Well the verdict is in and it looks like the GOP has been severely damaged by its opposition to Obamacare, well at least that was the conclusion of all the liberal members of "The Chris Matthews Show" panel over the weekend. On the syndicated show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and HDNET's Dan Rather were unanimous that the "branding" of the GOP as "The Party Of No," has "hurt" them. The New York Times' Helene Cooper chimed in that the Republicans were "gonna be in a really tough spot," and the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan judged "The town halls clearly hurt them. They turned the debate around in favor of the President."
The following exchanges were aired on the October 18 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Andrew forget the trigger for a second and all this maybe, maybe, shoulda, some day. Can they, do they really believe that they can get the public option as part of the bill the President signs this year? The people pushing it?
ANDREW SULLIVAN, THE ATLANTIC: It's the eternal question. Are they hypocrites or cowards? I actually think they're optimists. I think that the White House thinks they can get this, maybe. And I think they understand in a long game -- remember Obama always plays the long game and he's a good closer – that maybe they can pivot in the next month and a half. I think it's perfectly on the table. And don't underestimate him. He's Road Runner.
MATTHEWS: Well your romance is your selling point, it always will be with me. Anyway. Kelly the Republican Party. We haven't given them enough time. Let's get to the point. When the smoke clears, a bill is signed somewhere in the, in the bright sunshine of Indian Summer, will the Republican Party be seen as a party of fiscal principle that opposed big government or seen as a party that's insensitive to the health needs of regular Americans?
KELLY O'DONNELL: Well the branding of calling them "The Party of No," has been really sticky-paper for them. They have trouble getting aside from that. At the same time, trying to talk about keeping costs down is something that, depending on the audience listening, can really resonate with people.
DAN RATHER, HDNET: I think they're heavily branded as "The Party of No," justifiably or unjustifiably, whether it's the right thing or not. It's heavy branding and it's gonna be very hard for them to shake it.
MATTHEWS: It hurts?
RATHER: It hurts.
HELENE COOPER, NEW YORK TIMES: I'm with these guys on it. I think, I think they're, they're gonna be in a really tough spot.
SULLIVAN: The town halls clearly hurt them. They turned the debate around in favor of the President. If you look at party ID, the worst election result last November, 26 percent, now 22 percent. They are drowning, not waning.