Dave Weigel, “Ted Cruz: Filibustering the Continuing Resolution and Shutting Down the Government Will Be Great for Republicans“:
The Heritage Foundation, still making amends for its old advocacy of a health care mandate, played host to Sen. Ted Cruz [Tuesday] for a talk about the “defund Obamacare” movement. It was the latest in a run of conservative media appearances for Cruz; anyone who’d heard what he told Glenn Beck or Fox & Friends got a preview of what he’d tell conservative bloggers…
“The Obama White House operates on the assumption Republicans will surrender on every major issue,” said Cruz. What he needed were 63 days of Republican activists putting the fear into the party if it didn’t defund Obamacare, and great communicators shifting the blame for a shutdown from Republicans to Obama. “If we got to this fight, they ought to be on television every hour of the day, asking: Why is President Obama shutting down your government, because he’s so committed to forcing Obamacare on you?”
To make that point, Cruz argued that the 1995 government shutdown really didn’t hurt the GOP in the long run. They won “years of balanced budgets,” and in the 1996 election, they held Congress. “The sort of cocktail chatter wisdom that, oh, the shutdown was a disaster for Republicans, is not borne out by the data.”…
Jonathan Bernstein, in the Washington Post, reminds us that “Why, yes, Ted Cruz is a demagogue“:
How, if you are Ted Cruz, do you win the Republican nomination for president? You follow the same path that you used to win an upset nomination for the Senate. Cruz can’t really go to the right; there are essentially no issue differences that he can open up between himself and the bulk of the Republican field. Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, to name but a few, will match Cruz and each other step-by-step as they compete for who is the real conservative in the race.
No, it’s not going to be substance. Instead, Cruz will use the tried-and-true strategy of calling the rest of the party weaklings and wimps. And so [Monday] he blasted Republicans for refusing to sign on to the insane plan to shut down the government until Barack Obama and the Democrats surrender and eliminate the Affordable Care Act.
Insane? Well, as a tactic to actually get anything done, sure….
As a way to separate himself from the pack at the expense of his fellow Republicans, however, Cruz’s tactics are hardly insane. They’re irresponsible, but if Cruz doesn’t have the willingness to demagogue, then he’s just a brand new Republican Senator with nothing to show for his first six months in office, and no plans to add anything substantive to his record before his already-begun presidential run. So expect plenty more of this in the months to come. After all, it may be hurtful for the nation and destructive for his party, but it’s a lot easier than actually doing real (conservative) policy work.
The obvious template for Cruz here is Newt Gingrich, shutting down the federal government in 1995. That didn’t work out so well for the country, or even for his fellow Republicans, but it did cement Newt’s lifelong prosperity as one of the lead spokes-grifters on the Wingnut Welfare Wurlitzer. Money for nothing, and the
chicks media are free!…
But I’m getting the impression that Cruz is so impressed with his new “gravitas” that he’s fallen for his own hype (traditionally the professional grifter’s greatest pitfall), and now sees himself following in the footsteps of quite a different role model. Hey, if a brand-new Senator from an unimportant Midwestern state can rocket to the White House and a Nobel Peace Prize in just four years, why not a sterling fellow like Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz?