Shelby: defeating Obama on healthcare in GOP's political interest

It would be in the GOP's interest to see President Obama suffer politically by defeating the healthcare reform bill the president has pushed, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) acknowledged Thursday.

Shelby, during an appearance of Fox News Radio, concurred with host Brian Kilmeade's suggestion that it would open up opportunities for Republicans on issues to let Obama "go down with the healthcare ship."

"I think it's always in our interest to let anybody go down when we think they're philosophically wrong, and I believe he's totally wrong on this healthcare," Shelby said.

Democrats had pounced on suggestions by Republican lawmakers that defeating the bill would be to their political benefit. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was most notably castigated for saying that defeating healthcare would be Obama's "Waterloo."

The president suggested himself that Republicans are consciously looking to oppose any legislation he puts forth on healthcare.

"I think early on a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, 'Look, let's not give them a victory. Maybe we can have a replay of 1993-'94 when Clinton came in,'" Obama said during an appearance on the Michael Smerconish radio show this afternoon. "And I think there are some folks who are taking a page out of that playbook."

Shelby said "it would be wise" for Republicans to make an aggressive push on healthcare when the Senate reconvenes in September.

"I believe that things are running our way -- that is, against the government takeover of healthcare -- at the moment, but things could shift," Shelby stated. "We cannot let that happen."