Reason.tv and Reason.com Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie reviews MSNBC host and former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough's new book, The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise, in The New York Times.
If this book is indeed the last best hope of conservatism and America's promise, well, it was nice knowing you. Ultimately, Scarborough offers what Barry Goldwater might have called an echo, not a choice, of a Bush-Obama status quo regarding everything from bailouts to stimulus spending to rendition policy. He unwittingly tells us that conservatives can at best stand athwart history yelling "Slow down," but they can't fundamentally change its direction….
Scarborough is the host of "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, the most consistently engaging morning talk show on cable television. His co-host, Mika Brzezinski, and a stable of regulars that includes the accused plagiarist Mike Barnicle and the John Demjanjuk enthusiast Pat Buchanan (as well as the editor of the Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus) are a genuinely spirited crew who discuss and debate the news of the day with a mixture of conviction, knowledge and humor that is all too rare. Compared with, say, "Fox & Friends," "Morning Joe" is the Algonquin Round Table on steroids, or at least Vivarin.
Yet "The Last Best Hope" is less a serious manifesto (the book quotes the conservative saint Russell Kirk and the mawkish singer Sarah McLachlan) than a breezy bull session. Scarborough argues that right-wingers seeking to recapture Ronald Reagan's box office mojo need to embrace environmentalism (they should be "Going green for God"); acknowledge the permanence of troubled entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare ("Everyone is going to have to give until it hurts"); and pursue a humble foreign policy (except when they don't: "Most Republicans, including myself, were steadfast in their support for the war" in Iraq)….