Daily Caller's Matt Lewis: Coulter And Limbaugh "Prosper" From Extreme Rhetoric But The GOP And Conservative Movement "Suffer"
Conservative Pundit Calls On Others To "Call [Right-Wing Media] Out" For Their Rhetoric, But Is "Not ... Advocating Being More Moderate"
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From the January 26 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
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MATT LEWIS: And Too Dumb To Fail, if you want to know what it's about, it's essentially, if you're a pundit or if you're a politician right now, running in a primary especially, if you say something stupid or fringy, you will go up in the polls. And so what we have, it's sort of like the too big to fail phenomenon. You have these moral hazards and perverse incentives. But collectively the conservative movement suffers. And I go back to what Robert Draper was just talking about. I think that right now you have Ted Cruz and Donald Trump both making similar arguments. Ted Cruz thinks there's all these phantom evangelicals who are staying home, not going to the polls. Donald Trump wants you to believe that there are all these working class, white, Reagan Democrats who are going to turn out and vote for Republicans. And maybe they will this time. But I think if we go that route, if conservatives go that route in the face of all the demographic changes within -- if we double down on working class, white, old, rural voters solely -- I don't think we should write them off, but you can't win an election.
JOE SCARBOROUGH (HOST): But Matt, I want to talk about the perverse incentives. If you are in a gerrymandered district you get no credit for working with the other side and trying to actually make something happen. You get credit for standing on the fringe and screaming. Those are the perverse incentives in the House. These people aren't stupid. They're doing what they think they need to do to get reelected.
LEWIS: It's smart.
SCARBOROUGH: If you are on talk radio, forget nuance. You're going to get more listeners by going as far out to the right --
LEWIS: Absolutely. But when Ann Coulter says --
SCARBOROUGH: -- as humanly possible and say stupid, stupid, stupid things that would get Republican candidates defeated but makes you millions and millions of dollars.
LEWIS: Absolutely. When Rush Limbaugh calls Sandra Fluke a slut --
SCARBOROUGH: If you are on cable news prime time, the further right you go, the stupider you are, the harsher you are, the more people -- you're going to get a fringe. You're not going to get elected, but you are going to get a fringe. But you're going to make millions and millions and millions of dollars. The same holds true for the very, very, very stupid people on the left that have been doing it for years. Those are the perverse incentives.
LEWIS: Yeah. It's a smart business decision to say inflammatory things.
SCARBOROUGH: It is a great business decision.
LEWIS: Absolutely. But when Ann Coulter talks about rag heads or when Rush Limbaugh calls Sandra Fluke a slut, they maybe -- they benefit, right? They prosper. Guess who suffers? The conservative movement and the Republican Party, and somebody needs to call them out on it. But there are no adults left to do that. And I think that Rush Limbaugh was the one guy who had the moral authority on the right and the juice that he could have called out Donald Trump for some of his things early on. I think he abdicated that responsibility.
SCARBOROUGH: Why didn't he?
LEWIS: I think he abdicated that responsibility. He was the only guy. Because now -- in the old days --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (HOST): Explain why.
LEWIS: Because I think he is not that interested in policing the right. I think he wants ratings and I think that he was -- I think part of this was --
LEWIS: These talk radio hosts secretly thought that Ted Cruz would benefit. They really like Ted Cruz. And I think Trump was sort of a stalking horse the whole time. That's part of it.