Mary Matalin: GOP 'Spooked' by Blame for Shutdown

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 06:28 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Republican lawmakers remain "spooked" by the government shutdown for which they were blamed, veteran political consultant Mary Matalin says.

Matalin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV that the attitude was evident from House Speaker John Boehner's decision to back a "clean" debt ceiling bill, saying he didn't have enough votes to demand compromise.

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"I don't know why the caucus that is half represented by tea party activist types could not agree on either Keystone or military benefits," Matalin said Wednesday.

Story continues below video.



"This legacy is being spooked over the shutdown. It is so absurd. First of all, we didn't lose any seats. We picked up seats in the Senate, and we only lost the medium number, the average number of competitive seats, which is typical for a midterm in the last shutdown. That was light-years ago."

Matalin says the GOP is now looking like it did in 2012.

"We're looking at the numbers, and Romney's beating Obama, but then they just turned out their hard-core base, and our hard-core base stayed home," she said.

"Which they're going to do again, because of what they're seeing as the lack of, I don't want to say leadership, but just who is speaking out is being maligned by our own people. We're eating ourselves alive."

Matalin — who served under Ronald Reagan, was campaign director for George H.W. Bush, and was an assistant to George W. Bush — is author with her husband, James Carville, of the new book, "Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home."

She says the best way for the GOP to appeal to women is to concentrate on core issues.

"This is the worst recovery in history. Millions of people are out of work. Now millions of people have lost their insurance. These are our kitchen-table issues, and the better way to appeal to women, to minorities, to any nontraditional Republican voters is with common sense and good policy," she said.

"We avoid fights, and we take their premises that we're always on the defense, that we're misogynists or homophobes or bigots. It's completely absurd. Women really just want to talk about these economic issues."

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