As the country lurches towards another possible government shutdown, the fight over Obamacare is heating up in the Senate. Starting at 2:30 pm yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched into a nearly 24 hour tirade against the unpopular healthcare reform law. While most of the time he was on topic, he did occasionally veer into non sequitors and pop culture references. He even did his best Darth Vader impression.
However, what Senator Cruz did cannot be called a filibuster. He didn’t stop or delay anything, and the Senate voted a few hours ago to end debate on the motion to proceed for the House bill that would fund the government. Then tomorrow comes the actual vote to proceed on the House bill, followed by a vote to end debate on the House bill, followed by the vote to amend the House bill to remove the prohibition on the funding of Obamacare, and finally the vote on the bill itself. As you can see, the Senate really likes to vote. A lot.
Senator Cruz has been trying to throw a monkey wrench into this process and so far he hasn’t had much success. However, he has managed to anger a good deal of his Republican colleagues. One by one GOP Senators have expressed their unwillingness to shut down the government over this issue. This result of this has been name calling and a lot of bad blood going around.
If the Republicans want to be the governing party in this country, they need to stop the craziness. There is no way a government shutdown would lead to the end of Obamacare. When the government grinds to a halt and it’s the President versus Congress, the President always wins. Always. The GOP will cave sooner or later and not only will Obamacare still be in place, but they will have handed the Democrats a political gift that keeps on giving. Simply put, a shutdown is a suicidal move for the Republicans.
But the ideologues like Ted Cruz don’t even seem to care. They want to make a statement and they don’t care what gets destroyed in the process. For them it’s not about results but rather emotion. Sure, they could work hard to develop an effective alternative to Obamacare and sell it to the American people. But it is way more satisfying for them to grandstand with a war of words against Democrats in a do or die battle for the future of America.
Frankly, I don’t know if Cruz is dumb enough to think he’s doing the right thing or cynical enough not to care. I believe that it’s the former, but you can’t ever be sure with a politician, especially ones with presidential ambitions. That being said, GOP better hope it’s the latter because while you can reason with a cynic, you can’t fix stupid.