CHUCK TODD: Bill, I thought the Washington Post on Monday – Sunday or Monday – had an interesting way that they talked about the upcoming budget fight: Here you have John Boehner and President Obama who couldn't be showing less ability to lead these days, in either one of their parties.
BILL KRISTOL: I’ve rarely seen a time when, in a sense, both parties seem to be in such disarray. The president is the president, so he probably ends up being held accountable if things don’t go so well in the country. Which is why, at the end of the day, Republicans don't feel that much pressure, in a way, to fix the situation. The activists feel they can disdain the leadership, the leadership feels it can, privately at least, ignore the activists. They look out. They think 2014 looks okay; the polls look okay, and we’ll have to figure out something at the end of the day.
CHUCK TODD: So there’s no sense of urgency.
BILL KRISTOL: Right, I’m a back seat driver, but I wish… You know what, if there were front seat drivers I’d be a little relieved. But, I’m in a car where on either side of the car no one has a steering wheel.
CHUCK TODD: John Boehner’s folks will say, and they’ve said this to me time and again. It’s a strategy that they’re going to apparently pursue on Friday. It’s an attempt to defund the president's health care plan. Which they have said that is not going to work, let’s not try it. And they are trying it because sometimes you have to show these guys their strategy’s a loser.
BILL KRISTOL: The degree of disdain with which leadership staff speaks of most of the members, well many of the members of the House Republican conference. It’s a little shocking to me and I have been around town for a while…
CHUCK TODD: Condescending.
BILL KRISTOL: Totally. And the degree to which the activists just have contempt now for leadership, and feel they just don’t owe them much of anything. They didn't get elected with leadership’s support and leadership doesn't do much for them. It’s not an entirely healthy the situation. The leadership is just like, ‘We just gotta get through this. We’ll be okay, let’s just not have a shut down.