There's a classic line from Douglas Adams:
"It's not the fall that kills you; it's the sudden stop at the end."
In the last several years, the Republican Party has proven itself eager to engage in a scientific study to see if this is true. They've cut aid and support, leaving vital funding often plummeting. And, as we seen already, Republicans are all too ready to bring the government, country, and economy to a grinding stop.
Following on the conservative experimentation of last week, the effort to take away funding from Obamacare in the House, we now move to the Senate. In the House there was a line of Republicans eager to crow and call out for ending the program and shutting down government. Those voices are far less loud or numerous in the Senate. So does the deadly game change?
In the Senate, we have Ted Cruz, of Texas. He’s been in office for 9 months. And comes from Texas, where is crazy rhetoric already won him office. So he’s been revving up for a fight for awhile.
He’s the bargain lawyer from your late night TV watching. Really he is. If you watch enough TV, you've probably seen his ads come on again and again. And like so many of these ads, he’s been selling a lousy and dubious product, the idea that Obamacare should be defunded.
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But while he is a sort of slick TV lawyer, he shouldn't be underestimated. He is a lawyer who has argued before the Supreme Court. He isn't a small town kid new to the bright lights of the big city. He has been around. He just talks to his audience usually, angry hostile Tea Party conservatives.
To do this work and stir up his audience, he’s needed more than the president for a baddie in his pantomime play. He’s been also hitting the House Republicans. For awhile he’s been mocking the House for not putting out a serious enough effort to defund Obamacare. He’s tried to turn conservative ire on them.
So, finally, the House acted and is throwing him just what he wants. Which means he’ll either have to lead a losing fight against changing the House bill, or shut up. A possibility a number of Republicans would enjoy.
But he’s hoping to throw this back again on to House Republicans. He wants the House to respond to a blocking of the House plan with a new strategy. First, refuse to pass a complete continuing resolution to fund the government. Then, pass small parts of it, to send to the Senate. That way Republicans can just fund the parts of government they value. (You’ll remember this was their approach to the Farm Bill, where they funded corporate farms, but later cut food stamp funding.)
And what I am interested in with Cruz is that he thinks if they send the Senate just the military funding, the Senate will have to fund it, or take all the blame for the shutdown.
I know FOX News will try to sell this. I know Right Wing radio and Murdoch will peddle it. But, as history suggests, the country never buys it.
But it seems clear that Cruz is uninterested in the impact these little experiments have on his party, his country, his economy, or his fellow citizens. So what is he out for?
It boggles the mind.