Former Bush Speechwriter: GOP 'Wasted Ammunition' on Shutdown

Tuesday, 01 Oct 2013 06:58 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Republicans "wasted all of their ammunition" on shutting down the government when they should have saved it for a fight over the upcoming debt ceiling, says Marc Thiessen, former chief speechwriter for George W. Bush.

"They blew it, OK? … The whole defund-Obamacare fight was a waste of our time and put us in a very, very bad position," Thiessen told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"What we should have done is passed a clean continuing resolution and then gone on the debt ceiling fight and demanded a one-year delay in Obamacare ... which would have seemed reasonable to most Americans," he said.

Story continues below video.

"They've wasted all of their ammunition on these stupid, unwinnable fights when they should've been putting this all on the debt ceiling to begin with," he told Malzberg.

Thiessen, now a syndicated columnist, believes the GOP flunked what he calls "Hostage Taking 101."

"So when the Republicans say that, if you don’t' repeal Obamacare or if you don't defund Obamacare, you don't get us a one-year delay of Obamacare or else we'll shut the government down, the Democrats don't care. In fact, they want a government shutdown. They are where they want to [be]," he said.

"I mean just look at where Obama was this weekend. He played four hours of golf, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid should down the Senate, [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi took off for a romantic weekend for her 50th wedding anniversary. This is not a party in panic."

The Republicans, Thiessen says, have "taken a gun, put it to their own heads and [said], if you don't capitulate we're going to pull the trigger, and the Democrats are saying, go ahead! I mean this is just utter stupidity, what's happening right now on Capitol Hill."

He believes House Speaker John Boehner had wanted to pass a clean continuing resolution without Obamacare cuts or delays, fund the government for another few weeks, and then have a fight over the debt limit.

"Obama can and has allowed the government to shut down and if you saw him in the press conference today, he's attacking the Republicans and blaming them and fighting the PR war," he said.

"He cannot allow the U.S. government to default because the consequences of default would be so catastrophic."

As to the current shutdown, Thiessen believes GOP lawmakers will "capitulate ... They've come down to nothing. So what are they arguing? Why are we doing this? This is just utter, utter strategic stupidity what we're doing right now."

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