Carl Bernstein: Obama’s ‘Great Contribution’ Might Be to Help Make the GOP ‘Responsible’

Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein insulted conservative Republicans during an appearance on Thursday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC. Responding to a New York Times opinion piece that likened the current GOP to the Republican Party of Joe McCarthy, Bernstein actually suggested that President Obama may be the one to moderate the GOP: “[T]he great contribution of Obama might be to help create a responsible Republican Party in the end.”

Co-host Joe Scarborough asked for an explanation, so Bernstein elaborated on how the president could achieve that end: “By what we're seeing now and the rejection of the Tea Party and the realization that you have to have a mainstream party and that Obama has made monkeys out of this wedge that is now on the defensive.”


It’s too early to say the Tea Party has been rejected, as Tea Party sentiment remains strong all across the country. And are Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio part of the “wedge” that Bernstein called “monkeys?” Mr. Bernstein should be careful: using a term like that against brown-skinned politicians might sound like a "dog-whistle" racial comment to some MSNBCers. [Oh, that's right, that only applies to Democrats.]

It’s horribly patronizing to suggest that Republicans need a Democratic president to help make them "responsible." It’s even more insulting to say it would be a “great contribution” if Obama were to moderate the GOP by making monkeys out of them. No doubt that some Republicans wish they could help to create a fiscally responsible Barack Obama. That would be their “great contribution” to the country.

Below is a transcript of the segment:
 

JOE SCARBOROUGH: All right, so go ahead, Mika, you want to read –

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: "The Cry of the True Republican" by John Taft?

SCARBOROUGH: Yep.

CARL BERNSTEIN: We're gonna go with that.

BRZEZINSKI: “This recent display of bomb-throwing obstructionism by Republicans in Congress evokes another painful historically embarrassing chapter in the Republican Party – that of Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose anti-Communist crusade was allowed by Republican elders...”  

SCARBOROUGH: Guys, guys – hold on. Joseph McCarthy.

[ding]

SCARBOROUGH: Okay, go ahead.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, only when you do it. Okay – “...whose anti-Communist crusade was allowed by Republican elders to expand unchecked, unnecessarily and unfairly tarnishing the reputations of thousands of people with red scare accusations of Communist affiliation. There's more than a passing similarity between Joseph McCarthy [ding] and Ted Cruz [ding]. The Republican Party survived McCarthyism because ultimately its excelled cause – it’s excesses caused it to burn out and eventually party elders in the mold of my grandfather were able to realign the party with its brand promise. The Republican Party is, or should be, at long last about decency. What a long way we have yet to go.”

SCARBOROUGH: Carl?

BERNSTEIN: It’s like the Democratic Party of segregation. It’s the same thing, and what the great contribution of Obama might be to help create a responsible Republican Party in the end.



SCARBOROUGH: How's that?

BERNSTEIN: By what we're seeing now and the rejection of the Tea Party and the realization that you have to have a mainstream party and that Obama has made monkeys out of this wedge that is now on the defensive.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, that's a good point. That’s another way of looking at it.
 

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.