In Dec. 1993, Bill Kristol, a current Fox News contributor and the editor of the Weekly Standard, issued a now-infamous memo to Republican leaders, arguing that they should “defeat” President Clinton’s health care reform plan “outright” instead of negotiating a compromise. In later memos, Kristol counseled that Republicans should oppose reform “sight unseen” because “there is no health care crisis.” Kristol’s advice “animated” Republicans, who concluded “that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan” was “in their best political interest.”
Throughout this year’s debate over health care reform, Kristol has played a similar role, arguing in the media that Republicans should “kill” reform instead of trying to be “constructive.” In an interview on the Washington Times’ America’s Morning News radio show yesterday, Kristol revealed that he had met with some congressional Republicans on Wednesday night to devise strategy for defeating reform:
KRISTOL: Next week will really be a first crescendo in the big health care debate. And this dinner I was at last night was some Republican members, Senate and House, some staffers, some outside people, trying to think about how to, the best arguments against it and where the politics of this lies. She is really going for it. And I think the issue is Medicare. I mean this will be the largest package of Medicare cuts I think the Congress will ever have passed.
Later in the interview, Kristol distilled the conclusions from the strategy session with congressional Republicans, saying that citizens “need to go see their congressman and say ‘do not vote for this until either we have a chance to read it more carefully, but really more importantly just don’t vote for it because it’s going to cut my Medicare and raise my taxes.'” He echoes the same attack line in his Weekly Standard column today: “There will be no Republican votes for the Pelosi Plan of tax hikes and Medicare cuts. Will there be enough Democratic resistors so the bill is either withdrawn or defeated?.” Listen here:
For the past month, Fox has been claiming that it is not actually a “communications arm” for the Republicans. What do they think about one of their regular contributors advising Republicans on strategy behind closed doors? Will they disclose Kristol’s advisory role when he appears on the air?