On Morning Joe today there was a good debate about debate, political gamesmanship and the role of government in our lives and in the economy. The guests were Harold Ford, Mark Halperin, David Gregory, Mark McKinnon and Chuck Todd. Scarborough and Mika started debating the House vote yesterday that passed an extension of the payroll tax cut along with an agreement to go forward with the pipeline from Canada. Before this debate there was talk about the Republican primary and what's going on with the Republican base. Romney is being framed as a moderate, while Gingrich is being framed as a conservative warrior. There was also talk of Huntsman and how he could rise to take the lead. Scarborough suggested that Ron Paul can show well in Iowa and NH, but Barnicle quickly said Paul can't win. Oh well, that's it for Paul.
Mika believes that Republicans are blocking Obama just to block Obama and ruin his chances of reelection. Mika is calling for compromise. McKinnon talked about the No Labels push to help congress get along and compromise. Scarborough agreed with McKinnon, but Scarborough believes that the pipeline inclusion is a move toward compromise and that Democrats, especially Harry Reid, are blocking compromise. Reid appears to be doing the veto work for Obama who opposes agreeement on the pipeline at this point. Democrats want a clean bill that extends the payroll tax cut and pays for the cut by raising taxes on the rich. David Gregory and Chuck Todd both said that one of the main issues going into 2012 is the role government will play. Ron Paul's popularity is due to a Republican base shift which wants to limit the power of government, lower taxes and remove job-killing regulations.
It was all good fun. Scarborough said he and Mika are showing the viewers what the debate looks like. Despite Scarborough's praise a couple of months back of FDR and Big Government actions to create jobs, he is now promoting free market principles. That's good -- they need someone on Morning Joe to articulate the classical liberal worldview. I believe the classical liberal worldview will win out in 2012, although conservatives are claiming the worldview for themselves. Where Republicans, other than Ron Paul, will articulate the worldview then govern in ways opposite the worldview, if history is any indicator, a part of the public is serious about limiting government power. It remains to be seen if voters realize that Gingrich is a progressive just like Romney. If they do, then Ron Paul will do well. I have no idea where Huntsman is on classical liberal principles. I wish he would spell it out more clearly. There's something timid about Huntsman that causes suspicion.