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Sep 25 2013

Ted Cruz: So Much for the Voice of Reason

Ted Cruz’ tenure as a momentarily reasonable person lasted only a few days. After telling House Republicans that there was no way to stop Obamacare funding because the votes weren’t there in the Senate, Cruz went on Fox News and said that any senator who even votes to take a vote on any funding bill that doesn’t strip Obamacare of discretionary spending is a vote for that spending.

In a Sunday interview, Cruz told Fox News host Chris Wallace that Senate Republicans should stand together and refuse to vote for cloture by filibustering if Democrats added Obamacare funding to the bill.

“Any vote for cloture, any vote to allow Harry Reid to add funding to Obamacare with just a 51-vote threshold, a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare,” Cruz insisted. “And I think Senate Republicans are going to stand side-by-side with Speaker [John] Boehner and House Republicans, listening to the people and stopping this train wreck that is Obamacare.”

Yeah, that’s what they’re doing. They’re “listening to the people.” The same people who handed the Republicans a major loss on election day last year when they were running on a platform of defunding Obamacare. The same people who oppose defunding it by a 2-1 margin and oppose shutting down the government in an attempt to defund it by a 3-1 margin. You’re not listening to the people, you’re listening to the voices in your head.

Jonathan Chait points out just how monumentally bizarre this all is:

Step one of this far-fetched scheme was the passage of a “continuing resolution,” which keeps the government open, attached to abolishing Obamacare. Now it goes to the Senate. Once that bill comes up for a vote in the Senate, the majority can vote to strip away the provision defunding Obamacare. That vote can’t be filibustered. It’s a simple majority vote, and Democrats have the majority.

What Senate Republicans can do is filibuster to prevent the bill from coming to a vote at all. That’s the only recourse the Senate defunders have. And Ted Cruz is promising to do just that: “ I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together,” he says, “and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in.” A “committed defunder” in the Senate likewise tells David Drucker, “Reid must not be allowed to fund Obamacare with only 51 votes.”

In other words, the new stop-Obamacare plan now entails filibustering the defunders’ own bill. They can do this with just 41 votes in the Senate, if they can get them. But consider how terrible this situation is for the Republicans. If they fail, it will be because a handful of Republicans joined with Democrats to break the filibuster, betraying the defunders. This means the full force of the defund-Obamacare movement – which is itself very well funded by rabid grassroots conservatives eager to save the country from the final socialistic blow of Obamacare — will come down on the handful of Senate Republicans who hold its fate in their hands. The old plan at least let angry conservatives blame Democrats for blocking their goal of defunding Obamacare. Now the defunders can turn their rage against fellow Republicans, creating a fratricidal, revolution-eats-its-own bloodletting.

There’s a famous, likely apocryphal, quote attributed to Napoleon: Never interfere with your enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself. But Cruz’ filibuster yesterday had nothing to do with actually stopping the law from taking effect, it had to do with two things: Getting campaign contributions and positioning himself as the One True Conservative for 2016.

17 comments

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  1. 1
    John Pieret

    I distinctly remember saying “Never stop your enemy from shooting himself in the foot” so you can quote me instead.

  2. 2
    zero6ix

    “I do not like it, Barack I Am! I do not like your healthcare plan!”

    From the filibuster. From a guy that wants to be taken super cereal.

  3. 3
    dingojack

    Can we stone Senator ‘Cruise missile’ to death now? I mean working on the Sabbath that’s a definite no-no, right? *
    Dingo
    ——–
    * or does that only apply to Democrats? Funny how the Scriptures never mentioned that

  4. 4
    Raging Bee

    Ted Cruz is stealing Newt Gingrich’s act: play the Wise Elder Statesman by complaining about a problem, while eagerly continuing to be part (or cause) of the problem, both before, during and after the time when you’re complaining about the problem. I, for one, was never fooled by either one of those extremist pretenders.

  5. 5
    Who Knows?

    I enjoy saying “I told you so.” So, I will remind you that I said Ted Cruz was in no way a voice of reason in that original post.

  6. 6
    caseloweraz

    ObamaCare must be shut down
    Say Repubs, with no aim to clown.
    “It’s all ineffective,
    Deserving invective!”
    So they’ll vote, then politically drown.

  7. 7
    Jordan Genso

    It’s not a filibuster. It’s Cruz realizing that the Senate was going to be voting on it at the regularly scheduled day & time, and there was nothing he could actually do to stop it. But he realized that vote was a day away, so he could trick conservatives into thinking he tried to stop it by giving a very long and pointless speech beginning the day before.

    It’s not a filibuster if you have to stop speaking because the Senate has a vote scheduled, it’s just a farce.

    Also, he read Green Eggs and Ham during his speech, as though the moral of the story (an individual is stringently opposed to something that he has never tried, thinking he would dislike it “on a boat, with a goat, etc”, but then once he tries it, he realizes it is not bad at all) is completely lost on him and what that means in the context of the Obamacare debate.

  8. 8
    Trebuchet

    Also, he read Green Eggs and Ham during his speech, as though the moral of the story (an individual is stringently opposed to something that he has never tried, thinking he would dislike it “on a boat, with a goat, etc”, but then once he tries it, he realizes it is not bad at all) is completely lost on him and what that means in the context of the Obamacare debate.

    Yeah, that was the first thing I noticed as well. He’s just trying to get his face on TV and re-establish his lunatic cred, after his fellow thugs blasted him for speaking semi-sensibly and saying the bill couldn’t pass — while also saying, in the same sentence, that the House R’s should stick to their guns.

  9. 9
    magistramarla

    Even just preparing for the possible shutdown that this fool is advocating costs government agencies, thus the taxpayers, a lot of money. I propose that we take those costs out of Cruz’ paycheck, and when that runs out, we should begin taking it out of the paychecks of the tpers in the Senate who supported his diatribe.

  10. 10
    cptdoom

    @ Jordan Genso (#7) and Trebuchet (#8) – Green Eggs and Ham was always presented to me, when I was a child, as about kids who refuse to try new foods. Clearly the parallel between petulant children who refuse to even try something new and the current GOP seems pretty apt as well.

    Of course, we learned this afternoon that Raphael “born in Canada” Cruz’ declaration to “speak until he could no longer stand” really meant “until my previously scheduled interview with Rush Limbaugh” at 1PM today.

  11. 11
    Reginald Selkirk

    Senate votes 100-0 to move ahead on debate over Obamacare
    100-0? It was unanimous. That means Cruz joined the vote to shut down his “filibuster.”
    Street theater.

  12. 12
    Reginald Selkirk

    Dr. Suess

    Geisel was a liberal Democrat and a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.

    It is said that when he went to register to vote in La Jolla, some Republican friends called him over to where they were registering voters, but Geisel said, “You, my friends, are over there, but I am going over here [to the Democratic registration].”

  13. 13
    cottonnero

    The version I remember is “Never interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of making a mistake.”

  14. 14
    Synfandel

    My fellow non-Americans… I thought “cloture” was a typo until I saw it four times in the item. I looked it up and I stand corrected. “Cloture” is an American term that means “closure”.

  15. 15
    exdrone

    Synfandel,
    .
    Bien sûr. “Clôture”, c’est le mot juste.

  16. 16
    exdrone

    It’s good to see that McCain spoke out against Cruz’s Godwin comment.

  17. 17
    eric

    The flip (from opposing useless opposition to holding a mock filibuster in support of it) is what’s most interesting to me. Specifically, I wonder whether the primary decision to flip came from his own staff office or the GOP machine (or I guess some third option). If its internal, that’s an interesting gauge of how a potential presidential candidate sees the base. If it’s external, it probably doesn’t mean as much; it just means he’s bought (which most of them are).

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