msnbc | December 08, 2012
>>> senator blanche served from 1785 to 1791 . more than 125 years later, south carolina republican congressman tim scott could be just the second in the 220-year history of the senate. there have only been a handful of black senators. roland burris , barack obama , senator braun, and senator bronze. politico says this about tim scott , it's scott's ability to articulate among the poor that put him ahead of the pact. he grew up in poverty and was raised by a single mother. on morning joe it was said this about his republican colleague.
>> i like tim scott because he's a good guy. he doesn't say crazy things. he doesn't attack people with nasty labels. so he's a good guy. keep in mind, however, that -- and i think this is a mistake that the republican party has made. they assume that if they reach out to african- americans , meaning running radio spots on black radio, that's reaching out. that's not. there are policy changes that are going to take place and tim scott is going to have the policies that demint had.
>> joining me now is melissa harris perry which airs on msnbc. melissa , good to see you. could he be transformative in different ways, tim scott ?
>> i don't think he's transformative. the numbers that you showed about the paultry number of americans is because it's difficult to win statewide office. what would be transformative, republican or democrat, south or north or midwest to the west could actually win statewide office. this is much like an appointment and i don't think you would see transformation. on the other hand, it's a good pick for a republican governor out of south carolina ? sure, it's a reasonable pick. i don't think that african- americans are going to be particularly thrilled with a republican southerner. but diversity matters and it would be nice to have an african-american in the senate.
>> governor nikki haley will be appointed says this, i want to make two things clear from the outset. number one, i will not take two things and jim demint and i share. just to the point that you are making there, he goes -- he is apointed. he does go up for election. is the south ready for a black senator?
>> i think we ought to be careful, assuming this is a southern problem, only massachusetts has elected african-american statewide in the u.s. senate and one of the guys in illinois ended up president. it's not just a southern issue and i think we should be really careful about that. that said, certainly he runs from a position of strain if he runs as an incumbent. it gives him a more likelihood to win if he runs for re-election.
>> i was looking at some of his firsts. it wouldn't be the first time he made history. he was the first african-american elected to congress in 114 years. his election to the charleston city council the first time since republican was elected to any office in south carolina since reconstruction. so is he not new to firsts based on that little bit of history. but you did mention barack obama , you did mention that he's the first african- american president to be re-elected and some talk about tim scott and the president of the idea of being post-racial. are we there?
>> certainly not. the idea that we're breathless of the appointment of a black american appointed. also the gubernatorial position which is the other statewide position. look, we elect presidents from a very narrow categories of people. senators, governors, and vice presidents . until we have a substantial number of people as governors, senators, and vice presidents , we're not really looking at a time when our presidency will be dramatically different.
>> and until we don't have to talk about this.
>> don't forget to catch melissa perry as she hosts melissa harris- perry .