Shadegg Won't Endorse Steele's Health Care Rhetoric
Not every Republican, it seems, is entirely comfortable with the aggressive tenor of Michael Steele's attacks on President Obama's health care proposals.
Pressed during an interview on MSNBC whether he agreed with the RNC Chairman that the president's plan on health care and the stimulus were "dangerous and reckless," Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) first attempted to dodge the question and then did not exactly endorse Steele's position.
"Well, those are pretty strong words," said the Arizona Republican before quickly moving on to more comfortable political turf. "I do believe that the stimulus bill was a failed process and it has not done what the president told us it would do. He told us it would stop the loss of jobs and hold unemployment down. He said we would not get to anything close to the 9.5 percent unemployment rate we have now. I do think that what he is doing to health care will, in fact, destroy health care and all of the good things in it that we have right now."
To be certain, Shadegg is one of the few Republican officials who has expressed publicly any ambivalence with Steele's line of attack. Sen. Jim Demint (R-S.C.) who was the first to call health care Obama's Waterloo moment, doubled down on his remarks during a speech on the Senate floor on Monday.
Steele himself, has gone on a bit of a media campaign to drive home the message that Obama is engaging in a dangerous experiment with America's health care system.
That said, Shadegg's remarks hint to a potential fissure within GOP ranks over how strongly the party should oppose Obama's health care reform proposals. While Republicans may hope to "break" the president politically on this issue, it has the potential to blow up in their faces. As one Democratic operative argued, "They're taking their cockiness to a new level but there's silver lining in [Monday's] Washington Post poll. Their numbers haven't moved in six months even with Bush out of the White House."