Ex-Newsweek Editor Fineman: Romney Appeals to 'Xenophobic,' 'Nativist' GOP Base

Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman appeared on Monday's Hardball to smear the Republican Party as "xenophobic" and "nativist." Fineman lamented that Mitt Romney doesn't have the courage to take on the base, a group he mocked as being "afraid of the world."

Fineman is now the editorial director for the liberal Huffington Post, an outlet in sync with his own left-wing views. Matthews and the journalist discussed Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton who Congresswoman Michele Bachmann connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. Asked why Romney won't take on people like Bachmann, Fineman assailed that the presumptive GOP nominee has "played to the kind of nativist base of the Tea Party. And by nativist, I mean people who are, in essence, afraid of the world." 

Referring to fellow Hardball guest Bob Shrum, who worked for Ted Kennedy, Fineman sniffed, "The Kennedys stood in the Democratic Party for an expanded view of Americans' role and America's role in the world."

The journalist lectured, "The Republican Party is going to cripple itself beyond recognition if they don't quit being xenophobes, which is what they're doing here now."

Fineman, in recent days, has repeatedly lashed out against conservatives. On July 16, he compared Rush Limbaugh to a "werewolf."

A transcript of the July 23 exchange can be found below:


5:52

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Where's Mitt Romney? And I'm talking sheer politics here.  Isn't there a plus- forget Profiles in Courage- isn't there a plus in showing you're a man? That you have a guts- or woman- to have the guts to stand up and say, "You know, I want your vote, but not this kind of vote"?

HOWARD FINEMAN: Well, that would require Mitt Romney to run an entirely different campaign from the one he's run so far. And he's not going to do it. He is playing to- and has from the beginning of the campaign- played to the kind of nativist base of the Tea Party. And by nativist, I mean people who are, in essence, afraid of the world.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

FINEMAN: And Bob Shrum worked for the Kennedys. The Kennedys stood in the Democratic Party for an expanded view of Americans' role and America's role in the world. The Republican Party is going to cripple itself beyond recognition if they don't quit being xenophobes, which is what they're doing here now. That's the larger picture. There's the Uma Thurman question- the Huma Abedin question and then there's a question about the Republican Party's identity.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org