MSNBC Republican: ‘Grown-up’ Boehner ‘Deserves a Medal of Freedom’ For Debt Ceiling Surrender

Now for a dose of MSNBC-style conservatism from Nicolle Wallace, a frequent network contributor and former White House communications director under George W. Bush. On Tuesday’s Morning Joe, Wallace trashed Tea Party members and other conservative Republicans as children while praising House Speaker John Boehner and his moderate ilk as the “grown-ups” of the party.

During a discussion about Republicans gearing up for the midterm elections, Wallace praised Boehner for caving in on the debt ceiling earlier this month:



[L]ast week when John Boehner sort of walked the political plank and passed the clean debt ceiling without the support of his caucus, I was on conservative radio last week and they were killing him. But I said, listen, I think he deserves a medal of freedom.
 

And why did Boehner deserve a medal of freedom? Because he stood up to the conservative base in his own party, the very base that differentiates the GOP from the Democrats. Wallace recalled how critics longed for a “grown-up” in the Republican Party during last October’s government shutdown. Not to worry, she said – Boehner and other congressional Republican leaders are the adults this time around:
 

We now have plenty of grown-ups in the Republican Party who have done what may have been in the moment difficult. They resisted the passions of the right wing of our party; they did the grown-up thing.
 

Wallace never came out and said it, but if the moderates are the grown-ups, then the Tea Party and the real conservatives must be the children in her mind. Her comments were the epitome of Morning Joe conservatism: malign the true conservatives and praise the moderate Republicans, especially when the moderates surrender to President Obama and the Democrats who have no intention of reining in runaway spending.

Referring to the Republican capitulation on the debt ceiling, Wallace argued:
 

I think it now is viewed not too much later, five, six days later as the very wise move in terms of allowing our party to stay focused on a contrast with this president and with the Democratic Party that unites all Republicans. And that's the wrongheadedness of the way that healthcare reform was passed.
 

There's no word on whether Wallace thinks ObamaCare itself is wrongheaded. But if she wants to focus on a contrast with Obama and the Democrats, shouldn't she join conservative Republicans in pushing for deficit reduction measures to be tied to a debt limit increase? But then again, if she did that, maybe she'd stop being a favored pet Republican for MSNBC to bring on air.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Republicans are lining up not just for the midterms, but for 2016 as well, Nicolle.

NICOLLE WALLACE: Absolutely. And I think, you know, last week when John Boehner sort of walked the political plank and passed the clean debt ceiling without the support of his caucus, I was on conservative radio last week and they were killing him. But I said, listen, I think he deserves a medal of freedom. And I know Joe was skeptical, too.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

WALLACE: But you see now – you know, four months ago, or whenever it was, six months ago when the government shut down, everyone was jumping up and down, begging and pleading for a grown-up in the Republican Party. We now have plenty of grown-ups in the Republican Party who have done what may have been in the moment difficult. They resisted the passions of the right wing of our party; they did the grown-up thing. I think it now is viewed not too much later, five, six days later as the very wise move in terms of allowing our party to stay focused on a contrast with this president and with the Democratic Party that unites all Republicans. And that's the wrongheadedness of the way that healthcare reform was passed.

BRZEZINSKI: We'll have to have Joe chime in. But I’ll tell you, it is sort of, what you're saying at least, builds the point that, you know, this is a party that needs to win. And if you're focused on–

WALLACE: It needs to be led by the grown-ups.



RICHARD HAAS: To win you need to play offense. And what Nicole is saying is exactly right. That if the issue were things like what the Republicans were doing to the government, they would be on defense. Now they can – whether you agree or not –  they can talk about the implementation of healthcare reform or whatever. Republicans therefore are on the offensive.

BRZEZINSKI: They’re not the story.

HAAS: What Boehner did was politically extraordinarily smart.

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