ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
With another budget showdown once again threatening a government shutdown, the slow pace of talks has some Republicans suggesting that Democrats on Capitol Hill are actually rooting for a shutdown.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said that while he welcomes compromise, Democrats need to realize that the movement should come in Republicans’ direction.
“We should be working together. But the conservatives won the election last year. The compromise should be to the conservative side,” Wilson told us. “We should be negotiating — in good faith. But it was the conservative position that won last November.”
Wilson said Democrats are rooting for a partial shutdown of government, in the hopes of reaping political benefits, as they did after the last government shutdown in 1995-96.
“Why’d they push this to March? My view is they really are encouraging a shutdown thinking that let’s relive” the last shutdown, Wilson said. “There’s a difference. … The mainstream media I will tell you is not complicit in saying it’s a Republican fault. We now have 24-hour news networks. We have the Internet. We have blogging. We have talk radio.”
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean this week declared that, politically, “it would be the best thing in the world to have a shutdown.”
Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, it should be noted, struck a roughly similar tone earlier this month on “Top Line”: “I personally think there’s nothing wrong with a government shutdown. I’ve been an advocate for it over six, seven months now for the simple reason it is the shocker.”
“It is constitutional. But I will tell you the president’s gotten us into a third war,” he said. “We need to go to our military leaders and say, ‘How do we conduct this?’ That should be a military decision with the intelligence we are receiving and so I defer.”
Wilson said he thinks the decision to launch an air assault was a mistake: “I believe it was. And I — but now that we’re into it, we are at war. We now need to win because there’s nothing worse than a dictator who is a rogue who has nothing to lose. So the president needs to show leadership. We need to win.”
Watch the full interview with Rep. Joe Wilson HERE.
Also today, we featured Jonathan Karl’s exclusive interview with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who today announced that he would vote against an increase to the debt ceiling – a significant statement from a tea party rising star.
Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.