Tags: norquist | cruz | shutdown | plan

Norquist Slams Cruz: He Has No Plan on Shutdown

Thursday, 03 Oct 2013 03:27 PM

By Jim Meyers and John Bachman

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Sen. Ted Cruz has "no plan, no strategy" for resolving the conflict over Obamacare and the government shutdown — and should apologize to the Republicans he misled, low-tax crusader Grover Norquist tells Newsmax.

And Republicans are now "weaker" as a result of Cruz's actions, the party strategist says.
But he believes Democrats may be willing to delay implementation of the healthcare reform act for a year so that its shortcomings won't become evident before the November 2014 election.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

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"Ted Cruz is a very bright, very serious conservative, but in this case and in a couple of cases earlier, he doesn't think through things strategically. If you do something, then what will Obama do in return? What would Harry Reid do in return? When you're playing chess, the other team gets to make a move too," he said.

"Ted Cruz made no effort to get any Democratic votes," Norquist continues. He had all summer to do that. Outside groups that thought Ted Cruz's strategy was a functioning strategy made no effort to get a single Democratic vote. You needed at least five and probably 15 to break a filibuster because the left-wing Democrats would filibuster it.

"The House Republicans admitted they were told if you vote for this, 'I, Ted Cruz, and others will make it go through the Senate and then the president will sign it. It'll be amazing.' And he has no plan, no strategy."

The GOP leadership, on the other hand, did have a plan, says Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose Taxpayer Protection Pledge asks candidates to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases.

"The Republicans have a strategy which was to move the continuing resolution until after the debt ceiling," he says. "So just put a clear CR out for a couple of months and then you negotiate on debt ceiling, you wrap it into the next CR, and it'll all be dealt with together.

"Ted Cruz came in and said, no, no, no, no, no, if you're not for defunding Obamacare on the CR, you're an appeaser of Hitler, you're a coward — ugly name-calling. A lot of Republicans are very unhappy that this was going on.

"Cruz's strategy didn't go anywhere. Cruz pushed all the Republicans out into traffic and then he wandered off. He told them it'd be safe — it wasn't. He told them it would work — it didn't.

"He needs to apologize to all the Republicans who were misled about this strategy that he didn't implement."

But the next time Cruz has an idea, he will be "wiser and more experienced," Norquist believes. "He may check with some other people. 'Hey, I have an idea, what do you think?'

"He may be willing to answer the question, which his staff wasn't, how do we get to where we're going, knowing that the other team, Obama and the Democrats and the establishment press, will be throwing marbles at our feet and lying about what we're doing all the way through it?"

Asked if the GOP should give up on fighting Obamacare for a time and turn to spending cuts and entitlement reform, Norquist says:

"We're looking at a multifaceted set of conflicts with the big spenders. They want to kill our energy independence by killing the Keystone pipeline. They want to stop fracking which is creating jobs and giving us more independence. They want higher taxes. They want Obamacare to come in and turn into single-payer, completely government-run program.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

"The Republicans would like less spending, no Obamacare, a consumer-based and consumer-directed healthcare program, and lots of jobs in energy and with the pipeline.

"So there are many things on the table. There's not one issue to negotiate and there's not one fight. We have three years of living with Obama as president and at least another year of a Democratic Senate.

"Cruz's failed gambit did set us back. We are weaker today because of what Ted Cruz did. That was unfortunate. We need to learn from that, Ted Cruz needs to learn from that. Republicans were misled into picking a specific fight rather than realizing this was a long-term conflict.

"There are lots of options," adds Norquist. "There may be an opportunity to say let's delay much of Obamacare for a year. Why do I think that's possible? The Democrats in the Senate are concerned that they could lose the Senate because next year the rollout of Obamacare will be somewhat disappointing. People will discover they don't get to keep their healthcare, costs go up, it's not the good deal people were led to believe it was going to be.

"If you're a Democratic senator, you might want those disappointments to happen after the November 2014 election. So if you're trying to say what might the Democrats agree to, you have to ask what's in their interest."

Norquist says the lesson to be learned is that the GOP must "fight smart."

"The lesson is to plan ahead. The lesson's to have a plan. Believing in Tinkerbell and that if you want something, the president will give it to you for free, is not fighting. That's not a strategy. That's not wise. That doesn't work.

"We got talked into a sales strategy that was never thought through, could not be articulated, and the next time we all need to learn from the tea party guys and activist groups like Americans for Tax Reform that if some senator comes and says I've got a great idea, the answer is write it down, tell us what it means.

"'I do X and then we win' is not a strategy, it's a hope."

As for what the GOP can hope for in the next three years, Norquist has a short answer: "Take the Senate, hold the House."


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