A defensive Joe Scarborough showed up on Tuesday's Hardball, to tell off all his Republican doubters as he defiantly declared: "I'm more ideologically conservative" than most on Capitol Hill "but because I don't hate the President...that makes me a liberal." The MSNBC host of Morning Joe was pressed to place himself on the ideological spectrum as even Chris Matthews wasn't sure where he stood, which gave Scarborough the opportunity to write-off those who question his conservative credentials as "sad and pathetic" Obama haters.
(Video and transcript after the break)
The following exchange was aired on the February 15 edition of Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Where do you think you are? I think you're sort of center right-right. I'd say you're about two-thirds of the way over, not all the way over. Where would you put yourself? Honestly? Talking to you I think you're not, you're not far right certainly. You're not a liberal. You're not, what I'd call a moderate, which is sort of milquetoast.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well Chris it's, it's fascinating. You've known me since 1994. I went on Hardball all the time in '95, '96, '97 and I was saying the same thing then that I'm saying now. I don't think, if you just want to talk about where the Republican Party is economically, I don't think they're conservative enough. They are talking about slashing 12 percent of the budget but they're not talking about Social Security-
MATTHEWS: Touching 12 percent! They're not slashing 12 percent!
SCARBOROUGH: Touching 12 percent. So I'm telling them you need to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pentagon spending, get out of Afghanistan -- do all of these things that would help us become, become, get out of this debt crisis, and yet my Republican party -- just like they did during the Bush era -- is not stepping forward and making those courageous cuts right now. So I don't know -- I mean, it used to be that, that position would make me more conservative than where establishment Republicans are in Washington, DC. But I guess since I don't run around talking about where the President was born, and because I say that he's a Christian because he says he's Christian, I suppose that's the new measuring stick for what makes you conservative. I guess these days for a lot of people online, and on cable TV, you've got to actually hate the President or [Matthews laughs] -- no, I'm dead serious, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I'm laughing because of the truth of what you said.
SCARBOROUGH: I'm dead serious, Chris. I'm dead serious. It has nothing to do with ideology any more, because I'm more ideologically conservative on budget matters than anybody I know on Capitol Hill, other than Rand Paul, Ron Paul and a handful of people. But because I don't hate the President, because I think he's a good man and I think he's a good father and I just disagree with his policies, I guess by 2011 standards that makes me a liberal. I don't get it.
MATTHEWS: It makes you a great colleague.
SCARBOROUGH: It has more to do with personality than what you believe, and I think that's sad and pathetic and why the Republican Party is where it is right now.
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here