I watched Cruz until I went to bed and started watching him again at 6 a.m. I’m reading tweets and commentary on how it’s a stupid effort that won’t succeed in defunding ObamaCare.
Well, probably not. But that doesn’t mean Cruz is doing this marathon in vain. He’s accomplishing something great: giving us a leader. Yesterday Jeffrey Lord wrote an insightful piece in the American Spectator with a title that doesn’t seem designed to draw in masses of people – WSJ Growls at Heritage Over Cruz – so you might not have seen it.
It doesn’t get to the best point for a while, so here it is:
All over Fox News appear various ex-Bush aides – they who delivered up a president with a 35 percent approval rating and the parting gift of a President Obama – insisting they know about “smart politics” and “tactics,” and Senators Cruz and Lee are engaged in neither. Again, respectfully, it’s precisely that kind of thinking that has been an anchor on the Republican Party for some eight decades.
When the WSJ writes: “The question is how to oppose ObamaCare when Republicans control only one house of Congress,” they head off immediately into the procedural thicket that no one outside of the Washington Beltway cares about. When they write: “The only real way to repeal the law is to win elections,” they are precisely wrong.
Elections that drive the conservative base to the polls – and Reaganesque victories – come about precisely because said conservatives believe they have something they can enthusiastically support. The sad fact is that the strategy “to win elections” has been a loser for decades. Most recently, there was an election in 2012 – and the base simply didn’t show up. There was an election in 2010 – in which the lines were not blurred but made stark – and the base showed up in droves, making John Boehner the Speaker of the House as a result.
Can Ted Cruz and Mike Lee lose? Of course. The real problem isn’t the loss. The real problem is a conservative base that has lost trust in its leaders, believing them timid, out of touch, and capable of selling out at a moment’s notice.
The real problem is a GOP that prefers the politics of what Reagan scorned as the “fraternal order.” Or, as Senator Cruz puts it in Reaganesque terms, “the surrender caucus.”
Conservatives are excited. Senators Cruz, Lee, Rubio, Sessions, and others are standing up for principle. They’re speaking for us. They’re making clear that ObamaCare is a killer of the American dream, that it’s worth fighting it with everything they’ve got.
I’m writing this at 7 a.m. I have no idea what the consequences of this filibuster will be for the ObamaCare law. But I am sure it will be good for America. If not immediately, then in the long run — in elections, in people’s attitudes. We have conservative leaders who are willing to lead. We have hope.
Addendum: Here’s another good piece, by Hillsdale College’s Paul Rahe. Excerpt:
What the hearties in the House are doing — and what Ted Cruz is doing — is signaling to the discontented that there really is another way. They can vote Republican in 2014; and, if they do so big time, there will be a correction of course.
The leadership of the Republican Party hates this. Like Jeb Bush in early 2009, they want “to get beyond Reagan.” They want to surrender on immigration; they have designed a Republican healthcare bill that is little more than Romneycare writ large; and they desperately want to make nice with the Democrats.
Addendum II, September 26–The blogger Bookworm Room has an interesting post, written before the filibuster, comparing it to Thermopylae, where the Greeks lost a battle to the Persians with a strategy that set up their future victory.
Because Ted Cruz is nobody’s fool, I’m guessing that he too knows that it won’t stop Obamacare from getting fully implemented within the next few months. Why, then, is Cruz engaged in this quixotic effort? I think I have the answer, but you’ll have to bear with me, because it involves taking a little trip back, back in time . . . to the Battle of Thermopylae.
….Americans aren’t going to learn about the nasty stuff hiding in Obamacare until they experience it first hand. What was an abstract political fight in Washington, D.C. will become a genuine problem in their day-to-day lives. And that’s when Ted Cruz will pop back up again and say (nicely, of course), “Remember me? I tried to warn you and I tried to help. Trust me to have the courage and the wisdom to fix this. But this time, you have to stand with me to win the battle.”