As a conservative you would think that a FOX News host telling you that the latest Republican attempt to defund Obamacare by threatening a government shutdown is “a very destructive, unwise strategy” that “smacks of political mummery”, would give you pause for thought.
For conservative commentator and Washington Times columnist Monica Crowley that was too much to ask for. Despite being told by FOX News host Gregg Jarrett tha evidence from three separate opinion polls indicates that a shutdown would be blamed on Republicans, Crowley apparently believes that this is a price worth paying because “you don’t surrender the nation to socialized medicine just because you think that you can’t win the PR battle.”
Perhaps the most interesting moment came when Jarrett claimed that Boehner and the rank and file GOP actually had little interest in pursuing the defunding of Obamacare. Was it not just the case that they were being “held hostage” by the Tea Party over this, and were attempting to appease the more reactionary elements in their party? Crowley did not seem too interested in addressing that, instead claiming that “50%-60%” of Americans “hate” Obamacare and that “the country is with us on this.”
The moment to switch off for many of us came when Crowley pivoted to that old conservative favorite: the “corrupt media”, and its inevitable plan to spin all of this to make it look like Republicans were being reckless and actively pursuing a shutdown. Ms. Crowley has nothing to worry about: a media, corrupt or not, would not struggle at all at the moment to make the GOP look reckless.
Just one small coda to all this: Crowley seems to be slightly confused. The United States does not have “socialized medicine.” That is what we have here in Britain in the form of our National Health Service. The health system is funded by the tax payer meaning it is free at the point of service for all who need it (even non-British citizens who are injured or hurt while in the UK are entitled to free emergency health care). What America has is a system that preserves the role of the market in providing healthcare, but now protects against excessive charges and premiums, with the government there to subsidize those Americans who cannot afford healthcare coverage.