guy in the back who's muttering around saying, "I wasn't a Bolshevik, I was a Menshevik." Do you know what I mean? Some left wing, sort of, fellow. On the Republican side, there's always somebody who's Birchite, or very right-wing in the background or muttering to himself that Barry Goldwater was too liberal.

SCARBOROUGH: But, we don't have one or two- hold on, we don't have one or two people here, we've got Rick Perry who is leading the field right now, saying that Americans should not be able to vote for senators. We've got Rick Perry saying that Social Security's a monstrous lie and that it is unconstitutional. We have Rick Perry saying some pretty remarkable things and still being ahead in the polls. No, listen, I understand about the crack pots muttering in the back of the rooms, I've seen them a thousand times in town hall meetings. NOONAN: On both sides. It's true. ...

NOONAN: Guys, all I want to say is I think the Republican Party could be entering, a sort of, Whitewater/Monica Lewinski moment where they're off on a tear and forgetting how they look and they are forgetting an elemental sense of sense of stability and comportment. '

— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.