SHERIDAN — Conservative political consultant, radio and TV talk show host, author and speaker Mary Matalin was the keynote speaker at the Sheridan County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner Saturday in the Whitney Building at Sheridan College. Matalin has worked for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, as well as Vice President Dick Cheney and numerous other politicians. She is currently supporting Liz Cheney in her challenge against incumbent U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Matalin sat down with The Sheridan Press for a quick Q&A before the evening began.
The Sheridan Press: What do you think it will take for the Republican Party to gain control of both the House and the Senate?
Mary Matalin: We have to make the case that we’re at the crossroads. There is no coming back from this kind of deficit, this kind of structural debt and this kind of moral degradation that attends it. Our families are disintegrating; our work ethic is disintegrating; half the nation is on food stamps; there’s policies that this president has put in place with the help of the democratically controlled senate that are disincentivizing work and destroying job creation. Take a state like Wyoming; we could be debt free if the feds would get out of the way of energy development, and we could do it cleanly and safely, but we need leadership, and we need people like Liz Cheney who are willing to step up and take the fight.
SP: That dovetails into another question. Do you think the Republican Party would be better off if it returned to its conservative ideals, kind of like Liz Cheney is trying to do, or if it compromised on issues like immigration to improve its voter bloc?
Matalin: When we look at how the party did grow and when we were successful, it’s when we didn’t compromise. Compromise has become one of these cotton candy words that look good, and they look big, and then they just disintegrate upon touch. You can’t compromise your principles. When we stand for our principles, we win elections and we transform the policies, we reform the policies. We don’t need to transform this country. We just need to reform it at this point. We don’t need to compromise; we need commitment to common sense conservatism. That’s how we won before, that’s how we’ll win again. I’m less concerned about the party that I am about the country.
SP: Can we touch on Senator John Barrasso, as well? What do you see for his future with the Republican Party?
Matalin: I’m picking and choosing the issues, the causes and the candidates that I want to devote my time to, and they’re not exclusively partisan. I support democrats who support energy, hydrocarbon energy, exploration and development. I’m not following him. I’m not working for him. I’m supporting Liz, and I’m going to clear the deck to do everything I can to get Liz Cheney to the United States Senate for all the aforementioned reasons.
SP: Is it political suicide if the Republican Party holds Obamacare hostage when they vote on the continuing resolution?
Matalin: Absolutely, positively not! Ted Cruz was at my house in New Orleans last week, and I know there’s some discussion of this in Washington, but Obamacare…Let me just answer that by saying this: If Obamacare was that wonderful, why did the Congressmen exempt themselves and their staffs this week from having to be subjected to it? We cannot afford it; it’s decreasing quality; it’s dismantling the best healthcare service in the world; and we have to stop it. There is a way to defund Obamacare and continue funding, via resolution, the rest of the government. Anything that would shut down separate from Obamacare through the legislation that’s being proposed now, the continuing resolution, would be the fault of the president, not the Republicans.
We cannot expand the government at that rate and that scope anymore. I think they should defund Obamacare and make it clear — you have to make it clear. If you don’t make it clear and you don’t explain it, it would only be suicide if you put your neck out there to be hung. If you explain that anything that shuts down apart from Obamacare is the fault of President Obama, how could that be suicide? That’s life enhancing; that’s a second chance; that’s the fountain of youth; that’s whatever metaphor you want to use.