'This Week' Transcript: O'Donnell and Coons


AMANPOUR: When you say great Republican narrative, I mean, there's been a long and venerable tradition of conservativism in this country. You can go back at least to Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, all of that sort of intellectual conservativism that lasted about 30 years. And people are saying that right now it's really gone to the extreme, people are looking at the Tea Party and saying, "This is not conservativism as we knew it"...

WILL: Which is -- which is...

AMANPOUR: ... "but it's extreme."

WILL: Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley and Bill Buckley's candidate, Barry Goldwater, who is supposedly representing the paranoid...


AMANPOUR: Reagan had moderates on his -- as vice president and in his cabinet.

MORAN: A different Republican Party. Hard times make anxious people do extreme things sometimes. If you look at the Tea Party constitution, if there is such a thing, at Joe Miller in Alaska saying unemployment compensation is unconstitutional, the emphasis on the 10th Amendment, which is a very vague amendment which they want returned power -- power returned to the states, this is going to be a real challenge for the Republican Party going forward. And it's born of this anxiety.

DOWD: Well, all movements in this country start out with people on the extremes. And the success of those movements over time are either -- are when one of the parties co-opts that movement and the tactics and the message is then moderated.

It started -- it was Barack Obama who sits in the White House was the -- was the beneficiary of a very extreme movement that started in -- after the Iraq war, which was very few people were protesting the war. In the end, that became a majority in this country, and Barack Obama got elected based upon that movement.

The conservative movement -- Ronald Reagan was not considered a moderate when he ran against Gerald Ford in 1976. He ran against moderates. He then ultimately mirrored the country and he got elected. All movements start out that way.

AMANPOUR: So you think, then, that what they're saying right now is not going to be what they say if they get elected?

DOWD: No, what I'm saying is, is that if somebody co-opts this movement, which is an anti-Washington, anti-federal government movement, and then -- then takes that movement and then puts a brand of politics on that, that moderates -- and can appeal to younger voters, it will have a huge amount of success in this country.

AMANPOUR: OK. Well, let me ask you, Meghan McCain...

MCCAIN: It's not possible.

AMANPOUR: ... because -- well, you represent younger voters, and particularly younger Republican voters. And in your book, you have talked about the Republican Party, saying that rather than the party of openness and individual freedom, it's now the party of limited message and less freedom. Along with ideological narrowness, an important P.R. battle is being lost. Rather than leading us into the exhilarating fresh air of liberty, a chorus of voices on the radical right is taking us to a place of intolerance and anger.

So radical right?

MCCAIN: I wrote this out of personal experience. I know how I'm vilified on an absolutely daily basis. No matter what the Republican Party wants to think about this Tea Party movement, it is losing young voters at a rapid rate. And this isn't going to change unless we start changing our message.

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