Scarborough Rips McCain: 'That Is Not a Conservative'

How is John McCain not a conservative? Let Joe Scarborough count the ways. The Morning Joe host thundered out a bill of particulars today that was nothing less than an indictment of McCain's lack of conservative credentials.

It was Mika Brzezinski's reference to Bob Novak's column of today, questioning McCain's conservatism, that sparked Scarborough's outburst.

View video here.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Let me tell you what a conservative is not:

  • A conservative is not a man that calls tax cuts that George Bush passed that revived the economy "tax cuts for the rich." That is not a conservative.
  • A conservative is not a man who is one of two Republicans standing alone in Washington, DC voting against those tax cuts that every other Republican supported in Washington, DC. That is not a conservative.
  • A conservative is not a man that teams up with Teddy Kennedy to produce a bill that is nothing short of amnesty that would allow 12 million illegal immigrants to attain legal status the day after John McCain's bill and Ted Kennedy's bill becomes law. That is not a conservative.
  • A conservative is not somebody that goes on Tim Russert's show a couple of weeks ago and says if that amnesty bill that would allow 12 million illegal immigrants to become citizens [legal residents] the next day, he does not go on that show and say "yes, I would sign that bill, but don't worry, it's not going to come to my desk." That is not a conservative.
  • A conservative is not a man who says he wants to increase taxes maybe 50 cents per gallon on the American people, trying to push through a bill that the rest of the world won't sign onto. That is not a conservative.
Concluded Scarborough: "I could go on forever and ever."

Note: a chippy exchange between Joe and Mika preceded Joe's philippic. Shtick or real sparks? You be the judge from the transcript and the tape.
SCARBOROUGH: So we have answered the question, is John McCain a conservative. No, no, again I say no.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well now.

SCARBOROUGH: What do you mean, "well now"?

BRZEZINSKI: I just think you over-modulated a little bit. But that's OK, we tone it down, we straighten up and we move on.

SCARBOROUGH: OK Mika, because you really do know what a conservative is. I won't try to tell you who a liberal is, because you've got that one cornered.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, OK, you know what? I totally resent that, and it's actually wrong. But OK, go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH: Well Mika, if you continue to try to tell me what a conservative is --

BRZEZINSKI: I'm not trying to tell you what a conservative is.

SCARBOROUGH: Alright, you're interrupting me every three seconds also. Let me tell you. John McCain, because you brought it up, because you suggested I do not know what a conservative is, let me tell you what a conservative is not.

Aside: I can hear some of our readers already: "Scarborough should know what a conservative is not because he isn't one." This column has often documented the ways that Joe has ingratiated himself with liberal guests. But in correspondence with this NewsBuster, Scarborough has challenged people to identify one policy position he has changed since his days as a conservative member of Congress.

AllahPundit's take: "What’s most impressive is how long, yet still incomplete, the list of grievances is and how effortlessly [Scarborough] calls it up from memory. A testament, surely, to how deeply McCain’s betrayals have seeped into the conservative consciousness"

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.