Ted Cruz is the man with the plan to defeat Donald Trump and secure the Republican future for ‘true conservatism,’ at least according to Ted Cruz.
Ted claims only him, among remaining GOP presidential contenders, can garner more delegates than the Donald and emerge victorious at this July’s national convention. In the eyes of untold millions, he is nothing less than the savior of Reaganism.
Beyond doctrinaire adherence to ‘true conservative’ ideology, Cruz markets himself as being an unscrupulously honest politician who places the needs of the nation above his own interests. An entire book, let alone article, could be written to dispel this assertion.
Rather than go through an itemized account of Cruz’s public deceptions, perhaps we should revisit the marquee accomplishment in his senatorial career.
Back in 2013, Cruz was the primary congressional agitator when the federal government shut down for two weeks in October. His disdain for an upcoming annual budget plan spurred the mayhem.
Ted said he was protecting the American people from big government run wild. The Washington Post and ABC News conducted a poll to see what voters thought. 81 percent objected to the shutdown, 86 percent believed it detrimental to America’s global standing, and 53 percent blamed Republicans across the board.
Ironic considering that GOP leaders on Capitol Hill objected to Cruz’s actions from the start.
At the time, it seemed clear to me that Cruz pursued the shut down so he could make self-aggrandizing speeches that generate free publicity for a future presidential run. The ‘American people’ he really cared about were the — for the sake of charitability — 10 percent which back only rightist purists.
These are the folks that, by and large, stayed home for Romney, McCain, and possibly Bob Dole. They do not care about winning elections so much as they enjoy the feeling of moral superiority that comes from supporting fellow ideologues. While this sad bunch amounts to nothing in a general election, it can have outsized sway in a closed primary or caucus.
President Obama was glad to call Ted’s bluff. Democratic victory in the shutdown was compensation for an epic failure with the Syrian crisis. If Obama compromised with congressional Republicans, that would signify two major policy defeats in less than a month.
Then-Speaker John Boehner tried to hammer out a deal that would be workable on both sides of the aisle, but found little success. Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman Schultz were surely hard at work figuring out how to spin all of this to their advantage for the 2014 midterms.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees were out of work. Those that served essential roles still reported to the office, but felt unsure about their next paycheck. National parks and other federal institutions closed their doors, though this did not stop a caravan of World War II veterans from visiting the Capitol Hill memorial they hold dear.
Who imagined that heroes of the shutdown would be a band of soldiers pushing ninety? An all-American story if there ever was one.
Neither side successfully negotiated with the other because there was no compelling reason to. By not ceding ground, Cruz kowtowed to the whims of his treasured base. Obama, meanwhile, masterfully used Ted and his acolytes. Democrats ultimately got their budget and Republicans were left without a chair when the music stopped.
The few moderates from either party were cast into the wilderness. Ideologues and partisan shills fell into place; happily doing whatever their electoral base and favored political action committees demanded.
After all, the base has a disproportionate influence during primary season. Ted’s presidential run is proof positive.
Our government’s shutdown was merely the symptom of a far larger problem. Political radicalism, fueled by special interest groups, has become the new normal across the fruited plains.
Such a thing has left the United States no longer on speaking terms with itself. Few things can be said for certain. However, it is not a stretch to say that if Cruz ever became president, already closed doors would be welded shut.
Ted would not simply bring more of the same, but make it worse. America simply cannot afford this.
Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at email@example.com