Tags: morris | obama | gop | shutdown

Dick Morris: Obama 'Determined to Embarrass' GOP on Shutdown

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 05:08 PM

By Cynthia Fagen and Kathleen Walter

Political strategist and radio talk show host Dick Morris says the continuing resolution, legislation that allows government operations to continue until regular appropriations are enacted by Congress, is the wrong strategic tool for Republicans to use to stop Obamacare.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Morris spoke about the stalemate over Obamacare that has forced the government to shutdown for the first time in 17 years.

"The Senate and the president are determined to embarrass the House Republicans and have them just fold because they're not willing to make any changes in Obamacare," Morris said.

As Obamacare health insurance exchanges made their debut Tuesday, he added, "The Republicans are missing a beat here. What they should do is they should explain to the public that they want the insurance exchanges to be open today [Tuesday] and ongoing. Anyone that wants insurance can come and apply for it and buy it.

"The only thing they want a delay on is the requirement that makes them do it, that forces them to do it, and I don't think that point has been made clear to the public," he said. "It wasn't clear to me and I follow it pretty closely.

"When the Republicans say they want to delay the individual mandate, they're lapsing into legislative speak and they need to make clear that it is only the requirement that people buy health insurance that they're delaying, not offering health insurance voluntarily to anyone that wants it and the reason the administration is not willing to adjust its position on that is it's worried that nobody will show up. I mean it's the best way you could possibly test how many of the uninsured people want insurance by making it voluntary for a year and see if anybody comes."

Obamacare requires all eligible individuals, including children, to have health insurance. Failure to be insured can result in a penalty fee of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child next year.

Morris, an advisor to President Bill Clinton during the last government shutdown 17 years ago, says Obama has dropped the ball.

"Clinton was all over it. He was on the phone every day to many, many members of Congress. He was constantly meeting with [Newt] Gingrich and [Robert] Dole, the legislative leaders for the Republican Party and they met almost every day. Whereas here, Obama, he not only seems like he's a fan. Not a spectator, just disinterested, but not a player either or a coach. He's somebody that's sitting in the grandstand rooting for his team."

Morris also said Republican tactics could end up hurting the GOP in the long run.

"It was not the right the vehicle. They should have used the debt limit," he said referring to the total amount of money the government is authorized to borrow to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.

"They can use the debt limit both for spending cuts and to delay Obamacare if they don't blow their credibility on this one. And it could end up hurting the Republicans because it could lead people just to say, oh, there they go again and stop them from making a real stand on the debt limit to ratchet back Obamacare.

"If this lasts much longer, it's going to really hurt the Republican Party very badly in 2014. They look unreasonable, stubborn, recalcitrant, and like nothing so much more than sort of confederate government officials in 1865."

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