Joe Scarborough, former congressman from Florida and co-host of MSNBC's agenda-setting wake-up show Morning Joe, has protested, kindly and loudly (he is kind and loud), when speculation arises about his presidential ambitions. He points out that MSNBC is not the platform a conservative would use to build street credentials among his base. He insists he enjoys his current job, turning down entreaties from Republicans to run for Senate by noting that he has more influence as a broadcaster than as a member of the saucer cooler.
Nonetheless, a studio apartment industry has arisen of conservatives who think that Scarborough might just be the type of Republican who can be successful in the future. The chatter was kickstarted in 2009 when Christopher Buckley, who, like Scarborough, fashions himself an unorthodox Republican, took the time to read Scarborough's latest book (which has words like "Restoring" and "America's Promise" in its title") and found it to be ... pretty darn good. Former Bush/McCain image maven Mark McKinnon seems to be already on board.
It's time to stir up some trouble. First, put yourself in the framework of a Republican in 2014 or 2015. Assume, of course, that President Obama has been re-elected and the economy is enjoying a renaissance of sorts, but the black plague of deficits is restraining growth. Assume that the culture-war wing of the GOP has lost considerable influence. Assume that a revanchist foreign policy is no longer in vogue.