MSNBC's Ball: GOP Taking Govt 'Hostage,' 'Threaten[ing]' 'Constitutional Balance'

Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation, during a discussion of the government shutdown, MSNBC's Krystal Ball characterized congressional Republicans as "tak[ing] the whole government hostage," and "threaten[ing]" the "constitutional balance."

After host Al Sharpton fretted over the operation of FEMA and the National Hurricane Center during the government shutdown, Ball responded:

That's exactly right. And the longer that the shutdown goes on, the more examples that we're going to have like that. And I think, as E.J. was pointing out, people already realize and were already very much against shutting the government down. And let's not forget what this is over. It's over the Affordable Care Act. It's over ObamaCare.

She continued:

It's over providing health insurance to millions of Americans who desperately need it. That is what they're trying to prevent. And to do so they're willing to take the whole government hostage and threaten the very constitutional balance on which our democracy rests.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, October 3, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: Tropical Storm Karen, which is forming near the Gulf of Mexico, may make landfall this weekend. FEMA and the National Hurricane Center have both been affected by the shutdown. This is just another reminder of where government is important.

KRYSTAL BALL: That's exactly right. And the longer that the shutdown goes on, the more examples that we're going to have like that. And I think, as E.J. was pointing out, people already realize and were already very much against shutting the government down. And let's not forget what this is over. It's over the Affordable Care Act. It's over ObamaCare.

It's over providing health insurance to millions of Americans who desperately need it. That is what they're trying to prevent. And to do so they're willing to take the whole government hostage and threaten the very constitutional balance on which our democracy rests.

SHARPTON: Isn't that the whole point, E.J.? We're talking about the whole government shutting down because people are going to be insured that wasn't insured by a bill that was already made law and upheld by the Supreme Court. I mean, when you think of what we're going through all of this danger and potential danger, for something that's already been debated, already been voted, and that's helping people that had not been helped, it's ludicrous.

E.J. DIONNE: The government's being shut down to take health insurance away from about 25 million people, maybe a little more. And I think it was very interesting that the shutdown coincided with opening day for the exchanges. And one of the things opening day showed, they had some problems, but the fact is a whole lot of Americans really want to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act. And I think it shows they really want to shut this down before Americans take advantage of it because they'll never want it to go away. And they've acknowledged that, and they've already missed the deadline, and it's now starting to take effect.

SHARPTON: But when you see, Krystal, the tape we showed of McConnell and Paul talking and they're being overheard in the mic where they're kind of like plotting on the talking points and saying we can win this, it seems all like brinkmanship, like it's no consideration at all for what it's doing for the country, what it's going to do for the economy, and what it's doing to real ordinary people that I've been showing tonight.

BALL: It's incredibly cynical. And you can see how cynical and ridiculous their strategy is by the fact that one of their last gambits before they shut down the government was to try to demand that health care subsidies to their own staffers be taken away.

SHARPTON: Yeah, right.

BALL: And this is something that Boehner had been working behind the scenes to get. And now he's going to shut down the government over something he fought to get. I mean, that's how cynical they are here and how just transparently vacuous their strategy has been.

DIONNE: And maybe Republican staff members will join a union because I just found that astonishing, that they were going to pull that health insurance out from their subsidies.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball, E.J. Dionne, thank you both for your time.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.