Sen. Flake: Cruz, Lee Strategy Failed Because Dems Didn't Fear a Shutdown

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said the flaw in the strategy of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to defund Obamacare didn’t take into account that the Democrats didn’t fear a government shutdown.


“We all share the same goal, certainly to rein in spending, and no Republican voted for Obamacare before. But it’s no secret that I haven’t agreed with the tactic or the strategy here. I just don’t think that we should have used this vehicle,” Flake said this morning on MSNBC.

“For one, if you’re going to take a stand on something, the other side has to fear a shutdown, and in this case I think the Democrats knew that if there were to be a shutdown that it would be Republicans who take the blame. And so you’re threatening to do something that the other side isn’t very fearful of,” he continued.

Flake stressed again that he’s shares the goal of getting rid of Obamacare. “I just don’t share the strategy, and I think they do want to get rid of Obamacare. I think we all do. But just isn’t the right strategy in my view,” he said.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this morning on Imus that the drama has highlighted “a real genuine debate, not unlike the Democrat Party went through in the ’70s and ’80s before Bill Clinton basically united — President Clinton basically united the Democrat Party.”

“It’s not just on matters of strategy, but it’s also matters of philosophy, for example. There’s internationalist wing of the party that — there’s been that struggle since before — after World War I, and the isolationist wing of the party. And there’s also then the wing that believes no compromise under any circumstances is the best way to go. In other words, as pure as you can be,” McCain continued. “And, you know what, the thing that is a little bit kind of entertaining is that they all call themselves Reagan Republicans. Ronald Reagan negotiated with Tip O’Neill, the liberal Democrat, and we saved Social Security. Ronald Reagan said the 11 Commandment is you don’t speak ill of your fellow Republicans. And Ronald Reagan is the guy who said, ‘If somebody’s with me 80 percent of the time, then that’s fine with me.'”


“So we’ve kind of lost sight of why — the reason why Ronald Reagan was so successful president is that he never compromised principle, but he was willing to compromise to achieve results without losing his principles. And that seems to be lost in the ether around here.”

McCain said he went out to dinner with Cruz the other day.

“Yes, we had a cordial dinner,” the senator added.

“…And by the way, Senator Cruz and I have a cordial relationship despite the way it is portrayed by some. This has nothing to do with personal relations; it’s just a matter of difference on how we go about things.”


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