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Belmont Club

Ted Cruz: A Toe in the Waters of Defiance

September 25th, 2013 - 12:33 pm

The status quo falls apart when people discover, first to their surprise, then to their glee, that it’s lost its teeth. The presidency of Barack Obama appears to be unraveling. Whether the yarn will be pulled out to the last inch remains to be seen, but a lot of it is already coiled on the floor. First the UK Parliament and then both parties of Congress balked at his Syrian policy. Then Putin humiliated him so badly internationally that he retreated to the safety of domestic policy.

But while resting between rounds, he was immediately beset by his own cornerpeople. Taking cynical advantage of his weakness, a cabal of Democratic Party activists rejected his candidate for the Federal Reserve, Larry Summers, and foisted on him a candidate of their own.

The liberal activists may have thought they had the exclusive franchise on defying Obama, but success breeds imitation. Once the hyenas see the lion is unable to resist, then more, and not fewer, pile on. Thus it was not long before Obama’s hatchet person in the IRS, Lois Lerner, announced she was retiring, probably hoping she would be forgotten in the confusion. There are even reports she is negotiating with investigators for immunity against prosecution.

But worse was to come. Obama, having sent Sultan Qaboos with a “penpal” letter for Rouhani, saw the Iranian leader respond by pointedly snubbing Obama, declining to meet him at the UN  ”for lunch,” or to have even a handshake “encounter.” Rouhani boarded a plane home having refused to meet the president of a country he had just visited, and demonstrating to all and sundry you could beard the president of the U.S. on his own home turf without apparent consequences.

That was the context in which Ted Cruz started his long, filibuster-like speech in the Senate against Obamacare.

Cruz has trod on center stage and shouted the politically unsayable, probably having made the calculation that if there were a moment to defy Obama, that time was now. And as Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner writes, Cruz’s speech was also a play for the leadership of the Republican Party: if not for the GOP as an organization, then at least for the party as an idea.

For years, it has been led by what Tapscott calls “Arthur Larson’s policy of accommodation.” Cruz, by going very publicly out on a limb, by embarking on what in days past would be considered a “career ending” move, is betting that the policy of accommodation is ripe for the challenge:

The aim of Larson’s brand of Republicanism was to make peace with FDR, “to rationalize and reform the New Deal rather than repeal it.” Republicans would not repeal the New Deal, they would simply deliver it more efficiently than Democrats.

For better or worse, Larson distilled the essential inspiration for the moderate wing of the GOP epitomized by Nelson Rockefeller and Gerald Ford against the grass-roots populism of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Senate GOPers who follow their lead will appear to be opposing Obamacare, but in reality will effectively be protecting President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

Since the policy of accomodation is the dogma of the current Republican leadership, in toppling it Cruz will also have toppled them. Can he do it?

There is in Cruz’s flagrant transgression against the “norms” an element of risk. He is counting on “something in the air.” That something was typified by the flat refusal of a University of Wisconsin-Madison teaching assistant and Ph.D. student to attend a “diversity training session” and transgender awareness session, on the grounds that it was insulting and promoted perversion. He wrote:

I regret that this leaves us in an awkward situation. After having been accused of virulent racism and, now, assured that I will next learn how to parse the taxonomy of “Genderqueers”, I am afraid that I will disappoint those who expect me to attend any further diversity sessions. When a Virginia-based research firm came to campus a couple of years ago to present findings from their study of campus diversity, then-Diversity Officer Damon Williams sent a gaggle of shouting, sign-waving undergraduates to the meeting, disrupting the proceedings so badly that the meeting was cancelled. In a final break with such so-called “diversity”, I will not be storming your office or shouting into a megaphone outside your window. Instead, I respectfully inform you hereby that I am disinclined to join in any more mandatory radicalism. I have, thank God, many more important things to do. I also request that diversity training be made optional for all TAs, effective immediately. In my humble opinion, neither the Department nor the university has any right to subject anyone to such intellectual tyranny.

In days gone by that student’s academic career would have been terminally over, his Ph.D. dreams finished. Now, one is not so sure. From the highest councils of government to the humble classroom, is there something in the air? That remains to be seen.

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Top Rated Comments   
The sh*t is about to hit the fan with the imminent rate increases, layoffs and other "unintended" consequences of Obamacare. When that insurance bill arrives in the mail, the recipient is no longer a "low-information" voter. He is a politician's worst nightmare-a pissed-off constituent who knows exactly where, and with whom, "the buck stops."
There is an ever increasing percentage of the population that are one flat tire away from bankruptcy. They live with a constant, overwhelming sense of fear, anxiety and dread. The only foul-weather gear they have left is made of metal and the thunderstorm is nigh. They are exhausted and more desperate by the day. The only mystery now is how far and wide the excrement will fly.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even if we fired/impeached/tarred and feathered the 536 elected elites who ostensibly run this country, we still have about 2.7 million Federal employees, of which hundreds of thousands can write rules and regulations to torment us and drive the nation into poverty and paralysis.
How do we cull them back to, say a 1980 level of budget and rules set?
Until we deal effectively with the unelected rulers, we're shouting into an empty room.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not so optimistic. We are still very far from a tipping point. Low information folks still constitute the majority and they and the "middling information" folks still form their opinions based on the MSM.

Signs of a tipping point will be the defeat of RINO's in primaries followed by the election of more Cruz types in November. Even that will only be a hint. Only after it becomes safe to make fun of the administration will the tipping point be reached. Even then the MSM will do its utmost to protect them.

The issue before us is not just the weakness of the current President but the fact that he was re-elected. There are tension arcs pulling in opposite directions everywhere we look.

We have more secularism and more fundamentalism; more globalism and more tribalism; more politically correct "sensitivity" and more brutality; more pseudo-connectedness and more alienation (like the kids who text each other while standing only a few feet apart).

So we have an awakening and emerging preference cascade building at the same time we have a growing number of people going to sleep at the governmental teat.

Did we miss the final offramp on the road to decline back in November 2012 or are we about to make a u-turn and revive? I simply can't be optimistic until I see more signs of a true tipping point.

As a young man I used to be optimistic about humanity and pessimistic about people. Now I am fatalistic about humanity but quite optimistic about individual people. Maybe that is just part of growing older.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (134)
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The media willl keep our First Black President propped up. They write the first draft of history and cant allow him to go down as Jimmy Carter II.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm afraid Obama's obituary is premature. He doesn't inhabit a world that most of us can understand; it's a virtual world made up of the smoke of unexamined realities reflected in a mirror which only shows him the image of himself as myth. He has hundreds of people in his immediate circle who find it convenient and profitable to leave him to his looking glass world while they go on about the business of propping up his delusional self while at the same time dismantling our system of government. In any other circumstance he would be recognized as mentally unstable and quietly removed from his duties, but he's too valuable to the network of those who operate in the political netherworld. The perfect stooge, he will remain in office until the end.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The shortest book ever written, The Saga of Barack Hussein Obama II

He's afraid of his wife, so he has not smoked in six years. (ahem)

When Malia asked him, "Have you plugged the hole yet Daddy?", he had to change the subject.

When the Iranians threatened to rape Sasha, he wanted to shake their hand.

Barack "Wussein" Obama

All those female LoFo swing voters are still waiting for a hero

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iovcnjuf2WU
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't see Obama on the ropes yet. Or: objective reality should have him there, but in the spirit of the virtual world (or, as someone wrote below the 'facade'), he is still functioning. Real measurements, real economics, real balances of power, real humiliations by Shiite Twelver spokesmen like Rouhani - what do they matter against the fantasy? Eventually, the laws of political physics may prevail..eventually.

Predictions as to Cruz' future? I have no idea. He is a conservative Republican, so one misstep can turn him into a caricature.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
3 times. Why do we want to 'improve' O'care?
It sucks.
The whole idea of government, federal, state or local, getting involved in delivering health care (as opposed to funding research) sucks.
Better to go to the other end, get government out of the loop.
Costs will go down and, believe it our not, care, in both quality and quantity, for the 'less fortunate' will increase.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Obamacare should be entirely expunged.

If the government wants to help - and there is an argument for that - then they can set up free walk-up hospitals.

And pretty much leave the rest of the system alone.

Let companies sell policies across state lines, portable policies, some limitations on suits - but along with that more enforcement against quacks.

The syste pre-Obamacare needed some serious improvements, ER's closing all over California, what are they supposed to do? There are things that need doing, but almost ANYTHING is 95% cheaper than Obamacare that doesn't pay doctors, it pays bureaucrats.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's easy to come up with ideas to improve Obamacare, I'm sure even most Democrats could do it.

What we have not seen is any politician putting together a *political* argument to do so.

Not even Cruz. Defiance is not a plan.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why is it the obligations of the GOP to improve Obamacare? The ACA was written by Democrat Senate activists in back rooms, versus in the House as Constitutionally required. It was pushed through Christmas Eve 2010 on a party-line vote, without providing Congress the opportunity lawmakers to read the bill, let alone debate it. Why is the GOP supposed to own the problem now? Your logic is in effect, "The Democrats messed this thing up so badly, and the need is so great, that the GOP is beholden to come up with idea's to fix the problem."

It's the opposition's job to oppose, and the majority's job to propose. EVERY BILL that a GOP Senator or Rep has proposed has been "dead on arrival" in both the last (Pelosi) House and the current Senate.

Defiance to Obama's tyranny is not a plan. It's a duty.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a political issue: you can't beat something with nothing.

A leader has to lead.

It's always an issue with conservatives by the very definition of their name, but what I'm saying is it's a marketing issue.

It is a necessity to oppose it, I'm saying that an EFFECTIVE opposition has to be wrapped up in some saleable way, or else your opposition fails. It's therefore your DUTY to find an EFFECTIVE way, rather than just stamping your feet.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The David Frum style of conservativsm, ie rearanging the deck chairs on the USS Titanic in a conservative manner, whilst the Marxists continue steering us towards the iceburg at full steam isnt a saleable plan.

And besides, this is conservative small ball. The big ideas are no longer argued, the Conservative parties in Europe run as better administrators of the giant welfare state. We can run the Marxist Utopia better than the Marxists!

How is that for a saleable idea? Democrat Lite. Ill pass.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's an idea – now hear me out.

Decouple the issues. Pass one bill that excludes Obamacare for three months, and pass a second bill that funds Obamacare for one month. This (1) sets a precedent for future emergency funding bills that exclude Obamacare, (2) defunds Obamacare after one month, and (3) makes President Obama look like an ogre if he says no. Funding Obamacare for only one month would look like an obvious concession to Obama, practically bending over backwards to show a willingness to compromise. In reality, it would leave him empty handed once that month is over. The federal government would be humming along – without funds to implement Obamacare.

Senator Reid may rail against decoupling the issues, but he won't get much sympathy from low information voters. Low information voters will not be able to see what the big fuss is about on whether legislation is passed in one bill or two. There are ways of using inside baseball to make it difficult for even the mainstream media to pin the blame for the coming government shutdown on anybody other than Barack Obama.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
In all the Democrat and GOP RINO spin out there to the effect that Cruz is just "tilting at windmills", that since the Democrats hold the Senate and the Presidency, there's no chance of repeal of the ACA/Obamacare, they miss one point, and deliberately so, I believe.

This thing isn't paid for yet.

A current Congress is Constitutionally prohibited from binding future congresses. In that the ACA was never fully defined in the law, let alone budgeted or paid for, it's not only appropriate but OBLIGATORY for the current Congress to debate the not yet implemented law.

Cruz is doing his job, whereas, the Senate Democrats have failed to do theirs for at least four years (i.e. no budget since 2008).

There is so much Constitutionally wrong about the way the ACA was enacted and the way it has been modified by Executive branch Tzars (not Senate confirmed Cabinet appointees!). Obama and his Democrats have been governing against the will of the people for five years, have been doing end-runs around the Constitution, and it's going to cost them big time.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was very impressed by what Sen Cruz said on Rush's radio show.

He said there was distressed that there was such a defeatist attitude among Republicans in the Senate.

It has come accross to me as laziness among Republicans in the Senate, but defeatism is the real cause.

So maybe Ted Cruz is not Patton, charging across Europe with overwhelming air superiority guarding his flanks. Maybe he's like Marines on Wake Island, determined to take as many Japense with them as they can. Either way, it's a damn sight better than the nominal defeatist attitude up there.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anarchists. Aναρχιστόι. That's what they have been calling those who stand for the laws and founding principles of the Republic. We are the opposite of anarchists—we expect the Constitution and laws and traditions of the Republic to be obeyed even if we must fight to make it so. Anarchists...what idiots.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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