Posted on | March 25, 2013 | No Comments
by Luke Goldstein
From the midterm elections of 2010 we saw a huge influx of Tea Party endorsed candidates hit the floor of the House and Senate. In the two years between that and the next general election those freshman created an astounding laundry list of obstructionist actions not only against the Democrats and the White House, but against their own party. They seemed hell-bent on following their unmistakably simple philosophy of “government is too big” and they were there to cut the legs, arms, pretty much any outstretched limb off of the lumbering monster stealing all their rights.
Then the 2012 election happened and the Republican Party felt the burn of co-opting the Tea Party when their seemingly solid chance to take back the Senate went up in smoke behind the blunders of Todd Akin, Richard Murdock and others. On top of that, other firebrands from this fledgling caucus also vacated their barely warm chairs in the House, like Allen West and Joe Walsh.
Yet it wasn’t all rainy days for the Tea Party that night because in walked their new poster boy, someone to make all the other flamethrowers in the Congress sit down, watch and learn how the masters do it. In walked freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In his short time in power, barely three months, here is a brief list of his accomplishments:
- sponsored the 35th failed attempt to repeal Obamacare (which every Republican in the Senate voted for.)
- questioned Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) about her new version of the Assault Weapons Ban, comparing “banning bazookas to banning books.” Let’s say she, and many others in the room, did not respond to the remark too kindly.
- objected to commemorating Multiple Sclerosis Week. Yep, a purely symbolic action that passes every single year without notice and this year passed the House with every Republican vote in the “yes” column, Cruz was able to find something objection worthy in that.
This is where the Tea Party is taking the country, down a road of rampant denial of facts, rational thought and open reactionary politics. Cruz and his cohorts have no interest in governing. Their passion lies in popularity, fundraising and climbing the cable news ladder to a point where they get mentioned daily, if not hourly. They create a fictional landscape where suddenly they are the national power brokers and everything will have to come by their desk before it can pass.
Think that sounds too extreme? Listen to the recent quote from fellow Republican rebuffer, libertarian offspring, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY):
Immigration will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution.
No point in mentioning the Gang of Eight, built from top Democrats and top Republicans, who are already fast at work on Immigration reform. Nope, according to Paul, that will have no chance of passing unless they appease him and others like him.
The Republican party is no longer fracturing, it’s done. The schism is deep, wide and not easily bridged by soundbites and half-hearted handshakes (here’s looking at you, McCain.) Cruz is leading the media circus spotlight into the shame-soaked past of Joe McCarthy and there seems little the Republican party can do to stop him. It will be at least two years of this hyperbolic nonsense, none of which has the least bit to do with real governing. If he, Paul and the others continue carrying the banner of “compromise is a four-letter word”, you might hope they would lose in the next general election, but I wouldn’t place your bets on that just yet, Cruz’s antics may disturb and annoy those he works with, but the folks back home are loving it.