Bill Kristol: Shutdown 'Was a Minor Derailment' for GOP

Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 01:16 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Conservative commentator Bill Kristol Wednesday dismissed the government shutdown as "a minor derailment" for Republicans that would be "forgotten in a month."

"It was a minor derailment. It's going to be forgotten in a month. It's not going to make a difference a year from now," The Weekly Standard editor said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"There is a totally ridiculous amount of hysteria among Republicans in Washington, among donors across the country," he continued. "They didn't like the shutdown. I didn't like it much, either. The Republican tactics left something to be desired," he said.

But he said Republicans lawmakers could turn it all around if they would just put forward a positive agenda of reform and stop the intraparty bickering.

"The biggest danger politically is the establishment Republicans and the insurgent Republicans going at each other," Kristol said. "If they can get a positive agenda, an awful lot of Republicans could get behind it."

Although he disagreed with the strategy of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and tea party conservatives who sought to tie a defunding of Obamacare to a stopgap spending measure, he said it was Republican leaders who really failed the party by not working to find a better solution.

"I'm more sympathetic here to the people who did the derailment," he said. "I think leadership failed, in the first place, by not fighting earlier on in an intelligent way," Kristol said.

Kristol also cited the failed launch of the Obamacare website as one big reason the 16-day government shutdown will soon be forgotten.

"It is appropriate to fight Obamacare, as we are now learning. Two months from now, I believe the minor derailment of the shutdown will look like nothing compared to the train wreck of Obamacare," said Kristol, a Republican who was chief of staff to former Vice President Dan Quayle during the George H.W. Bush presidency.

Kristol said overall he's more concerned about the standing of the United States around the world, the status of military funding, and the U.S. economy more than any fallout from the government shutdown.

"What I'm worried about are the unbelievable cuts in defense that are going to hurt us around the world. I'm worried about Obama administration policies mostly that will hurt the economy," he said.

Related Stories:

Orrin Hatch: Democrats Wanted Shutdown to Blame Republicans
Despite Setback, GOP Has Impressive Budgetary Wins

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