The Washington Times - August 28, 2013, 07:49AM

Former White House adviser David M. Axelrod said that some conservatives are doing President Obama a favor by calling on lawmakers to support a government shutdown in order to defund Obamacare.

Mr. Axelrod said that a government shutdown is an “enormously destructive act,” and that most Republicans oppose the idea, which is being pushed by outside groups and a limited number of GOP lawmakers.


He said that several of the Republicans pushing the issue — including Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — are trying to score points with the base of the party that they will need to win over in order to win the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

“This is red meat for that constituency,” Mr. Axelrod said. “This is about pandering to the base to try to get some advantage in 2016.”

Mr. Axelrod’s comments came during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” where co-host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman from Florida, unloaded on the no-holds-barred push to cut funding for the Affordable Care Act, which passed in 2010 and has become known as Obamacare.

Mr. Scarborough said that the people who backed the idea rode into Washington on farm animals and are marginalizing themselves.

The Senate Conservatives Fund is one of the group’s promoting the idea, saying lawmakers should reject any spending bills that fund the health care law.

SCF and has recently taken aim at Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake for not jumping on their bandwagon, and the latest tally on the SCF website shows that 14 of the Senate’s 46 Republicans have signed onto the pledge to defund the program.

Nine GOP lawmakers have said outright that they will not sign the pledge.

Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, joined the fight this week.

Mrs. Palin is a popular figure among some conservatives. She quit her job as governor of Alaska in 2009, months after Mr. Obama won his first term in office.