Even some Fox News hosts are having trouble containing their skepticism with the Republican demand to defund Obamacare as their price for passing a bill to fund the government.
This morning House Republicans passed a continuing resolution that would continue to fund the government but defund Obamacare. Senate Republicans have criticized the House strategy as foolhardy and President Obama has promised to veto any bill defunding his signature legislation.
Around the time the House was voting, Fox News host Gregg Jarrett was trying in vain to get Monica Crowley to accept that this Republican effort to risk a government shutdown was ill-advised and ill-fated, at times seeming to beg the Fox contributor to see reason.
Jarrett kicked off the discussion by explaining that the public would pin blame for a shutdown squarely on Republicans and wondering why the GOP would pursue this possibly "very destructive" strategy:
Monica, I looked at three different polls today. They all say the same thing. That is, as unpopular -- and it is -- as Obamacare is, they don't want the government shut down because of a defunding effort. And moreover, if it does happen, they by large margins will blame Republicans. They'll side with the president. So why are the Republicans pursuing what is arguably a very destructive, unwise strategy?
Crowley was undeterred, claiming that the "American people hate this thing" ("this thing" being health care reform), only to have Jarrett interject by saying, "they just don't want the government shut down over it." Conceding that a full defunding is "highly unlikely," Crowley nonetheless agreed with the overall strategy, claiming it puts political pressure on Democrats.
Jarrett clearly didn't buy Crowley's analysis. After playing a clip of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explaining that any bill defunding Obamacare is "dead" and a "waste of time," the anchor asked Washington Times writer Charlie Hurt, "where is the upside for Republicans to chase this and, isn't there an enormous downside if indeed, in the end, the government shuts down?" Hurt, who explained that he is "all in favor of defunding or abolishing Obamacare," nonetheless said that the Republican strategy is "not going to work; it's going to fail."
Jarrett continued, saying the entire charade "smacks of political mummery" from conservatives that "may be held hostage" by the tea party:
Boehner didn't want to go this way, so it sort of smacks of political mummery. A group of conservatives who may be held hostage by some tea party constituents and other conservatives decided to go this route so that they can later go back to their communities and say "hey, I tried, I really tried, we had the vote."
But Crowley stayed on the warpath, saying that despite the efforts of the "corrupt media" to spin a possible shutdown to hurt Republicans, "you don't surrender the nation to socialized medicine just because you think that you can't win the PR battle."
Unconvinced, Jarrett pivoted to Hurt, saying that "some within the Republican Party" think that they are "better off... allowing Obamacare to be implemented" because voters who experience it might dislike the results.
Crowley certainly isn't alone at Fox in her support of recent GOP attempts to defund the health care law. Sean Hannity explained on his radio show in August that he was "not gonna support anybody that doesn't vote to defund Obamacare," and labeled the defunding effort "the hill to die on."