Kristol: GOP Should Unite Against Economic Recovery Package Now To Help Defeat Health Care Later

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"Kristol: GOP Should Unite Against Economic Recovery Package Now To Help Defeat Health Care Later"

On Monday night, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol appeared on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business show to discuss conservative criticism of President Obama’s economic recovery plan. “I’m less certain than I was even 4 or 5 days ago” that Democrats would push the stimulus bill through the Senate without GOP support, said Kristol. “I do think it’s now a question.”

Kristol then claimed that “the loss of credibility” that Obama and congressional Democrats could incur from the process of passing the recovery package “really hurts them on the next piece of legislation.” Citing the example of Bill Clinton’s experience in the 90s, Kristol said that a united conservative front against the stimulus now could help them defeat health care legislation in the future:

KRISTOL: But the loss of credibility, even if they jam it through, really hurts them on the next, on the next piece of legislation. Clinton got through his tax increases in ’93, it was such a labor and he had to twist so many arms to do it and he became so unpopular.

CAVUTO: Without a single Republican vote. Without a single Republican vote.

That it made, that it made it so much easier to then defeat his health care initiative. So, it’s very important for Republicans who think they’re going to have to fight later on on health care, fight later on maybe on some of the bank bailout legislation, fight later on on all kinds of issues. It’s very important for them, I think, not just to stay united at this time, though that’s important, but to make the arguments.

Watch it:

Kristol is no stranger to marshaling opposition to affordable health care for every American. In December 1993, Kristol distributed a private strategy document to Republicans in Congress, advising them that they should work to “kill” Clinton’s health care plan. Echoing conservative intransigence today, Kristol wrote that “any Republican urge to help Clinton “do something” on health care “should be resisted“:

The forces advocating reform weren’t prepared for a Republican Party animated by William Kristol’s famous memo, “Defeating President Clinton’s Health Care Proposal,” which darkly warned that a Democratic victory would save Clinton’s political career, revive the politics of the welfare state, and ensure Democratic majorities far into the future. “Any Republican urge to negotiate a ‘least bad’ compromise with the Democrats, and thereby gain momentary public credit for helping the president ‘do something’ about health care, should be resisted,” wrote Kristol.

Apparently, even a fancy dinner with the president can’t stop Kristol from plotting to undermine Obama’s agenda.

Transcript:

CAVUTO: I’ve been actually ignoring this stimulus thing. It’s a fait accompli, it’s going to happen, it could be a waste of money. But I’ve really been focused on what could be the huge and much more expensive enchilada. And that is re-doing, fixing the bank rescue fund and maybe making it a lot bigger. And some of the measures they’re going to take. We’re going to get into the details later on in this show. But that could be really where they go over the top. What are your fears there?

KRISTOL: Well, I mean I have the same fears as everyone. But I would say this, that this is where this thing could really matter. I think they could probably end up jamming the stimulus package through, though I’m less certain than I was even 4 or 5 days ago. I do think it’s now a question. But the loss of credibility, even if they jam it through, really hurts them on the next, on the next piece of legislation. Clinton got through his tax increases in ’93, it was such a labor and he had to twist so many arms to do it and he became so unpopular.

CAVUTO: Without a single Republican vote. Without a single Republican vote.

KRISTOL: That it made, that it made it so much easier to then defeat his health care initiative. So, it’s very important for Republicans who think they’re going to have to fight later on on health care, fight later on maybe on some of the bank bailout legislation, fight later on on all kinds of issues. It’s very important for them, I think, not just to stay united at this time, though that’s important, but to make the arguments. They’ve got, they really have a chance and the American public’s focusing for the first time in a way on what Republicans are saying since the Bush administration’s left office. They’re making pretty good arguments, I’ve got to say. And I think it’s really helping Republicans build up some credibility for the times in the future they’re going to have to go to the American public and try to take on a President who remains popular. But people can distinguish. They can like and respect Barack Obama and think, “you know what? This legislation doesn’t sound too good.”

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