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“Diary Of A Legislative Terrorist”: Ted Cruz Goes Nuclear Against His Own Party To Save His Own Skin

After months of attempting to tie the continued funding of the government to his demand that the Affordable Care Act be demolished, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is now coming face to face with what happens to demagogues who write political checks they can never hope to cash—and it isn’t pretty.

With a strategy that is now crumbling beneath his feet, it is all too clear that Ted Cruz made one heck of a miscalculation—one that promises to put an end to a budding political career that many believed would lead all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So, how did it happen?

It began with Mr. Cruz placing a populist bet that he could use the August town hall season to change the math on Capitol Hill while enlisting millions to his ultimate cause—his candidacy to become President of the United States in 2016.

As the Texas Senator likely saw it, he could swoop in on the gatherings of like-minded, adoring members of his base and, by using the media to spread his message, convince watching independents that the Affordable Care act was so detrimental to the nation’s future that there was no legislative action—no matter how radical or extreme—that should be avoided in the quest to rid the country of the scourge of healthcare reform.

If Cruz’s efforts somehow succeeded beyond what most would have viewed as a rational expectation and the Senator was able to force enough Republican votes—and maybe even a few Democratic votes—to his way of thinking, Cruz would be portrayed as a great and heroic warrior.

This would be true even if there were, ultimately, insufficient votes for Cruz to win the battle.

And if his fellow Republicans in the Senate chose not to go along with his tactics, the Senator would, at the least, depart the town hall circuit with pockets full of publicity and legions of adoring minions who would henceforth view him as a great leader willing to fall on his own sword while appearing to bravely ignore his own political future if that is what it took to save his country from the evils of Obamacare.

It wasn’t a completely insane gambit.

The problem, however, was that Cruz’s entire strategy was dependent upon his expectation that the majority of Americans who continue to dislike the Affordable Care Act (and they do) would be willing to support a government shutdown brought about by Cruz’s effort to tie the destruction of Obamacare to the continuing operations of government.

That is where it all began to fall apart.

It turns out that, while the majority of Americans may continue to view Obamacare with a jaundiced eye, they are not at all prepared to accept Cruz’s radical, ‘take no prisoners’ approach as a solution.

With right-leaning publications like “Hot Air” screaming headlines like  “Republican poll: Public opposed to a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare, including Republicans”, it began to dawn on the Texas Senator that he had made a serious miscalculation and that being credited with causing a shutdown was not going to be the political bonus he had anticipated.

Cruz reacted as might be expected—he began looking for a way to squirm out of his predicament. Immediately, he turned to boldly stating that any government shutdown would not be his fault—but rather the fault of the President.

Why? Because while he had initially perceived getting the credit for a shutdown to be a good thing, the data revealed he had badly judged the intent of the public. Therefore, he had to find a way to continue his plan while pushing the blame of shutdown to the other side—a tall order leaving Cruz to employ a deeply flawed logic that could only appeal to the lowest of low-information voters when attempting to sell us on the idea that this would all be Obama’s fault.

But having discovered the great flaw in his grand design, Cruz really had nowhere else to go.

If you, somehow, remain unclear as to the absurdity of Cruz’s attempt to argue that a shutdown would fall on the shoulders of the White House, consider that this logic would be akin to someone pointing a gun to the head of your puppy before turning to you and demanding that, if you want to save your hapless pooch, you must hand over to him your child’s entire college fund which you have been contributing to for some twenty years.

When you, understandably, refuse to make the trade—despite the fact that you could give the perpetrator the entire fund and deny your child her dreams for the future in order to save the pup—the perpetrator follows through on his terrible deed and then blames you for the death of the poor little puppy. Why? Because he gave you the chance to save the dog’s life and it was within your power to do so, no matter how repugnant. Never mind that the perpetrator had no right to put your dog’s life into the balance in the first place.

Thus, by Cruz’s logic, because the President will not destroy his own law, duly passed by Congress, signed into law by that President and adjudicated legal by the United States Supreme Court, and all because a first term Senator and a few of his friends demand he do so, the fault for the resulting threatened punishment is on the President —not on Cruz himself.

There were additional flaws in Ted Cruz’s grand plan.

Faced with a public that does not favor closing up government in order to extract the end of the President’s signature legislation, the likelihood of persuading Cruz’s fellow Republicans in the Senate to go along with his strategy drops to near zero. While it was always a pipedream to imagine that there would ever have been enough votes in the Senate to make Cruz’s dreams of Obamacare defunding come true—even if a majority of voters supported the notion—without a public hunger for extreme measures, any hope Cruz might have harbored for Senate support were—and are–doomed.

And if, by some miracle, Cruz could use public sentiment to turn enough Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to his way of thinking, hell would freeze over before the President of the United States would go along with any continuing resolution that includes the destruction of his own, signature legislation.

As Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) put it, “It’s awfully hard to repeal Obamacare when a guy named Obama is President.”

While Senator Cruz certainly would have relished an ultimate victory that included defunding Obamacare, he surely knew this was an unlikely result to his campaign. But his true objective, despite his falsely courageous protestations otherwise, was never to actually pull off the death of Obamacare—rather, his objective was to portray himself as a committed leader who was willing and able to single-handedly shut down the government in a greater cause. Cruz was placing this bet in the belief that were he to earn the credit for a government shutdown over the Obamacare issue, he would become a true hero in the hearts and minds not only of the Republican base—but the millions of independent Americans who both object to Obamacare and would not be personally affected by a shuttering of the government.

Who knew the public would show such disdain for Cruz’s tactics?

Realizing that Cruz had put his penchant for demagoguery ahead of the fortunes of his own party, key Republican leaders, both inside and outside of government, began to speak up and to do so loudly.

Karl Rove published an op-ed taking Cruz—and other Republicans who would favor a shutdown—to task for being willing to inflict the serious political damage such an action would cause the Republican Party. As for the elected ‘insiders’, we’ve learned that Fox Fox News Sunday talk show host Chris Wallace was flooded with reams of opposition research aimed at Cruz as Wallace prepared for yesterday’s show—all of which was provided by Republicans!

Ted Cruz’s response to his massive failure?

Speaking during his appearance on the Fox Sunday show, Cruz said—

“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. 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.”

What that means is that Ted Cruz now plans on taking his party down with him by using a procedural tactic in the Senate that would brand any Republican voting for cloture—thereby agreeing to send the House bill to a vote of the Senate where it will surely be defeated—as a ‘supporter’ of Obamacare.

And if the Senate Republicans were to buckle to Cruz and refuse to vote in favor of cloture, the House Bill will remain stalled in the Senate and the government will shut down with the Republicans clearly taking all the blame.

Either way, Cruz has now created a lose-lose scenario for his Republican colleagues in the Senate that either brings an unwanted government shutdown or invites a never-ending flurry of primary challenges to his GOP cohorts…and all to save whatever credibility Ted Cruz might still be hanging onto with a narrow slice of the GOP base.

All of this brings us to one, inescapable conclusion…Ted Cruz is desperate.

How bad is it?

As one House GOP aide put it, “Nancy Pelosi is more well-liked around here.”

Ouch.

 

By: Rick Ungar, Op-Ed Contributor, Forbes, September 23, 2013

September 24, 2013 - Posted by | Government Shut Down | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Ye Olde Soapbox.

    Like

    Comment by Michael B. Calyn | September 25, 2013 | Reply


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