Weekend MSNBC Panel Bashes Sen. Cruz: ‘Aren’t We Past' Opposing ObamaCare Yet?

It was an absolute certainty that MSNBC would attack Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) following his Thursday morning speech at CPAC. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host wrung her hands over Cruz’s continued criticism of ObamaCare. With the air of an impatient mother, Witt fumed, “I know he’s just serving up red meat to the base. Republicans believe this is going to help them in the midterms. But aren't we past that yet?

GOP strategist Susan Del Percio, a real MSNBC-type Republican, seemed to feel the same way about Cruz. She replied to Witt’s question, “Not if you're Ted Cruz. I mean, that's what he has become known as, is as a firebrander. He just throws this stuff out there.” With timid, apologetic Republican analysts like Del Percio, it’s no wonder MSNBC can’t have any real debates on their programs.


MSNBC-style Republicans are only too happy to join their liberal colleagues in piling on the strongest conservatives, like Cruz. Del Percio shrugged that the Texas senator plays well to his Tea Party base, but then added, “But there are other points of views, and that was at least very helpful in this CPAC meeting to hear Chris Christie, to hear Paul Ryan, to hear others basically have -- give different representations besides that of Ted Cruz.”

It’s interesting that Del Percio, during a discussion about Cruz’s opposition to ObamaCare, would talk about other points of view when Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, along with virtually all of the speakers at CPAC, oppose ObamaCare as well. The colossal failure that is ObamaCare is one thing that unites the entire Republican Party.

What’s more, recent polling data indicates that opposition to the Affordable Care Act is probably a good political strategy. The most recent polls from Rasmussen, Fox News, Gallup, Public Policy Polling, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal all show more Americans opposing the health care law than supporting it. In each case, the margin is at least 14 percent.

Goldie Taylor of TheGrio.com was also on hand to take part in the Cruz-bashing. She quipped “You see, I seem to believe that Ted Cruz's best opportunity is probably 1950. In 2016, I just don’t – I don't think this is his chance in 2016. Not with the kind of rhetoric that he spews.”

Liberals always love to tie modern-day conservatives back to the 1950s, a supposedly horrible period of racism and sexual repression in America. In Cruz’s case, the 1950 reference is probably also meant to subtly compare him to a certain Republican senator from that era who is now remembered as a major villain of the era.

Cruz actually drove Taylor to defend the moderate Republicans of yesteryear whom Cruz criticized in his CPAC speech – even though Taylor doesn’t necessarily like them. She announced, “I do think that he owes Bob Dole an apology. I don't like, you know, McCain very much, but I think he owes him an apology, too. I just think he ought to find a better way to bring his party together rather than sort of, you know, beating up the old guard.”

MSNBC has never had any problem beating up the old-guard Republicans. But that’s the power of Ted Cruz – he can force liberal analysts to side with the moderates they once trashed.

Below is a transcript of the segment:


ALEX WITT: Guys, we’re going to move on to the CPAC squabble. You know what we’re talking about, Susan, as Ted Cruz speaking at the convention, blasting ObamaCare again. I know he’s just serving up red meat to the base. Republicans believe this is going to help them in the midterms. But aren't we past that yet?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO: Not if you're Ted Cruz. I mean, that's what he has become known as, is as a firebrander. He just throws this stuff out there. He is well-respected within his own group of Tea Party members and it does play well to the base. But there are other points of views and that was at least very helpful in this CPAC meeting to hear Chris Christie, to hear Paul Ryan, to hear others basically have -- give different representations besides that of Ted Cruz.

WITT: Yeah, Rand Paul, too. There's a squabble with John McCain calling on Ted Cruz to apologize for these comments. Here's that.

SEN. TED CRUZ: And then of course all of us remember President Dole and President McCain and President Romney. Now look, those are good men, they're decent men. But when you don't stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate.



WITT: When you don't stand for principle, Goldie. Do you think there’s a better way to criticize a certain wing of the party without insulting the old guard?

GOLDIE TAYLOR: You know, I think there's a much better way to do it. No matter where those three gentlemen stand and on what, there are people in the Republican party who love them one and all. And I think that Ted Cruz ought to find a way to bring his party together, to heal some of the fractures so they have a more viable road towards this White House. You see, I seem to believe that Ted Cruz's best opportunity is probably 1950. In 2016, I just don’t – I don't think this is his chance in 2016. Not with the kind of rhetoric that he spews. But I do think that he owes Bob Dole an apology. I don't like, you know, McCain very much but I think he owes him an apology, too. I just think he ought to find a better way to bring his party together rather than sort of, you know, beating up the old guard.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.