Cruising with Cruz, or Treading Water?


Ted Cruz took the Senate floor yesterday to stand in support of defunding Obamacare, delivering one of the longest Senate speeches in history.

He stands as he professes his dedication toward representing the will of the American people. He calls on Washington to do the same. His epic speech comes one day before the Senate votes on a bill that determines federal spending for Obamacare.

Cruz has stood on the floor for 20 hours at this point, defending what he calls the will of the American people. While many may dispute the truth to such a claim, there is no arguing that he is doing what he thinks is best for the citizens of this country. He is standing as resistance on the slippery slope to a single payer healthcare system in America.

His efforts rallied all of his grassroots supporters around him. He was even joined on the Senate floor throughout the day by Republican Senators David Vitter of Louisiana, Mike Lee of Utah, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky. His quasi-filibuster brought this issue back to the attention of the media and the public, monopolizing the mainstream outlets throughout the duration of his refractory speech.

He is proving the point to the Obama administration that the anti-Obamacare activists are not going down without a fight. But for all the commotion his demonstration is making, the controversy brings with it potential downsides.

His public outcry has the potential to shut down the government, which is unlikely, but considered a drastic situation to many politicos just the same. The Senate has to send their revised version of the bill back to the House, who then has to approve funding for the government – and all this must happen before October first.

Wednesday at 1 pm is the latest time that the Senate‘s upper chamber can take their first vote to defund Obamacare, and Harry Reid was sure to make clear that this will happen regardless how long Cruz talks. “I want to make sure everyone understands: There is no filibuster today,” said Reid.

But while the threat Cruz presents may not be all that threatening, his lengthy speech has irritated some of his fellow Republican senators –including Mitch McConnell – who were in favor of (tweaking, but) approving the legislation. His performance didn’t lose him any of his supporters, but it didn’t gain him any either. Defunding Obamacare is a divisive issue even among the right, so the rumored presidential candidate hopeful isn’t really doing himself any favors with his impassioned monologue.

And what is perhaps more, he isn’t doing the Republican Party any favors by giving party members a new issue with which to disagree. This display even leaves me torn down the middle; I want to “cruise with Cruz” and support his move to filibuster, but I cannot help but be skeptical that it won’t produce any desirable outcomes.

I’m not saying I don’t agree with what Ted Cruz is doing, I just think ultimately it is pointless, given all the potential bad there is to even out the good. Defunding Obamacare is going to have to happen from the ground up, and President Obama is never going to sign against his only legislative achievement. Now is not the time for Cruz’s filibuster.