No one can argue that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough has been among the sharpest critics on the shortcomings of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But he isn’t the only conservative member of the media to make this case. And yet, it’s Scarborough’s relentless criticism that has put him on the receiving end of a firing squad from fellow conservatives.
In short, they think he went too far…
“The mismanagement of this campaign has been mind boggling,” Scarborough said today on Morning Joe, the latest in a long line of critiques. Last week, Scarborough said Romney should have “kept his mouth shut” regarding the Libya incident, wherein a U.S. ambassador was killed. Romney had issued a statement condemning President Obama‘s response to it.
In comparing the convention speeches of Romney and Obama, Scarborough wrote in Politico, “while Obama said nothing new, he said it much better than when Gov. Romney said nothing…” In a separate column, he said Romney “refuses to stick his neck out and take a stand on the critical issues of our time.”
Scarborough isn’t the only one throwing barbs from the right at the Romney campaign. On the Libya incident, FNC’s Brit Hume said on Fox News Sunday that Romney “could have waited” to comment. But more importantly, Hume called it a “ludicrous overreaction” in the media when Romney was eventually proven to be ” the mark.”
Radio host Laura Ingraham, meanwhile, has also engaged in Romney campaign bashing. She recently questioned the staffing of his campaign. The conservative WSJ editorial board criticized the candidate’s “vagueness” and the publication’s conservative columnist Peggy Noonan wrote today that Romney’s campaign is “not yet right.” Last week, she too, said Romney was in the wrong: “I was thinking … in times of great drama and heightened crisis, and in times when something violent has happened to your people, I always think discretion is the better way to go.”
Over at The Daily Caller, Matt Lewis thinks the Romney campaign is “not ‘doomed,’ but it is in deep trouble.” RedState‘s Erick Erickson wrote that “the very simple truth is that Mitt Romney has failed to close any deal with the voters and his message is so muddled no voter really knows what they are getting.” WaPo‘s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin voiced a similar sentiment but not quite as harsh as some of the others. “[I]t’s time for him to seize the moment. That requires Romney to sharpen and beef up his message,” she wrote.
The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol is also among the Romney critics. “[A] Romney victory isn’t going to happen magically,” he wrote in one article, adding that for Romney to win the election, he must “fix his campaign.”
And yet it was Scarborough who got the blow back.
At National Review Online on Saturday, Jonah Goldberg and Mark Steyn characterized Scarborough’s “kept his mouth shut” comment as “If Only Mitt Would Stop Preventing Us From Doing Our Jobs…”
Then, as is par for the course, a Twitter fight broke out on Saturday night.
“What a joke,” Scarborough tweeted to Goldberg and Steyn. “[…]Mark Steyn is spinning wildly for a breathtakingly stupid political move by Mitt Romney. Very funny stuff,” he said.
“I mean you do know Obama is president right?” Goldberg replied.
“Romney screwed up. It’s that easy,” Scarborough said. “I also said the President’s policy should be scrutinized. But here, stupidity reigns.”
In the end, they agreed to disagree, as summarized in a humble-brag retweet by Scarborough.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) September 16, 2012