During a speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition convention today, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) explained that as a recruitment officer for the NRCC, the Republican campaign committee in charge of electing House Republicans, he picked candidates that would stand with the caucus in unified campaigns to slash government, starting with health care.
If Republicans take back the House, Westmoreland said, they would use their new majority to force a budget battle akin to the fight staged by former Speaker Newt Gingrich with President Clinton and shut down the federal government. Westmoreland cautioned that he was fully aware that such a move would close down hospitals for veterans and shut down National Parks. But, Westmoreland argued that taking down the government is worth “the pain” because health reform and government programs are like a “gangrene” that “need to be cleaned out”:
WESTMORELAND: If we hold the line, if we get those courageous men and women to be part of our majority. If we say look, the American people we’re listening to the American people, this is what we’re going to do. If government shuts down, we want you with us. We want you with us. We gotta have you because later on you all will call us and say look I didn’t get my check. Daddy can’t go to the VA. You know, the National Parks are closed. We need to be sure that you are with us because let me tell you this, all Americans need to understand. We need to understand this and I hope you can help share this analogy with people. Just as when you talk about what is going to possibly happen, you know I was unfortunate to cut myself with a chainsaw. I don’t know how many of you have cut yourself with a chainsaw. Chainsaw is not the cleanest instrument if you’re going to cut yourself. [...] He said this is going to sting a little bit and it hurt like crazy. But you know what, if he didn’t clean out that wound, it would have never healed. I would have got gangrene. I would have died from it. And what has happened with this country, we have put bandaids on things that need to be cleaned out. It’s going to take some pain for us to do the things that we need to do to right the ship.
Gingrich, who spoke after Westmoreland, has repeatedly advised that the GOP should follow through with a plan to shut down the American government.