Bob Schieffer: Anti-ObamaCare GOPers Are Like Japanese WWII Vets Who Don't Know Fight Is 'Over'
The network morning shows on Friday derided the move by House Republicans to defund ObamaCare as simply "bowing to demands" from the Tea Party. But it was CBS's Bob Schieffer who made no attempt to restrain his contempt, declaring the ObamaCare fight "over" and linking GOP members to elderly Japanese veterans of World War II who refused to accept that the fight was futile.
After noting that the Wall Street Journal derided the plan as a kamikaze move, the Face the Nation anchor built on the analogy, sneering, "But even more apt...way on into the 1950s when they go into the jungles of the Philippines and they find these Japanese soldiers that thought World War II was still going on?" This prompted This Morning hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell to break up in laughter at the mockery of Republicans. [MP3 audio here.]
Disgusted with the Republican attempts to defund ObamaCare, Schieffer added, "...The war over ObamaCare is over. You know?"
This isn't the first time the veteran journalist has brought World War II into a modern political battle. On January 16, 2013, he compared "taking on the gun lobby" to "defeating the Nazis."
Schieffer concluded by dismissing the entire Republican effort as a distraction:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Eleven people killed or 13 people, I guess it was, killed a couple of miles from the White House. There are some serious problems facing this country, and, again, they're not being addressed. And, you know, Congress has a very low approval rating but I think on this one Democrats can stand back and say "You know, this is – we're not part of this, boys. These are the other guys." I think in the long run this is going to hurt the Republicans.
Earlier in the show, reporter Nancy Cordes threw cold water on the GOP effort: "After bowing to demands from Tea Party Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner tried to convince Senate Republicans to join him in what many see as a losing battle."
Over on NBC's Today, Peter Alexander preemptively announced that the bill "won't go far" and sounded a theme similar to that of CBS: "The Republican bill bowing to conservative pressure is guaranteed to fail in the Democratic controlled Senate."
Alexander also put the blame on the House GOP, snidely noting, "Among those who wouldn't be affected, members of Congress. They still get paid, and for now they're still bickering."
On Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos insisted that, with regard to a potential shutdown, this indicated a"dysfunction that could derail the economy."
Unlike CBS and NBC, however, Stephanopoulos also observed that a new ABC poll finds "some warnings for both sides."
Reporter Jon Karl explained that the survey "shows the law is still unpopular. A majority of the public doesn't like the way it's being implemented. Only barely a third of approves of how it's being implemented."
A transcript of the September 20 Schieffer segment on CBS This Morning is below:
CHARLIE ROSE: Sunday is the first day of fall, but in Washington, critics say it feels more like Groundhog Day. The House votes today on a bill that keeps the government going, but also cuts off funding for President Obama's health care law. That vote sets the stage for another potential government shutdown. With us now is chief Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Hey, good morning, Charlie.
ROSE: The Wall Street Journal as you know, had an editorial in which it called the Republican plan a kamikaze mission. Could this be destructive to the Republican Party?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean when you have Wall Street Journal using terms like that, when Karl Rove, the leading Republican thinker, the guy who managed George Bush's campaigns, when you've got Republicans in the Senate saying the same kinds of things, it's got to tell you that Republicans may be heading in a direction that they don't want to be heading right now. But having said that, I think this is all going to take place. I mean, they're going to pass this in the House, I would assume. And it's going to go nowhere in the Senate. When the Wall Street Journal compares them to, you know, those Japanese suicide pilots in World War II, I wonder if it isn't -- I think that's apt. But even more apt, you remember – way on into the 1950s when they go into the jungles of the Philippines and they find these Japanese soldiers that thought World War II was still going on?
[Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell all laugh.]
GAYLE KING: Good analogy.
SCHIEFFER: I mean, you know, the war over ObamaCare is over. You know?
ROSE: Where have you been?
SCHIEFFER: And we're still continuing to fight it. This is not going to change here.
KING: Well, you heard Senator Cruz say that he's going do everything he can to defund ObamaCare, including a filibuster. How do you see it playing out, Bob?
SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, you know, yesterday John McCain, who happens to be a Republican. Some Republicans don't think he is, but he says he is. He points out that it takes 67 votes to override a presidential veto. If, if both houses somehow or other pass this thing, the President would most certainly veto it and they're not As John McCain pointed out yesterday, 67 votes to override that. So this is going to go on. And while we keep having this movie -- and by the way, have you seen this movie before? I think I have.
KING: Yes. We know the dialogue.
SCHIEFFER: About 20 times now. You know? While all this keeps going on, the country is going broke. We're in the midst of – doing know what we're in the midst of with this Syria thing. 11 people killed or 13 people, I guess it was, killed a couple of miles from the White House. There are some serious problems facing this country, and, again, they're not being addressed. And, you know, Congress has a very low approval rating but I think on this one Democrats can stand back and say "You know, this is – we're not part of this, boys. These are the other guys." I think in the long run this is going to hurt the Republicans.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Karl Rove indicated that yesterday as you mentioned, Bob, that it's independents, independents who lean toward the Republican Party who are most opposed to this and that's where it may hurt the party.
SCHIEFFER: Yeah. Absolutely.
ROSE: Yeah. There's also the fact that it was part of what the chairman of the Fed said when he talked about the economic recovery. It was contributing to a lack of an economic recovery. It's also, as we know, how central bankers around the world look at the United States and its economy that if it can't set things straight in Washington, it's not good for the economy.
SCHIEFFER: It is not and it's not good for how the rest of the world views the United States. This is not how super powers operate. You know, like a guy who has got a book out and he always finds a way to work the book into the conversation, I talked to henry Kissinger about this yesterday and got his views on that and Henry – Dr. Kissinger's going to be with us Sunday on Face the Nation. He was first on Face the Nation Charlie, back in 1957.
ROSE: Oh, wow.
SCHIEFFER: And he's been on many times since. It was really a lot of fun to interview him. So I managed to turn all of this to what's coming up on Face the Nation.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.