Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on Fox News' 'The Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

CBS's Smith: Will GOP Tell Dems to 'Burn in Hell' On ObamaCare?

While discussing the Democrats' latest version of health care reform on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked GOP strategist Ed Rollins: "Are the Republicans better off just saying let the Democrats burn in hell with this, we're going to stay on the sidelines and win the House back this fall?"

The segment also featured disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who Smith earlier asked about an upcoming health care summit: "...this whole notion that the Republicans were saying 'well, we might not show up, now Mitch McConnell over the weekend, the minority head of the Senate, says 'we're going come, but we think the Democrats are arrogant.' Is this doomed from the get-go?" Spitzer proclaimed: "the Democratic Party and the President know they must get something done. The internal discipline within the Democratic Party will be what makes this a success."

Spitzer later argued: "The Republican Party's been the party of no, the party of nihilism. The President should stand up and say 'here's what's good for America. We have the votes, we're willing to do it.'" Smith followed that logic: "So is this then the real test for the President?...To say 'I have control of the people in my party, I can do this thing and it will benefit the American people.' And in the end, push back to everything that's been pushing up against him?" Spitzer replied: "This is the moment when either he says we are leaders, we will get it done, or if they fail this time, then it really is debacle for the Democratic Party."

Near the end of the exchange, Smith finally acknowledged the fact that the American public is opposed to the legislation: "if you sort of listen to the - all of the anger and anxiety out in the country, people say, okay, we do want some sort of health reform....At the same time, don't give us thousand page bills that are un-understandable by human beings on this earth." Spitzer brushed that aside: "the President needs to stand up and say here it is, we've got the votes, we're going to pass it....It can be done. It's going to be tough politically, but this is the moment of truth."

CBS began to aid in the rehabilitation of Eliot Spitzer in the fall of last year, when co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed him on the September 19 Early Show to discuss the one-year anniversary of the financial collapse: "President Obama will mark this anniversary with a speech here today on Wall Street. And former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was known as the sheriff of Wall Street before he resigned after being caught in a sex scandal. And Mister Spitzer joins us for an exclusive interview on this anniversary."

In January 11 of this year, Smith brought Spitzer on again to lecture big banks on executive compensation, asking him: "Great Britain is talking about putting enormous taxation on this com - you know, compensation over a certain level. Would that be an answer?" Spitzer replied: "It is a short-term answer. What we really need to do is redefine what banks do."

Spitzer's most recent Early Show mention occurred on Thursday, when correspondent Kelly Wallace included him in a report on famous adulterers while discussing the upcoming Tiger Woods press conference: "[South Carolina Governor Mark] Sanford, who admitted being unfaithful, didn't have his wife by his side, but other now infamous wrongdoers did, like former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was caught having sex with prostitutes."

So apparently prominent Democrats caught in sex scandals can at the same time be legitimate political analysts and subjects of scorm on CBS.

Here is a portion of Smith's discussion with Rollins and Spitzer:

SMITH: Let me ask you this former Governor Spitzer, this whole notion that the Republicans were saying 'well, we might not show up, now Mitch McConnell over the weekend, the minority head of the Senate, says 'we're going come, but we think the Democrats are arrogant.'

SPITZER: Right.

SMITH: Is this doomed from the get-go?

SPITZER: Look, I don't think the Thursday event will be terribly useful. I think this will be posturing, it will be choreographed. But here's what's fundamentally different, the Democratic Party and the President know they must get something done. The internal discipline within the Democratic Party will be what makes this a success. And I agree, I think Ed's right, the Republican Party will say no to this, but it's a wonderful idea. He's right about the Republican response. He's wrong on the substance. This is critically needed because the insurance industry is out of control right now.

SMITH: Well, you have, for instance, this one insurance company in California, 700,000 customers, they're going raise rates on some of them by 39%. There's a consensus in the country that this is out of control. Are the Republicans better off just saying let the Democrats burn in hell with this, we're going to stay on the sidelines and win the House back this fall?

ROLLINS: Well, the bottom line - I don't know whether they're going to win the House back, but we'll do much better than we've done before - the bottom line here is that this is a Democrat proposal and they have enough votes if they want to get together and pass it, they can pass it. If they don't, and if they can't get together, then we're not going to have health care.

SPITZER: And I think, again, Ed and I agree, this is a Democratic bill. They should pass it, they should claim it, it will be a huge success. The Republican Party's been the party of no, the party of nihilism. The President should stand up and say 'here's what's good for America. We have the votes, we're willing to do it.'

SMITH: So is this then the real test for the President?

SPITZER: Absolutely.

SMITH: To say 'I have control of the people in my party, I can do this thing and it will benefit the American people.' And in the end, push back to everything that's been pushing up against him?

SPITZER: He - this is the litmus test. This is the moment when either he says we are leaders, we will get it done, or if they fail this time, then it really is debacle for the Democratic Party.

SMITH: On the other hand, if you sort of listen to the - all of the anger and anxiety out in the country, people say, okay, we do want some sort of health reform. We don't want to pay these unbelievable premiums we're being crushed with every year. At the same time, don't give us thousand page bills that are un-understandable by human beings on this earth.

ROLLINS: At the end of the day, someone has to pay for health care, it's very expensive. And by adding burdens to former - to governors, as a former governor - adding more burdens on the Medicaid, where every state's almost bankrupt, is not a good formula. Somehow you bring it down, you've got to bring lawyers to the table, you got to have malpractice reform, you got to have competition by letting it go across state lines and let insurance companies compete. And there hasn't been a willingness to do that yet.

SPITZER: I think what's interesting is the Democratic proposals do encompass a great deal of that and they should and they will. I agree with all that, they will be in the bill, but the President needs to stand up and say here it is, we've got the votes, we're going to pass it. And that's the only way you will then provide insurance and drive costs down. It can be done. It's going to be tough politically, but this is the moment of truth.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.