This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 3, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight. As we reported last night there is a split in the Republican Party. On one side are libertarian like Rand Paul who object to the NSA snooping and the American intrusion overseas.
On the other side, people like Chris Christie and Congressman Peter King who believe national security and bringing the fight to the enemy is the most important. At least King believes in bringing the fight to the enemy. We don't know about Christie on foreign affairs yet.
Joining us now from Washington, Fox News analyst, Charles Krauthammer. Do you believe there is going to be a civil war within the Republican Party?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well it's not exactly a game of croquet. But it's more like a tug-a-war in the family picnic. One side will pull the other into the mud. They will all clean themselves up. And then they're going to drink wine and have a jolly time.
You know there is nothing new here. We have had a debate between the internationalists and isolationists among conservatives for about a century. It wasn't until Pearl Harbor that conservatives were internationalists, they were isolationists.
After the Second World War it took a while before they signed on to the Cold War and that's what was the glue that held the -- the coalition on the right together, anti-communism. You would have expected the break-up to happen in the 90's.
But actually, it was delayed because of 9/11. There was a new enemy. The troops were rallied. The real split is beginning to happen now as the memory of 9/11 fades and as the imminence of the threat is felt to be far less. So this was to be expected. It was only a matter of time. And I don't think it's as radical a division as people are making it out to be.
O'REILLY: No but it's getting very personal though. And I don't know if they are going to be able to override this. We had Karl Rove on last night and he laid out a case that the Republican Party would be pretty much committing political suicide if it defunded or attempted to defund part of Obamacare.
And Rove put forth that, number one, most of the money has already been allotted so nothing really big is going to happen. And number two that the media would then brand the Republican Party if it did manage to shut down the government so the Army and the Navy and the Marines and everybody wouldn't get their paychecks. The media would go in immediately and to the casual American who doesn't follow this stuff which is most of us, unfortunately, once again the Republicans would be looked at as loons.
But on the other side the talk radio people are basically saying look, if you don't try to defund Obamacare. If you don't buy into this big thing in September to shut down a government, then you're not a real conservative. You're not really with us. So, it becomes very personal in that regard.
KRAUTHAMMER: You've got to make a distinction between two sets of issues. The one on principle with the idea of intervention, the national security state, what the NSA ought to be allowed to do and not to do, how to use the drones. That is a significant issue. That's a matter of principle. There are divisions. I do think it's exaggerated because it's much more a matter of degree. It isn't a matter of black or white.
The other issue, the one you're talking about now, I think is a ginned-up issue for this reason. It's all about tactics. It's not about what you think about Obamacare. The tactics that these brave people are telling us we have to do is to jump off a cliff so we can show our manhood. There is -- unless you believe that you are ready to shut down the government. Unless you are ready to deliver on the threat, you don't go near there.
And we know that every time Republicans in opposition have threatened to shut down the government, they've had to blink because it turned against them. If I thought it would work, I would support it. There is not one chance in a hundred that the threat of shutting down the government is going to succeed.
O'REILLY: All right so you and Rove -- you and Rove agree. You and Rove agreed but that isn't stopping the far-right or whatever you want to label the talk radio guys and some cable guys. That isn't stopping them. All right. They say this is it. If you don't -- if you're not with us on this you are against us. You're a RINO -- a Republican in name only. You are this or you're that. And that gets to be very personal. I'll give you the last word on it.
KRAUTHAMMER: Look the slings and arrows of the business if you're not used to that, you should be doing something else. So that's not -- I don't think that's the real issue. The real issue here is whether you're playing the short game or the long game. The short game where you control one House of Congress, you have no chance of repealing Obamacare, zero, because the other side sees it as the signature issue of the President and the senate.
You play the long game you don't risk your popularity which I think is increasing for the GOP. People are very disillusioned with what the Democrats have done in the last five years. You play for the elections in '14 and in '16. You build a constituency. And you don't show that you are completely irresponsible and shut down the government, knowing that you will in the end have to cave.
O'REILLY: All right, Charles. Thanks as always. We appreciate it.
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