National Review editor Rich Lowry criticized Senator Ted Cruz's effort to defund Obamacare as “a grass roots-pleasing slogan,” adding to the conservative media divide over Republican plans to defund the health care law by threatening a government shutdown.
Republican politicians, including Cruz (TX) and Senator Mike Lee (UT), have threatened to shut down the government in order to stop funding health care reform. That approach has earned criticism from other Republicans, such as Senator Richard Burr (NC), who called it “the dumbest idea I've ever heard of.”
Writing in Politico, Lowry argued against Cruz's strategy, dismissing it as “a grass roots-pleasing slogan” and unrealistic:
His push to defund Obamacare this fall is a grass roots-pleasing slogan in search of a realistic path to legislative fruition. Cruz never explains how a government shutdown fight would bring about the desired end. The strategy seems tantamount to believing that if Republican politicians clicked their wing tips together and wished it so, President Barack Obama would collapse in a heap and surrender on his party's most cherished accomplishment.
Lowry's criticism adds to an already wide split among right-wing media on GOP threats to shut down the government.
Like Lowry, some conservative media have argued against the approach. Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg said that the idea “works fantastically well for fundraising when you want to go and run in 2016 for president” but is “ludicrous” as a legislative strategy. Charles Krauthammer, a Fox News contributor and Washington Post columnist, called the approach “really dumb” and "nuts." Fox News contributor Karl Rove has also spoken out against the approach.
Despite the widespread criticism of the approach, including from their own colleagues in the right-wing media, others have fervently supported the plan. In a RedState post, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson wrote that Republicans who do not support the defunding effort should be challenged in primaries. Conservative radio host Mark Levin dismissed the consequences of a shutdown, saying he “like[s] the weekends” when the government is shut down. And Sean Hannity, one of the loudest conservative media voices in support of the approach, has said that defunding the health care law “is the hill to die on.”