You and your friend have been making plans forever. You are sure to have fun, but once the big day comes, he tells you that he doesn’t want to go out. He blows you off, not because he hates you, but because he’s just not up for it and wants to stay in. We all have a party pooper in our lives. The one who sabotages your plans and drags you down with them. The Republican Party just found theirs.
Meet Senator Ted Cruz. He’s a man full of conviction, from pushing behind-the-scene deals with Senator Harry Reid, to recently running a faux-filibuster of Obamacare. He spoke for over 21 hours “to make D.C. listen” on a bill that funds the government but also has a conservative caveat to derail funding for Obamacare. A bill that Mr. Cruz pushed for in the House of Representatives.
No matter how many hours anyone talks, the bill was already scheduled to be voted on at 1 p.m. EST on September 25. So there really wasn’t a filibuster or any successful attempt from the Texan Republican to repeal a law that I, like many conservatives and Republicans, would like to see go through. We understand that this dramatic move from the lawmaker won’t work.
But many conservatives and Republicans like myself are not appeasers like the British that failed to act in Nazi Germany or the American Tories who rejected arms against the British as Mr. Cruz so fervently described on the Senate floor.
The last thing we are is supporters of Obamacare. But we are supporters of our republican system of government which understands the complexity of governance; which understands divided government. In other words, we are not trying to live in some wild illusion where Republicans can pass conservative reforms through a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House. Obama would never sign a bill that defunds the largest (and arguably most pathetic) accomplishment of his presidency. There is no way.
Take Obamacare out of the equation. This is not about the president, or the Affordable Healthcare Act, or Republicans lacking conservative conviction. Cruz is completely right: it’s about Washington being the same old Washington. But even though Mr. Cruz is against the same old rules, his actions play right into them.
He’s embracing the message that Mark Leibovich reported in his latest book, This Town. He’s embracing self-ambition and pouring public service down the drain. He cares a lot more about his own political future rather than the interest of the American people.
Those Cruz supporters who are reading this may be asking, “How so? He’s boisterously fighting against a law that only expands the role of government in our lives.” While that’s true, he’s also engaging in tactics that won’t repeal the law at all. They will merely give him the national spotlight for two days in a row. (Guess who’s heading into Iowa and New Hampshire?)
This is the problem with Washington, which so many good and frustrated Americans rallied against in the 2010 elections when the Tea Party movement catapulted Republicans into a solid majority in Congress. Republicans won because Americans were fed up with the fact that Washington keeps spending more of our money and really seems to be getting nothing done about today’s problems. They seem to be looking out for their own interests rather than the interests of the nation as a whole or, as our Federalist Founders called it, the public good.
The American people couldn’t care less about a bombastic Texan talking for over 21 hours. They would only care if those 21 hours weren’t about him, but about them. If those hours were a master-plan to solve the unemployment rate, the mediocre Obama-fied healthcare system, or the crushing national debt, then Cruz would be a hero.
But Cruz is a party pooper with the American public, just like most Washington leaders. He moved from the disenchanted class of Americans to the disinterested and disconnected elites from the nation’s capitol. He’s another one of those highly paid and highly benefited people from D.C. who is obsessed with political ambition.
The real losers here are the American people. They will stay stuck right where they were, pay higher premiums, and receive a highly ineffective healthcare system.
As much as this may be political theater, hey Washington, keep talking about Cruz. He’s just a distraction from the real problem: a bloated and dysfunctional government.