MSNBC's Chris Hayes Admits He Could Back Tea Party-Style 'Hostage Holding' Tactics to Stop a War

Liberals have suggested that the conservative attempt to repeal Obamacare alongside passing a continuing resolution is childish, undemocratic, and in the words of Chris Matthews, "the extreme case where ideological zealotry trumps even the most minimal loyalty to the common national interests."

On Friday's "Real Time with Bill Maher," the host decried the Tea Party's "coke-addict's obsession with repealing Obamacare, but he asked if the "hostage holding" is a fair tactic. MSNBC host/zealot Chris Hayes admitted that he would back "hostage holding" tactics on a spending bill if it was in favor of a liberal goal like avoiding a "horrible war." (Video and transcript below)

MAHER: For the folks who watch this show to catch up on what you missed during the week, here’s what you missed. The House Republicans are holding hostage -- and I don't say that in a snarky way. I've heard them use that phrase themselves, heard Mitch McConnell say that – holding hostage both the government, they are threatening to shut that down, and the world economy if they don't vote for the debt ceiling increase, because they have this coke addict's obsession with repealing Obamacare. Now my question because I don't want to, you know, be this a liberal show and it's all a liberal point of view from the beginning –

HAYES (joking): Never. [Laughter]

MAHER: I don't want to assume, this holding hostage to get what you want, is this a fair tactic?

The other panelists responded. David Frum said it was an “unstrategic tactic,” and Joy Behar toed the party line by claiming Obama had some sort of dramatic Obamacare mandate from the 2012 vote. Yes, if people really hated Obamacare, Obama would have lost. But this might also underline why Obama delayed Obamacare until his second term was under way.

In his turn, Hayes found Maher's question "useful," then declared that yes, as a tactical matter, he would support holding a continuing resolution "hostage" for a left-wing goal like stopping a war:

HAYES: To your point about whether it is a fair tactic, I think it's useful to separate the kind of tactical question from the substantive one, which is to say, you know, like, if there was a liberal caucus in the United States government that could, you know, hold the continuing resolution hostage to try to stop a war that I thought was horrible, I would say, yeah, do it. The thing they're trying to stop here is 30 million people getting health insurance! Like, that’s the substance here!

Last Wednesday, Hayes told Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney that the reasonable Republicans have come to the realization that “this is a doomed strategy, that if it looks like the Republican Party is either risking the full faith and credit of the U.S. or shutting down the government over something that will not happen, you guys will suffer politically.”

On Thursday night, Hayes talked to Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, about how maintaining the sequester might look like a moderate step after the defund-Obamacare debate ends. Wasserman-Schultz typically claimed Congress needed to come together and not act like the "hyperpartisan" Tea Party, and Hayes joked at her: "Here’s my suggestion, let`s balance the scales. House Democratic Caucus says you won`t vote for anything unless they get rid of the sequester, everybody threatens a shutdown and let`s make it happen."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis