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Cruz, In Control.

February 24, 2014

After reading the columns excoriating Ted Cruz for his threat to filibuster the Senate, I hear that John Lenon song in the back of my mind and I start to sing, “What if there was no Party.”  Referring to the Republican party, of course, I allow myself to dream.  What if there were no Republican “establishment?”  What if Republicans were all Conservatives?  What if, when Ted Cruz, the “junior” Senator from Texas, stood up on the floor of the Senate and expressed his objection to Obamacare, every last one of the  Republican Senators stood with him, in solidarity?  What would that accomplish?  Thomas Sowell called Cruz’s strategy “rule-or-ruin,” in his recent essay criticizing Sen. Cruz.  I do not agree; I don’t believe that rule-or-ruin accurately describes Cruz’s strategy at all.

Only someone with limited intelligence would truly believe that s/he could win a the battle to rescind Obamacare in a senate controlled by Harry Reid.  Sen. Cruz is not a man of limited intelligence.  And neither is Dr. Sowell, but in this argument I think Dr. Sowell is swayed by what he sees as Sen Cruz’s “self-interest.”  What is Sen Cruz’s interest in fighting a law that will change one-sixth of our economy?  He probably doesn’t want to lose his doctor!  Seriously, Dr. Sowell answers his own question.  He says that, “Freshman Senator Ted Cruz says many things that need to be said and says them well. Moreover, some of these things are what many, if not most, Americans believe wholeheartedly.”  This would probably suffice, to attribute standing up for constituent beliefs as the motive to fillibuster in opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but there is a desire among conservatives promoting party unity to ascribe devious motives to Sen. Cruz’s actions.  Neither does the “ruin” part of Dr. Sowell’s strategic equation explain Sen. Cruz’ actions.  No Senator who starts a fillibuster, especially in this Senate, honestly believes that s/he will somehow bring the United States government to its knees!  Yet some of my favorite conservative pundits get weak in the knees when a single Senator from Texas fillibusters an issue that 65% of Americans believe in!

Rand Paul filibustered against the NSA gathering information on private U.S. citizens last fall.  Did Sen. Paul think that he was going to win the “battle” of the fillibuster?  Of course not, but he did it in order to focus American attention on the issue.  Can you imagine the kind of attention the Republicans could have focused on the ACA?  It was already going to be a disastrous roll-out, and the Senate could have been railing against the new bureacracy and attacking the cronyism found in the website development bidding process.  Instead, those crafty Republicans threw Ted Cruz under the bus claimimg that some how, Ted Cruz was ruining the re-election chances of weaker Republican candidates.  The only people hurting those candidates chances of re-election are the weak-kneed candidates themselves!  Sixty-five percent (!) of the American people dislike this law and the Republican party is worried how a good fight will affect its candidates re-election chances?  Baffling.

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