MSNBC "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with David Gregory" - Transcript
MS. BRZEZINSKI: The Republican Party has certainly found itself in some pretty dire straits. It has lost the White House, several congressional seats, and holds fewer than half of this nation's governorships. It faces an electorate with little faith in its ability to solve our country's biggest problems and has yet to coalesce around its future leadership. So how can and should it regroup?
Joining me now with her thoughts on how to put the "grand" back in the Grand Old Party is Republican Congresswoman from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn.
Thank you very much, Congresswoman, for joining me.
REP. BLACKBURN: Good to be with you, Mika. Thank you.
MS. BRZEZINSKI: It's really good to have you. I think there's a lot of opportunity here for the Republicans. Let me just get your thoughts here in black and white.
"Conservatives and Republicans must admit their focus, message and methods have erred. We were content and reliant with Ronald Reagan's words, yet failed to exercise the energy required to preserve the freedom his revolution earned from one generation to the next. Committed Republican leaders must reassert the relevance of our party to a generation of voters born after 1988. Rather than focus on branding our cause, let us simply pursue it. In that pursuit we will rebuild trust and regain purpose."
And if I could add to that, because sometimes a little timeout doesn't hurt, perhaps a kind of a (sway ?) back ultimately to true conservatism. Do you see that happening?
REP. BLACKBURN: You know, one of the things I think the American people are hungry for is for us to articulate who we are and what we are about, and to do that clearly. And the quote that you just read from the article I posted on RealClearPolitics today, I think what people want to see is action. They want us to pursue being the party of Lincoln, where we talk about self-reliance, where we talk about national unity and freedom, or Ronald Reagan, when we talk about lower taxes, less regulation, individual freedom, strong defense, and then bring that into how it addresses the problems that are before us today.
Can we do that? Absolutely. Has our nation been strengthened by the two-party process? Yes, indeed, it has. Has freedom been strengthened by that? Absolutely, it has. And you know what, Mika? That's what people repeatedly have said to us as I've been on the campaign trail for Senator McCain. You know, let the left lay out its stance on an issue. Let the right lay out their stance. And then we want you to define the problem, say, "This is how we're going to take action," and then solve the problem. The American people are hungry for that type leadership.
MS. BRZEZINSKI: And Representative Blackburn, I wonder who you see at this point -- and, you know, anything can happen in a couple of years' time -- but who are the stars out there? Who do you see leading? Is it Mitt Romney? Is it Mike Huckabee? Is it Sarah Palin, perhaps? Who do you see galvanizing the party and being able to really get the country around the Republican agenda again?
REP. BLACKBURN: You know, the nice thing is the Republican Party has a deep bench. And just as with Sarah Palin being pulled from Alaska to come in on the VP ticket, there are lots of Republicans across the country that can energize bases and energize individuals in their area of the country. And we're going to see that. It may be a Fred Thompson. It may be Senator McCain coming back and bringing some of the energy that was there from his campaign.
MS. BRZEZINSKI: Interesting.
REP. BLACKBURN: You know, you're right. It could be Governor Palin. It could be Governor Pawlenty. It could be --
MS. BRZEZINSKI: I certainly --
REP. BLACKBURN: -- Governor Sanford, you know? (Laughs.)
MS. BRZEZINSKI: Marsha, I do not underestimate Sarah Palin, for sure. Representative Marsha Blackburn, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
REP. BLACKBURN: Thank you so much for being -- for having me on. Thank you, Mika.
MS. BRZEZINSKI: Great.