The Populists and the Grand Old Party

7:20 a.m. E.T.

From “Morning Joe”:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Back in 1994, we got into Congress. We were conservatives but we were also populists and we were constantly doing battle with what we called the “Thurston Howell III wing” of the Republican Party. I thought that wing was dead. It is hard to imagine, listening this morning, again, to Mitt Romney’s statements, that this party, two years after a Tea Party revolution that led to the largest legislative landslide in American history, nominated a Thurston Howell III Republican to be their standard-bearer. It’s just shocking.

MARK HALPERIN: Well, it’s not so much unlike 1994, Joe, because that’s another huge Republican Congressional win that was also fueled by populism. I think there’s no doubt that the Republicans, as they react to what the macro-lessons are for their brand and for the experience of 2012, are going to be looking for leaders who are more populist. It can’t just wait for the presidential campaign because it’s too far down the road. There are lots political battles between now and then and I think they’re going to be looking in somebody like Bobby Jindal, who’s got a lot of strengths, one of [which] is he does have a populist streak, an anti-Washington streak, a reform streak that he’s able to convey and focus on the lives of real people. And, I think what’s so damaging, for a lot of Republicans, about Governor Romney’s comments is, once again, he’s talking in a way that’s narrow and that’s not talking about things in a populist way but more the way you talk if you are at the yacht club with Thurston Howell.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Anti-intellectualism in the Republican Party over the past decade has been growing. That’s another thing Bobby Jindal’s been talking about. That’s got to change. That’s got to change! We not only have to win over Hispanics, we’ve got to win over educated Hispanics, educated African-Americans, educated white people, educated people of all races with PhD’s, an area we’ve been losing for decades.

MARK HALPERIN: And Joe, there’s another issue that I know you think a lot about and have thought a lot about that Huntsman also talked about, which is Afghanistan and ending the war. That’s another populist issue that I think Republicans missed in 2012, where the President was, of course, for winding down the war but you had, in Huntsman and some of the other Republicans who didn’t run, the thought that that was an issue to across the board populists, including a lot of the groups you just talked about. That was an issue that would have surprised voters. That’s one of the things that people criticized the Republicans who ran for [President]: no deviation from the expected orthodoxy. And, if you do that as a party, if you rethink things and you lead, you can cut across voting groups. You can reach well-educated people, less well-educated people, high-income, low-income, if you’ve got an issue that’s bold and brave and you didn’t see that from the Republicans on Afghanistan, on dealing with the banks and other issues where, again, the common thread would be populism.

Watch the video above.

Related Topics: GOP, Mark Halperin, Morning Joe, MSNBC, Populism, 2012 Elections, News, Republican Party, The Page, Video

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