Ted Cruz Is Not “The New Black.” He is a Bold Color.
Senate Majority Leader Reid just invoked procedural rules and ended Senator Ted Cruz’ quixotic quest to defund Obamacare. Cruz embarked on the 21 hour plus marathon with the theme #MakeDCListen. He recalled Churchill’s resolve to defeat National Socialism, recited Dr Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” (to explain that the American people have tried and don’t like Obamacare), recited the Federalist papers, and engaged in colloquies with Senators Paul, Lee, Rubio, Sessions, Inohofe, Enzi, Durbin, Reid, and Vitter (among others).
The obvious theme is that the American people have read the Affordable Care Act and don’t like what they see. Cronyism, forced participation in insurance plans they don’t want, and fiscal suicide is driving Americans’ distrust.
Two themes should be noted about Cruz’ kinda sorta filibuster:
1- If Obamacare is allowed to stand as is, this will become a dependency on government which will never be undone. Democrats, who might threaten a future government shutdown, by refusing to fund a military operation, will be accused of leaving people to die rather than get health care. Parties don’t retain perpetual power and the Democrats may have painted themselves in a corner. The idea that sick people would be dependent upon government to get well turns my stomach.
2- Cruz’ populist approach gives him an opportunity to lead the “bold colors” movement. Democrats and Republicans hate him because he is a Princeton undergrad and Harvard Law graduate but trusts people to control their own lives. To the elite, political class, THAT is the ultimate betrayal. Cruz should use this opportunity to build support for the limited government caucus. He can advance legislation which liberates the free enterprise system, advances individual liberty, and respects the rule of law. He can rally members of Congress around these principles and emerge as the long absent leader of conservatism.
What shall that message be? It’s simple for me–follow the Constitution, warts and all. If the Constitution doesn’t authorize it, don’t do it or better yet…try to amend it. That might be challenging for some Republicans, who prefer extraconstitutional action to moral suasion, but it will be a consistent and principled message. It will be a message which resonates with voters because it respects the idea of self government. But the message can’t just be “No. we aren’t allowed to do that”.
Conservatives must explain the WHY behind the reason for constitutionally limited government:
1- We trust free people, to plan their lives, better than than we trust politburos.
2- We want to see civil institutions, like churches, non-profits, voluntary associations, and civic groups expand influence in society rather than contract (contraction is inevitable when government grows)
3- We want people to dream big again, have the opportunity to act on those dreams, and brings those dreams to fruition.
Conservatives trust free people rather than bureaucrats because free people, not bureaucrats, have produced the greatest amount of wealth, for the greatest amount of people, in the history of humankind. Ted Cruz understands that–that’s why he spoke for over 21 hours.
That’s a bold color. That distinguished Republicans from Democrats.