Texas Tea Party Rep Joe Barton paid a visit to MSNBC this weekend and squared off with host Craig Melvin over Obamacare and the government shutdown. Melvin seized upon a perceived divide between the Tea Party and the mainstream Republicans and asked Barton who is calling the shots right now in the party.
Barton denied that there was a divide within the party, saying that none of the Republicans of any stripe like Obamacare, side-stepping the more obvious issue that this is no longer about Obamacare, but over the government shutdown and the divide that has caused within the party. The Tea Party Republicans, led by Ted Cruz, appear to be okay with the status quo – keeping the government shut down until… well, something happens – while the saner Republicans are more prone to believing that the shutdown should end.
Barton, pressed again by Melvin about who is calling the shots, responds that President Obama is because he “refuses to negotiate”. Barton then adds this whopper – “He’ll negotiate with terrorists overseas, but he won’t negotiate with Speaker Boehner.”
Melvin then plays a clip of Barton arguing against Obamacare on the House floor, and asks, “Is that really the most effective use of time right now?”
Melvin then pointed out to Barton that Congress passed Obamacare and the Supreme Court upheld it, as well as the 2012 Presidential election being a referendum on Obamacare, and asked, “At what point do you stop this silly little game?”
Barton responded with “I don’t think Governor Romney made Obamacare a key point of his campaign.”
An exasperated Melvin fires back and asks, “what campaign were you looking at? What campaign were you watching?”
As Barton goes on about how bad Obamacare is, Melvin asks Barton if he really believes that the Senate and President Obama would repeal Obamacare, now that it has become the law as of the start of October.
Barton once again plays dodgeball, responding with, “I don’t believe Obamacare will ever really work.”
“That’s not the issue right now!”, replied Melvin. “The issue is reopening the government! That’s the issue! You know that!”
Watch it below, courtesy of youtube.