With threats to shut down the government looming if an upcoming budget resolution includes funding for Obamacare, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace grilled Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint about the plan.
Responding in a way Wallace called “disappointingly diplomatic,” Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard criticized the former U.S. senator’s stand and the GOP strategy.
“I think there are more intelligent and perhaps more ways tactically to fight than simply saying, ‘We’re going to defund all of Obamacare and voting for any continuing resolution that doesn’t fully defund Obamacare is surrender,’” Kristol said. “It’s going to be very hard to fully defund all of Obamacare with President Obama as president.”
Wallace said the strategy was basically a suicide mission.
“This may be the last opportunity to stop it,” DeMint said. “There’s no Republican that I’m aware of who wants to shut the government down. The whole point is we need to fund the government but we should not fund Obamacare, as this is a temporary funding mechanism that’s coming up in September. This is a statement.”
Wallace interrupted DeMint by questioning legislators’ determination to carry out their threats.
“You don’t take a hostage unless you’re prepared to shoot them,” Wallace said. “Are you prepared to shut down the government?”
“If Obama would not accept the funding bill that fully funds the government because it didn’t have his failed law in it, then he would be shutting down the government,” DeMint said. “I’m convinced the more Americans know about Obamacare, the more they’re going to stand with those of us who want to stop it.”
Wallace pointed out that the measure on the table is not just about Obamacare – it also includes sequester, NSA spying and other important funding priorities. He then asked why the party is so divided and why dissention started so early.
“This GOP infighting is taking focus off problems with the law, and putting it on deep divisions within the Republican Party,” Fox News media analyst, Howard Kurtz said. “A lot of mainstream Republicans are upset, even angry at what you might call the bomb-throwing wing of the party for these kinds of threats. … This is feel good politics. It’s a political statement. It makes your base feel good, but ultimately, it disappoints those who are on your side. When you only control one half of the legislative branch, you can’t force your will on the rest of it.”
Watch the exchange via Mediaite here.
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