On Tuesday and into Wednesday afternoon, Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) took to the Senate floor to address his opposition to the Affordable Care Act of 2010 or as it is called "ObamaCare."
Senator Cruz's speech was nothing more than political grandstanding at its worst.
Let's address some issues with his speech.
Some have compared Senator Cruz's speech to State Senator Wendy Davis's (D, SD-10) filibuster. Senator Davis was filibustering to prevent legislation from passing while Senator Cruz was not. There was no legislation proposed at the time the JUNIOR Senator from Texas took the floor. The US Senate had concluded its business for the day and allowed for speeches. Cruz was talking until Noon (ET) Wednesday per the rules of the US Senate. So this was FAR from a filibuster. Any senator could've had the floor in the 21 hours that Cruz spoke.
State Senator Davis was trying to protect women's health care and find ways to achieve consensus from her fellow Senators about how to solve the real problems face Texans. Senator Davis had the support (literally and figuratively) of her Democratic colleagues. Senator Cruz... while he took questions from his fellow senators, they hate him. No surprise, Democrats are not too crazy about him. But among Republicans...
I'm not a fan of Senator McCain's politics but good on him for telling folks what he really feels about the JUNIOR Senator from Texas. Republicans have both publically and privately expressed their dislike of the JUNIOR Senator from Texas. Again, Senator McCain (R-AZ) called the likes of Cruz and Paul a bunch of "Wacko Birds."
Oh and Senator Cruz took a break an hour into his speech. Senator Davis did not.
Even C-SPAN pointed out that this was NOT a filibuster.
(1/4) In traditional definition of a filibuster, what Sen. Cruz is doing does not qualify.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 24, 2013
(2/4) A true filibuster is designed to delay a vote or advance of a bill.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 24, 2013
(3/4) Sen. Reid set a procedural vote in motion yesterday. That vote is set to occur an hour after the Senate comes in on Wednesday.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 24, 2013
(4/4) Therefore, Sen. Cruz can talk btw now and whenever the vote occurs Wednesday. But he is not delaying action.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 24, 2013
Another issue was how quickly his speech enacted Godwin's Law:
Health care reform is NOTHING like a totalitarian regime located in 1930s and 1940s Europe that enacted laws to restrict the civil rights of religious minorities and leading to pursuing a policy of mass extermination of said religious minorities.
Using Senator Cruz's "logic": We all know that Hitler gave speeches. And Ted Cruz gave a speech. So therefore...
And Senator Cruz was a debate champion at Princeton and graduated from Harvard Law. Think about that for a second. I wonder if those schools are going to ask him to return his degrees after the bull he spouted on the Senate floor.
Senator Cruz claims that ObamaCare will kill jobs. How about the sequester?
We stood our ground and finally got at least the first small step, and I underscore it's a small step, to reigning in our uncontrollable spending and debt.
- Senator Ted Cruz, CPAC 2013
The Sequester will not only put a dent into the economic recovery with the furlough of government employees and is estimated to cost 1.6 million jobs going into FY2014 according to the CBO but it has also impacted the capability of our military. The service academies are reportedly dropping classes for cadets and midshipmen due to the sequestration. These men and women are the future leaders in our military and we need to ensure that they not only have the physical tools for war fighting but also the educational tools.
Speaking of the physical tools, one thing I have been keeping an eye on is the strength of our carrier fleet as I was a former carrier sailor. The sequestration could reduce the size of our current carrier fleet from 11 to as low as 8 by sending the USS George Washington (CVN-73), USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) into early retirement. And retiring those three carriers won't be cheap. See the N in CVN? Those are nuclear powered ships. You can't just mothball them and be done with it. You have to remove the nuclear fuel and store that somewhere and the associated systems that support the reactor in the reactor compartment have to be removed and stored someplace too.
Speaking of killing jobs, how about the last time we had a debate over shutting down the government and defaulting on our loans? How much did that impact the economy again?
And where was Ted Cruz and his outrage over these job killing provisions?
True, he wasn't in the Senate, but where was his outrage that he is expressing now?
Then there was the reading of "Green Eggs and Ham." Well, on the plus side, Dr. Seuss is now in the Congressional Record.
The story is about a guy who is being pursued by another guy named Sam-I-Am to eat green eggs and ham. The guy expresses his OUTRAGE about why he doesn't like the dish.
He would not eat them on a boat or with a goat. In the rain or on a train. Not in the dark! Not in a tree! Not in a car! Not in a box or with a fox. Hr will not eat them in a house with a mouse. He does not like them here or there. He does not like them ANYWHERE!
He does not like them green eggs and ham! He does not like them Sam-I-am.
Here is the thing about "Green Eggs and Ham" that Senator Cruz completely misses.
Turn to the end of the book and you find the lesson of the story in this exchange between the two main characters.
You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may I say.
If you will let me be,
I will try them.
You will see.
(eats the green eggs and ham)
I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat.
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!
So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANHYWHERE!
I do so like
green eggs and ham!
The lesson from "Green Eggs and Ham" is if you try new things you might end up liking them.
Why are Republicans SO against "ObamaCare" despite not giving it a chance for implementation? The smart thing to do would be to let "ObamaCare" go as scheduled and then if it bombs campaign against it in 2014 and 2016. And even that might not be a likely strategy as folks are reaping the benefits of "ObamaCare." During the Kentucky State Fair, a gentleman was signing up for KYnect (pronounced connect) which is the state's health benefit exchange established under "ObamaCare."
"This beats Obamacare I hope," he said.
Boy will he be in for a surprise.
One other thing was the senator being loose with the facts. Senator Cruz was telling the story about how a Rutgers University student ended up in so much debt because of "ObamaCare."
Except none of that was remotely close to being true.
In fact the student he cited recognizes that "ObamaCare" has its faults (no public option) but is supportive of the law as it keeps him and his sister on his parents' insurance plan until they turn 26. About his sister, she won't be denied coverage because she is a woman. The Rutgers student is 22-year old John Connelly, who described himself as left of the Democratic Party on social and economic issues, says, "Maybe (Senator Cruz) should’ve spent less time reading Dr. Seuss and more time looking into the policies that he’s talking about."
So after the 21 hour talk-a-thon, what was the final result?
Yup, Senator Cruz voted against Senator Cruz when it came time to proceed to debate.
And the Senate overcame the filibuster to end debate by a 79-19 vote and then voted 54-44 in favor of a continuing resolution on Friday that strips out the defunding "ObamaCare" language which means it will go back to the House for a vote that could decide whether we have a government shutdown or not.
And here is what I am getting at.
The NY Times Editorial said it best about Senator Cruz's little talk:
In just the first hour of his speech, Mr. Cruz said his fellow senators were no more sincere than professional wrestlers and that accepting the health law was like appeasing the Nazis. His own goal of tearing down the law, he said, was a dream on par with President John F. Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon. This combination of grandiosity and pure nastiness helps explain why the senator has become the least popular man in Washington.
But it also shows why the Tea Party’s plans will inevitably fail. Americans may remain confused about the health law, but they aren’t interested in a government shutdown or credit default to get rid of it. Mr. Cruz may love the spotlight, but, when it fades, he will find he was only speaking to himself.
Senator Cruz's "speech" was hollow and demonstrates what the Republican Party today is all about: They have nothing to offer the American people.
"ObamaCare" will happen despite Republicans and their Tea Party supporters bitching and moaning about how this bill and law is being rammed down Americans' throats. The government could shutdown on Monday, but "ObamaCare" will still happen.
In March 2010 majorities of both Chambers of Congress passed it despite efforts from the Tea Party to intimidate members of Congress, the insurance industry to mislead people, and Republicans trying to sabotage President Obama's legislative agenda. The bill went to President Obama and it became law.
In June 2012, the Supreme Court weighed in on the law's constitutionality and it was settled by a majority of members of the court. Despite what Senator Rand Paul says (who is NOT a constitutional lawyer by any means), "ObamaCare" was determined to pass the constitutional test by a conservative leaning court with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority.
And most importantly the Presidential election finally settled the debate in November 2012. One of the platforms that Mitt Romney and all of the other Republican candidates for the nomination were campaigning on: Repeal "ObamaCare."
And one of the great ironies was that Republicans ended up nominating the ORIGINAL author of "ObamaCare:" Mitt Romney.
And Obama defeated him pretty convincingly.
Popular Vote: Obama 51-47
Let's roll that clip again of Ohio being called.
The debate of "ObamaCare" has been long settled. If Republicans want to partake in the process to make it better, offer a solution to improve it instead of "Defund ObamaCare." The previous 42 votes in the House to "Defund ObamaCare" are nothing more than empty gestures to satisfy their base and give their party SOMETHING to run on in future elections because they really have NOTHING to run on.
The House could take on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) which could improve the party's stance when it comes to the growing Latino/Hispanic population, but they are deciding not to. It might serve as a short term goal in winning state level elections and keeping the US House, but in the long term it could serve as an Electoral College disaster at the Presidential level.
How about the Employee Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) which could begin the process of improving the GOP's position when it comes to LGBTs? Instead, no. As shown in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases decided over the summer, demonization of LGBTs are on the way out.
Or the fact that the House could pass a bill that could improve and rebuild the country's infrastructure and give people jobs if they put in the same effort to do so as they have with repealing "ObamaCare." But no, because the Republican Party believes that "Government doesn't create jobs" when in fact the Constitution did create their jobs as members of Congress (Article I, Section 2 and 3).
If Senator Cruz wants to rehash the "ObamaCare" debate then he should have been in Congress back in March 2010. He wasn't addressing the 26 million people in Texas as he mentioned at the start of his speech. He was addressing his constituents in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. This was nothing more than a 21 hour stump speech that sets him apart from the other 2016 Republican candidates for President.
Senator Cruz is trying to court the wing of his party that believes that Sarah Palin is still a viable candidate. That might serve him well in a primary but when it comes time to step out into the reality that is a general election it will prove to be disastrous and the Republican Party repeats about "We didn't win this election this time because the voters are (some insult toward the voters)."
Ted Cruz on Tuesday and Wednesday showed us what it as all about. It's just a show for his upcoming and soon to be unsuccessful run for President in 2016.