CNN's Label Game: GOP 'Pragmatists' Oppose Gov't Shutdown, While 'Purists' Will Risk It

For CNN, "purist" Republicans are daring to shut down the government to defund Obamacare while those Republicans trying to dissuade them are "pragmatists."

New Day co-host Kate Bolduan borrowed from the New York Times to play her label game. "Yeah, and I think the New York Times put it pretty well. It's the difference between the purists and the pragmatists. And there's that struggle in the party right now."

Bolduan cited this article on Republican governors calling out the House GOP for considering a government shutdown to attempt to defund Obamacare. The Times reports:

"The Republican divide on just how far they should go to torpedo Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement is increasingly becoming a stand-in for the broader party dispute between purists and pragmatists."

The Times wasn't vague about who it thought was right. "Because of the very nature of their jobs, Republican governors mainly fall into the pragmatist camp on this issue," the article stated. Five governors opposing a potential shutdown were quoted, while only one supporting governor, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal was quoted in the piece.

Bolduan was incredulous as to why House Republicans would "risk" backlash over a shutdown:

"So the obvious risk here, the political risk, is that Republicans could then face being blamed if the government did eventually shut down, if the President kind of called their bluff. Why are some – why are Republicans like Rubio and Paul, Rand Paul – why are they willing to take this risk?"

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on New Day on August 6 at 6:33 p.m. EDT:

KATE BOLDUAN: Time now for our "Political Gut Check." All of the stories you need to know coming out of Washington and around the country. First off, Republican governors speaking out against those in their own party. They are saying a government shutdown shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip against the President. CNN's White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is here to break it down for us. Good morning, Brianna. So you have big-name Republicans. We have talked about this. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, they are the ones leveling this threat of a government shutdown if the health care funded in these budget battles ahead. That's already been shot down by other big names like Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and now Republican governors.

BRIANNA KEILAR: That's right. So this schism here is between Republican leadership and Tea Party-backed Republicans in Congress has this new dynamic to it. And that's that Republican governors – for instance, and we're not talking about moderate Republican governors – Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a number of governors who have said you know what, we don't like Obamacare. We're not even implementing some of the provisions that we have the discretion to implement or not in our states. And we don't think it's good for the economy, but we think it is really bad for the economy to sort of say you know what, we may go ahead and shut down the government over this. They're really worried about the economic impacts in their states and they've come out publicly and said that.

BOLDUAN: So the obvious risk here, the political risk, is that Republicans could then face being blamed if the government did eventually shut down, if the President kind of called their bluff. Why are some – why are Republicans like Rubio and Paul, Rand Paul – why are they willing to take this risk?

KEILAR: Well you have to look at who they're trying to appeal to, and it's different than, say, who maybe Republican leaders are trying to appeal to or Republican governors are trying to appeal to. Right? They're trying to appeal to a wider swath of voters. When you're looking at someone like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Marco Rubio, they're looking very much to their right flank to Tea Party supporters who are very enthusiastic about them. And politically, those are the folks they are trying to shore up here. It's not really a surprise, I think.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and I think the New York Times put it pretty well. It's the difference between the purists and the pragmatists. And there's that struggle in the party right now.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014