With insightful backwards logic like this, the new CNN show “Parker Spitzer” is certain to be a runaway hit – if just for the comedic value alone.
On CNN’s Oct. 8 broadcast of “Parker Spitzer,” disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the co-host of this program, trotted out a theory that seems so peculiar one might think he was pre-excusing what many feel is the eventual Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives. (h/t Greg Pollowitz)
“Let's switch gears for a second,” Spitzer said. “Earlier today or a couple days ago, Newt Gingrich said 60 seats would be the Republican pick-up. I've got a crazy theory for you. I think the White House wants to lose the House. It needs a foil. It needs an enemy. Agree or disagree?”
And believe it or not, one of Spitzer’s guest panelists agreed, sort of. Steve Kornacki, the news editor for the liberal online media outlet Salon.com, said he thought Spitzer was on to something, but said it would be tougher for the White House to villainize possible Speaker of the House John Boehner and/or Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell the same way Clinton and the Democrats did with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich back in the 1990s.
“I think you're basically right at this point when look at, especially when you start looking at the Senate,” Kornacki said. “If the House goes, then you probably want them all to go because then you can sort of set up the dynamic that Bill Clinton had after the 1994 mid-terms when his party suffered a drubbing. You know, it allowed them to go after Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party. The problem is this. Newt Gingrich made himself such an easy mark for Bill Clinton and for the Democrats back in 1995. He made himself the face of their party, and he was a very unappealing face. You say a lot of things about John Boehner, but I think John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, two in the Senate of that matter, they're a lot more benign as public figures. So I think the dynamic might have been different where you had that train wreck, where Gingrich and the freshman just went after Clinton and shut the government down. It became do you like Clinton, or do you like Gingrich? And the public likes Clinton more than Gingrich. I'm not sure I see the same thing.
Ed Rollins, a GOP strategist and senior political contributor for CNN scoffed at the idea. He explained President Barack Obama’s willingness to negotiate with the congressional Republicans like former President Bill Clinton did with his counterparts is uncertain.
“The most difficult thing the president would face if you have one House seat or both Houses against you, the idea that Bill Clinton who could sit down and negotiate with Gingrich and with Trent Lott and make deals is not in the DNA of President Obama,” Rollins said. “And what's going to happen if they lose the House, the Pelosis of the world who are not going to lose their seats are going to basically say you weren't progressive enough, we've lost our conservative members who are the ones are going to get beat, and you better get more liberal. You go make deals with Republicans, you won't -- they'll be in this tail more so than anybody else.
Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Reuters, also doubted Spitzer’s suggestion the White House would want this because it would be tough for the Obama administration to play that bipartisan role with an unwilling Republican Party and would backfire on the White House.
“And what could even be worse though, I disagree with you, Eliot, about this. I mean, I think whether they want it or not, I think they probably are going to lose control,” Freeland added. “But I think it's really, really bad for this White House partly because the promise of Obama was I'm going to be the bipartisan guy. So this is going to be if he loses control, this is his big chance to be the bipartisan dealmaker. And I think he's going to be a heck of a hard time doing that, partly because of what Ed points out and partly because these Republicans are not going to play ball.”