10/09/2013 10:56 am ET Updated Oct 10, 2013

Phil Gingrey: Debt Limit Fight A Chance For A 'Braveheart' Moment

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said Tuesday he thinks Republicans should have a "Braveheart" moment over the looming government spending limit -- two years after calling for a "Braveheart" moment over payroll tax cuts.

President Barack Obama has warned that if the country defaults, which could happen as soon as Oct. 17, it would be disastrous for the economy and mostly the fault of Republican members who are demanding partisan measures that Democrats won't support.

But Gingrey told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he and other House Republicans are "not posturing" when they say are willing to hit the debt ceiling in order to win concessions from Democrats, no matter the political consequences.

"I mean, they seem to think that we will miss this opportunity for a 'Braveheart' moment to do the right thing for the American people and that we'll back down for fear of losing the House and not gaining control of the Senate," Gingrey said.

The 1995 movie is based on William Wallace, who died in the 14th century after fighting in the Wars of Scottish Independence for Scotland's freedom. "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" he bellows during the film's most famous scene.

Gingrey has used the "Braveheart" analogy before. In December 2011, he made a similar reference on Fox News during a fight over a short-term extension of payroll tax cuts. He said tea party members were rallying around House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during that showdown, despite reports that they were attempting to force his hand.

"Out of 75 responses, there may have been one person that thought it was OK that we would put the fight off until two months from now," he said then. "Everybody else said, 'Look, this is a 'Braveheart' moment. You, Mr. Speaker, are our William Wallace. Let's rush to the fight. Get us back to Washington, let's get to our work and we’re doing that.'"

During the current battle over government spending, other conservatives also have called for Republicans to follow Wallace's example. Rick Warren of Americans for Limited Government wrote a column in September encouraging GOP members to watch the movie.

"Today’s noblemen of D.C. face choices in these upcoming weeks that will stay with them for a lifetime," he wrote. "Obamacare will either be implemented or it will be gutted. While some may take the Braveheart analogy as too simplistic, it will be impossible to explain the nuances of the day to someone a few years from now unable to access health care because of the Obamacare doctor shortage. ... It is time for Republicans to choose whether they will claim their historic legacy as our nation’s freedom party, or if they will recede into the history books replaced by those who are willing to take the mantle of freedom fighter from them."


John Boehner Cries
Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?