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After talking the talk, Ted Cruz wins

Posted: September 29, 2013 - 4:42pm

Long ago, Ted Cruz earned the hatred of every elected Democrat in Washington. Now, he’s on his way to doing the same with nearly every Republican. Soon, it will be almost a clean sweep.

He is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill’s quip about Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a bull who carries a china shop with him. He had barely begun his 21-hour filibuster — or, to be strictly precise, 21-hour-long speech — when he compared his doubters to appeasers of Adolf Hitler, and he ended it roughly a day later with a prickly exchange with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Cruz eye-rollers had plenty of occasions to roll their eyes — perhaps no senator has caused so many colleagues to mutter under their breaths in his first eight months in the world’s greatest deliberative body — but the conservative grass roots cheered. They are desperate for passion and, above all, fight, and Cruz delivered them during his long hours holding forth on C-SPAN2.

We should stipulate upfront that he is not going to defund Obamacare. As a legislative strategy, the defund effort is far-fetched to the point of absurdity. The theory is that on the cusp of or after a government shutdown, pressure becomes so intense on Democrats that Reid buckles and passes a measure defunding Obamacare, and Barack Obama signs it.

Let’s put aside for the moment that Democrats believe — probably rightly — that Republicans will be blamed for any shutdown. Why would a little downside political risk in the current confrontation move them? We’re talking about a party that spent decades trying to pass something like Obamacare and a president who was content to lose his House majority over it.

The Cruz all-nighter wasn’t a legislative tactic so much as it was what 19th-century anarchists called “the propaganda of the deed.” It made a point. It dramatically reaffirmed Republican resolve to repealing Obamacare. It drove more debate about the health-care law. It perhaps opened up space for more realistic immediate Republican goals, such as a delay in the individual mandate, in the impending fiscal fights.

It also saved Cruz’s reputation among the tea-party conservatives. The House passed its defunding measure in a passive-aggressive mood, as if to say, “All right, big guy, you wanted this — now let’s see what you can do with it.” The reaction in the House when Cruz said the measure didn’t have the votes in the Senate was anger combined with schadenfreude at his presumed comeuppance. Rarely have so many harsh background quotes been given to so many reporters with such glee.

By spending nearly an entire day attacking Obamacare on the Senate floor, though, Cruz demonstrated enough gutsiness to take the sting out of his imminent defeat.

In the longer run, the outcome in the short term is irrelevant to Cruz’s stature as a conservative leader. No one asked whether Ronald Reagan had successfully blocked the ratification of the Panama Canal Treaty in 1977 when he ran for president in 1980. For that matter, no one asked whether Sen. Barack Obama had successfully defunded the Iraq War in 2007 when he ran for president in 2008.

Obama’s example is instructive: When before have we heard of a new senator capturing the imagination of his party’s base, establishing an unimpeachable standard of purity on a hot-button issue absolutely essential to it and beginning to run for president shortly after arriving on the national scene?

Who knows whether Cruz ultimately tries the same thing. But the scoffers are probably the same kind of people who chuckled at backbencher Newt Gingrich giving speeches to an empty House chamber on C-SPAN so many decades ago. Gingrich was playing an outside game, and so is Cruz. The disdain for him among insiders will be inversely related to the admiration for him among the much more important outsiders.

They will sustain him in a crusade against Obamacare that, alas, will extend long beyond this fall’s fiscal fights.

Rich Lowry can be reached via e-mail:

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JohnPeterZenger 09/30/13 - 09:25 am
Rich Lowry again?

The only thing Cruz won is the chance to be the most idiotic [filtered word] leader ever.

Yet here is the Clarion once again feeding this pap to it's readers as if it actually had any merit.

Shame on you editors. You've done another disservice to your readers.

Norseman 09/30/13 - 09:54 am
cruz wins? That's like

cruz wins? That's like saying the south won the civil war.

I agree with JPZ on lowry. Why this paper chooses to reprint this idiots garbage is beyond me.

What is of interest is the complete disarray of the republican party. The special interest groups that now comprise the republican party all hate each other.
Each night I grab a bag of popcorn and watch the republican follies.
Watching cruz recite Dr Seuss and ramble on for 21 hours, and then VOTE YES on exactly what he was promoting against confirmed the guy was a fool and an idiot.

I still love what bobby jindal said about his party, "Us republicans have got to quit being the stupid party."

Apparently cruz and lowry didn't get the message......

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 09/30/13 - 04:41 pm
I appreciate the Clarion

I appreciate the Clarion printing these letters and hope they continue to do so.

Localmrs 10/01/13 - 01:11 am
Ted Cruz is my hero!

The only liberals in Kenai love trolling the Clarion comments. Makes me wonder what you all do for a living and how you have so much time on your hands. Hey you can say it, text it, type it or spray it anyway that you want. It's not going to change the facts. Ted Cruz is a freakin rockstar!

bob99507 10/03/13 - 10:59 am
Cruz id what he said he would

Cruz id what he said he would do he may not have impressed the libs but they are not the ones who elected him he.He didn't lie so libs are confused

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/03/13 - 11:59 am
Many people are afraid to

Many people are afraid to take a stand against evil which is being projected as good, Cruz was not and I commend his efforts to slow down this Abominations destructive end for ALL of America from absolute economic collapse from this spending frenzy now nearing $17 Trillion.
Fear has always been a crippler or a promoter for action needed to stop evils spread, take the WWII Vets comments at their memorial as they said they did their jobs, government needs to do theirs and stop the games.
Fear either produces a stand and fight, or a take flight and escape attitude and we all must decide alone what is right or true and go with that until proved different by facts to change our minds. Some people never change though in spite of all the truth surrounding them which proves their error. Pride is a downfall of many a good intentioned person to realize their error and repent. Trust me here I know this first hand and it's tough, very tough. Which side will each of us be on is the question here. Yes there are sides of right or wrong in almost every issue mankind faces daily in this struggle of life and we must all make one or the other, either Freely or by force that's the Law of life.

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