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Talking Ted Cruz with Joe Scarborough

HH: Morning glory and evening grace, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt, Sacramento edition of the Hugh Hewitt Show. Happy to be broadcasting from our affiliate 1380 The Answer in Sacramento. Joined now by Morning Joe himself, Joe Scarborough. The author most recently of the last best hope restoring conservatism in America’s promise. Of course you can see Joe every morning on MSNBC. Hello, Joe, how are you?

JS: Yeah, I’m great, Hugh. How are you doing?

HH: I’m great, but you’re making me sad, Joe. [laughing]

JS: Why? Am I making you sad?

HH: Your—[laughing]

JS: For the same reason I’m making liberals sad because I said this morning that I loved Dick Cheney and I wasn’t ashamed of it.

HH: No.

JS: I go for both sides every day, Hugh!

HH: I know you do, but I’ve got to play for you something that said yesterday that I had a great time with on yesterday’s show. Roll the tape, Adam.

JS: “Have you seen what Ted Cruz is doing?”

MB: “Yes. Ah,”

JS: “He’s going cra–he’s just going crazy on Republicans. It makes me said when Republicans say bad things about other Republicans.”

MB:“We could start there. . .”

HH: Joe, you went on to attack him! [laughing]

JS: [laughing]

HH: You’re making me said, Joe.

JS: I’m obviously being sarcastic when I talk about Republicans saying bad thing about other Republicans, but when Ted Cruz called Tom Coburn a wimp, and I seen people like Tom Coburn fighting for 20 years, Ted Cruz has been fighting for 20 minutes. Okay? It just kind of bothers me. So–

HH: Now, Joe, let’s engage on this because, first of all, yesterday you said that, that Ted, for whom I have a great amount of respect as I do Senator Coburn, you said that Ted had alleged that Coburn was part of the surrender caucus, of course, Senator Cruz didn’t say that his Chief of Staff did and distanced himself and he rebuked his Chief of Staff, but you know, they are going to do that and Tom Coburn doesn’t, he doesn’t object to the hammers flying around verbally. Why do we get this exercised over this stuff? There having a debate about tactics not about ends.

JS: Well, I, I do actually think it matters. I think tactics matter. I think if you probably get Ted Cruz and Tom Coburn and Mitt Romney and you got a lot of the Republicans in the room, same room they probably all agree—would all agree on the end that Obamacare doesn’t make a lot of sense, but tactics matter. I mean, you know, that’s something that I found out and I know people hate when I talk about it, but we shut down the government in ’95 and ’96. We did a lot of things that helped re-elect Bill Clinton. We had Clinton on the ropes. In April of 1995, the guy was having to hold press conferences saying that he was still relevant because the constitution made him relevant. We overstepped not ideologically, we overstepped rhetorically. We overstepped in a lot of ways that these guys are overstepping now, but our candidates did in 2012 and it hurt us with swing voters and we helped re-elect Barack Obama, I think, in 2012 and we helped re-elect Bill Clinton in 1996 with unforced errors. So, it’s how you—you know, Ronald Reagan, there’s a famous line in, in David Stockman’s book, The Triumph of Politics, where they go back for more cuts and Regan steps back and he goes, guys, guys, I don’t wear the black hat.

HH: Well, I agree with that–

JS: There is a better way to do this—

HH: I, I, will agree with you on some things. For example when Rand Paul when after Chris Christie as King of the Bacon, I thought that was a low blow and absolutely out of order. On the other hand, Ted Cruz asking Diane Feinstein which other parts of the Bill of Rights are subject to legislation by the Senate with regards to their limits. I think that’s fine constitutional lawyering. I think Ted Cruz may be the smartest Senator, Joe Scarborough. I mean, you know his pedigree. He’s argued 9 times in front of the Supreme Court. He’s a very successful litigator, brilliant lawyer, Harvard, Princeton, you name it, he’s, he’s just not gonna back down and we need some of that in our party.

JS: Well, we certainly need some of it in party. We also need people that understand, not only the Constitution and understand how to be conservative, we need people that understand how to win elections in the I-4 Corridor, how to win elections in the suburbs of Philadelphia, how to win elections in McComb County. We need, listen, Hugh! We’ve got to win in 2016 or else we’re facing 8 more years of Hillary Clinton. You about the Constitution as well as anybody, better than probably anybody on radio or TV. You understand Heller is 5-4 right now. The abortion cases are 5-4. Most federalism cases are 5-4. We have lost the White House for 8 years. We can’t afford to lose it for 8 more years and I want a candidate that’s not only smart but also that can appeal to the type of voters that you know Reagan won. Reagan won 49 states. Nixon won 49 states. We won 5 out of 6 presidential elections until ’92 and then we lost 5 out of 6 popular votes since 1992.

HH: Now, Joe, I worked in Reagan’s White House Counsel’s office in the same office as Chief Justice Roberts and we reviewed speeches where the President made principled arguments about first principles and he would go as Ted Cruz as Rand Paul, although I didn’t like Christie’s shot. He makes very principled arguments. I disagree with DNSA. Most of our smart guys, Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz are going to crosswise with us sometime, but they are not go along to get along guys like, but so

JS: I don’t want to them to not go along to get along guys. Are you telling me that Ted Cruz has the same demeanor about him as Ronald Reagan?

HH: Actually, he does.

JS: Do you think as Ted Cruz?

HH: I have spent a lot of time with Ted at dinner, talking, with George Bush at a dinner that the Alliance Defending Freedom put on and I came away thinking he has that same kind of charisma, easy affability and smart, smart, smart. Now, I think your business, your friends, not you, but your friends, at MSNBC try and edit the tape to make Ted Cruz look like bomb thrower, but he’s not. He’s just a smart Constitutional scholar.

JS: Listen, I’ve said this on TV. I’ve said it on radio. I ‘ve said it for 20 years, I’m about conservatives winning. I’m about conservatives winning before I’m about Republicans winning. It’s 2 different things. My concern with Ted Cruz, my concern with Marco Rubio, whom I’ve known for a long time and I like, when those guy go out and start talking about shutting down the government to defund Obama care, that’s nonsense. It’s absolute nonsense. It’s also snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Thirty-four percent of Americans, only 34% of Americans support Obamacare right now. You look at the President; he had to put off the employer mandate for a year. We’ve—we have got the President on the ropes and, you know what? Maybe my world view is shaped too much by the mistakes we made, that Newt made, that guys like myself made and, yes, Tom Coburn, in earlier days made. We’re we let Bill Clinton off of the ropes.

HH: I think, I think—yeah!

JS: Obama off the ropes.

HH: You got where I was going on my outline. Fight’n the left, we not – I’m not persuaded they are doing the right thing. I actually, I kind of agree with Fred Barnes and where your going which is your giving away the issue in exchange for a box canyon in which you are going to getmassacred because the mass media is going to stand up there and throw rocks on you. Most of it coming from your network, but not all of it, and they are just going to crush the Republicans if the government

JS: But, you know, you know, Hugh,

HH if the government shuts down 5 minutes.

JS: You know, you know, Hugh, you keep talking about MSNBC. The fact is, Ronald Regan dealt with a hostile press. You know. You worked there. Was the press ever any more hostile than ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, The Washington Times, The Washington Post in the 1980s before—

HH: Joe–

JS: [inaudible]

HH: Joe—

JS: Hold on a second! Hold on a second!

HH: Joe–

JS: It was a monopoly against Republicans, against conservatives–

HH: Joe, on his worst day

JS: Reagan still figured out how to win.

HH: Ah, ah

HH: Who hated, who hated

HH: On his worst day Sam Donaldson would be the nicest guy except for you on your network. Your network is so anti-Republican, it’s an amusing source of material for me, but that’s not the point. The point is our guys may have disagreements. I just want to know that on your side of the desk you realize that folks like Cruz and Rubio and Rand Paul and some of the younger members on the Congressional side like Tom Cotton are really, really smart. It’s not because they’re dummies, it’s because they are

JS: Nononono!

HH: impatient

JS: Listen, I don’t think they’re dumb. By the way, I love Mike Lee, ah, and, I love Marco. I got to tell you I personally believe Marco has taken some bad advice. I don’t want him to run in 2016. I’d like him to get some more experience. I think sometimes some of the decisions he’s made—I think is based more on running in 2016 than growing into being the conservative leader for the next generation. I think Ted Cruz is, is right now more interested in headlines than he is in buckling down and figuring out a way to advance conser—the conservative agenda in the United States—

HH: When he engaged Diane Feinstein, did he do the right thing on the Second Amendment?

JS: Well, yeah, but he was—he, he spoke as if the Second Amendment was, that—as if the Second Amendment because of Heller was could not be questioned—that, that far as—that cannot be—that there couldn’t be limits to the Second Amendment.

HH: No, he spoke as though Diane Feinstein treats the Second Amendment as disposable but does not treat the First Amendment as disposable or at least that parts with which she agrees.

JS: But – I think [talking over each other]

HH: And I think [talking over each other]

JS: I think that’s fair. I mean, I think that fair that liberals of long treated the First Amendment like it couldn’t be limited and conservatives have treated the Second Amendment as if it couldn’t be limited, and if you read Heller, that’s just not the case.

HH: What we need though—

JS: It like if you read any First Amendment, if you read any First Amendment decisions by the Court, they are all subject.

HH: We just need, we just need fighters who make arguments not—they don’t need go low like Rand Paul did with Chris Christie. I think Chris Christie made an excellent argument about Rand Paul, you’re and internationalist, you’re a strong military guy, you know where they disagree and they don’t have to get personal about this stuff, but we need arguments, Joe Scarborough. We do not need to

JS: But we

HH: lay down.

JS: We need fighters. We don’t need to lay down. We also though, it’s extraordinarily important that we figure out how to win in 2016. We figure out how to beat Hillary Clinton. We figure out how to make appointments of the Supreme Court for the next 8 years.

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    Hugh Hewitt
  • Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor, and broadcast journalist. A proficient blogger, Hugh Hewitt has one of the most visited political blogs in the U.S.

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