The recently released YouTube ad by the National Rifle Association (NRA) has ignited a firestorm of criticism, and some of the heaviest pounding is, surprisingly, coming from the Republican Party.
Vowing to fight to the death over gun control and the president’s newly proposed shake-up of our gun laws, the NRA has put out an ad attacking President Barack Obama, calling him “an elitist” and “hypocrite” who has armed guards for his daughters at their school but thinks other children aren’t worth the same kind of protecting at their schools. (Click on the above video to hear more).
On Wednesday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, conservative host Joe Scarborough didn’t hold back in his disgust, though he was speechless for a few minutes before he let loose.
“What is wrong – what’s wrong with these peopl,e Mika?” he asked incredulously, repeating the phrase three times to his co-host. He was joined by panelist Mike Barnicle and co-host, Mika Brzezinski, who seemed to be feeling the same repulsion for the NRA ad.
“That’s a real ad — that my friend is political pornography,” Barnicle said.
In fact, the entire panel had nothing but harsh criticism for the NRA ad. Someone even said it was one of “the grossest things” he had ever seen in his life. Co-host Brzezinski called the NRA, “out of step and out of the mainstream” and “totally out of sync with what is going on in our society.”
Scarborough then delivered a tongue-lashing to the rifle association, adding that the president’s children had no say in the decision when their father stepped forth and decided to run for president, calling it one of the most bone-crushing, sacrifices any husband or wife could ask of their family. He also said that the minute that decision is made, those children and their entire family had targets on their backs.
This is not the first time Scarborough has stepped away from his party, and after the horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., the conservative morning talk show host, who was a staunch NRA supporter, acknowledged America has to do better with gun control and protecting our children from these senseless violence.
“I am a conservative Republican who received the NRA’a highest ratings over four terms in Congress. I come to you this morning with a heavy heart and no easy answers. Still I have spent the last few days grasping for solutions and struggling for answers — while daring to question my own long-held beliefs on these subjects,” said Scarborough.
“I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children,” added Scarborough. “Friday changed everything. It must change everything.”
It is fascinating to watch Republicans passionately criticize Republicans, for it is a phenomenon we rarely get to witness. Conservatives tend to be as clannish as a cult, and do not lightly, easily or frequently move out of step to the party’s march or go off their talking points no matter what wrong is done. Remember during the 2012 presidential campaign when the GOP Senate hopeful from Missouri, Todd Akin, spoke of “legitimate rape?” (Refresh your memory here).
We had presidential candidate Mitt Romney still putting out a statement of support for Akin, while Mike Huckabee, in defense of his fellow conservative, went on a media blitz of extolling all the virtues of pregnancies by rape. (Read more on this here).
But there may be some ulterior motive in Scarborough’s sudden diluting of his strong conservative views. Any truly smart Republican who has high political aspirations knows the winds of change are here, and survival means not only embracing that wind, but calling for others on your team to do so as well.
Denouncing the extremist elements of the GOP that have taken the party to the brink of lunacy, thus causing their loss in the last election, is a brilliant strategic move. Rebranding and repackaging will not be enough; the change will have to reach the core. Others in the party, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also are calling for change, though I suspect those two are still playing it safe, trying to please all factions of their party.
However, Scarborough is being bold and bodacious with his chant for change, and one may say he can afford to; he doesn’t have as much to lose as Jindal and Rubio, for he is no longer a politician. But could “presidential candidate Joe Scarborough” be a chant we will be hearing somewhere down the road?
What do you think: Do you agree with Scarborough and panel that the NRA ad is "political pornography" and in extremely poor taste or do you side with the NRA?