PFoL Team Comments On Ted Cruz’s Speech And What’s Next

Sen. Ted Cruz

The team was asked to comment about Ted Cruz’s 21 hour speech (or filibuster… whatever) and here is what everybody had to say:

Jay Caruso

For all those who said Ted Cruz was only doing what he did just to build his mailing list (of course that was part of it — so what?) and start laying the groundwork for a 2016 Presidential run, his 21 hour speech should have you eating the proverbial bowl of crow right about now. I don’t care what anybody says. Nobody stands around for 21 hours over an issue and talking about it, unless it is something they truly care about.

One of the more disheartening things I saw from some people was this notion that “Ted Cruz has done nothing to help the GOP!” You know what those people sound like? Liberals who bitch about corporations not doing enough for “the workers.” Just as a corporation has a responsibility first to its shareholders, Ted Cruz has a responsibility first to his constituents.

To those who say, “This accomplished nothing!” I say, “Oh really? Then why is Joe Manchin backing a delay of the individual mandate?” Does anybody think this would have happened had Cruz not done anything? If you believe the answer is “yes,” I have some beachfront property in Nebraska I’d like to sell you.

Right now, the only thing keeping Obamacare on life support is the individual mandate. Would Barack Obama be willing to shut down the government if a CR hitting his desk contained a provision to delay the individual mandate?

I doubt it.

Neal Dewing

Ted Cruz had not a snowball’s chance of affecting the outcome of this vote, nor any hope whatsoever of defunding, delaying, or otherwise impeding Obamacare. We’re stuck with this law until such time as Republicans reclaim the Senate and the White House. The defund/delay crowd has seemed, in recent weeks, unwilling to grapple with the total lack of leverage possessed by the Republicans in Congress. They won. We lost. We need to adjust to the new reality.

That said, Cruz was right to speak. Futile and doomed efforts are sometimes necessary to remind people that your politics are not borne out of personal malice or political opportunism — but that you stand on principle. Cruz lost nothing for giving a voice to the American people for 20-odd hours.

No doubt his speech will be mischaracterized in the coming days. The tedious derision lobbed his way over green eggs and ham has been coming from the usual chuckleheads, who are too jaded and cynical to acknowledge that the intangible inspiration of such an act could be more consequential than realizing what limited hope for success there was here.

Lest I sound too approving of the Senator and his efforts, I hereby affirm that I remain steadfastly unenthused about our prospects until such time as Republicans reclaim the government. Let’s work on that.

Rick aka @strokesofcandor

I have obviously been steadfast in agreeing that we must derail Obamacare before it metastasizes, but equally I have been steadfast in my belief that Cruz and company never really had a plan once the House agreed to add the defund Obamacare provision to the CR voted on and approved by the House on Friday.

My analogy was that Cruz found himself in the same quandary the proverbial dog did once he finally caught the fire truck after futilely giving repeated chase. I also believe, as the Wall Street Journal does, that a government shutdown is the GOP “running into fixed bayonets.”

Now that Cruz stuck to his guns and stood on the Senate floor all night long (more than twenty-one hours), I think perhaps Cruz’s efforts will break through the biased media firewall by his light shining bright on Obamacare being stopped — giving validity to that he wasn’t just campaigning to defund for personal gain, as some have been suspicious of, but has genuine passion as exhibited by his standing on his feet all night long on the Senate floor.

Even though we know the media will and are slamming him for a “faux filibuster,” his efforts last night were admirable in legitimizing his fight. In short, I am impressed that Cruz backed up the fight he has been waging by putting on that exhaustive performance overnight.

Mike Peters

Cruz did a great job bringing awareness to a lot of issues dear to me: sovereignty, limited (enumerated) powers, and tyranny. Someone said that s/he wishes this debate took place in 2010 when the law was rammed through. My response is that many of the lies being offered in support of the ACA hadn’t yet been disproved.

While the CR will get the Obamacare funding put back in, we should wait and see what the House can get in return. Hopefully, something.

Anna Morris

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about what strategy the GOP should pursue in the fight against Obamacare. Should they vote to defund it? Delay it? Try to repeal it for the 43rd time?

When Senator Ted Cruz began his filibuster (or faux filibuster, if you prefer), he received mixed reactions. Some supported him from the start, while others remained skeptical about whether there was any point to this — or even about what his true motivations may have been.

Whatever your feelings, the fact remains that Cruz did exactly what Senators are elected to do: represent one’s constituents in the best way possible.

So regardless of whether you believe that strategy will be successful, or whether it was a real filibuster or not, or whether Dr. Seuss would or would not have supported Cruz’s use of Green Eggs and Ham (looking at you, Politico) — Senator Cruz brought the issue into the spotlight in a way that it never has been before, and I fully support him on this issue.

J. Cal Davenport

Like Rand Paul’s filibuster about the Obama administration’s drone strikes, the most important thing that Tuesday night’s speech by Ted Cruz accomplished is to bring attention to the issue — in this case, Obamacare. Public attention can easily get turned away to other things, such as Syria. But a majority of Americans still dislike this law and returning the conversation to its problems may put public opinion squarely behind Republicans who want to rid us of it.

I’m on the fence as to whether Cruz’s push to defund it is the most efficacious or political sound strategy, but he, Senators Lee and Paul, and their crowd are the only elected Republicans resonating with Americans right now. If the Republican leadership would like any traction on Obamacare, they need to recognize Cruz’s popularity and seize the momentum he’s created, rather than cut his legs out from under him. Defunding the law in a continuing resolution may not be the correct strategy, but by all means, use this opportunity to do something!

Mike Gannon

What’s a “Ted Cruz?”

OK, it’s not quite that bad. But in all seriousness, I have been paying only casual attention to the Cruz Control episode because I adamantly believe that his stated short-term goal of continuing to fund the federal government while defunding Obamacare is doomed to failure. The Affordable Care Act is the crown jewel of President Obama’s administration. There is no way on God’s green earth that he will permit it to be defunded, even if that means shutting down the federal government entirely. Obama is willing to do what the majority of Republican legislators are not — namely, let the kit and caboodle burn rather than cave on this issue.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ted Cruz was wrong to make the stand he did. It all depends on what comes of it in the aggregate. Let’s not speculate on the motives of the junior senator from Texas. Selfless or cynical, if Ted Cruz’s filibuster draws negative attention to Obamacare and gets some people thinking, “Hey, well at least the Republicans are trying to do something about it,” then he did a good thing. If it backfires somehow, then he probably should have kept his mouth shut. Lesson learned. If it doesn’t move the needle one way or another, well… you and I are paying for that Senate microphone. At least someone is getting some use out of it.

As with many other things, the proof of this particular pudding is in the eating.

Skyler Mann

I truly admire and respect Senator Cruz’s zeal in expressing his reservations regarding the Affordable Care Act. I am glad he took to the Senate floor to express those reservations. However, an important distinction has been deluded among all the fanfare.

There are two ways one has to look at Cruz’s 20+ hour speech — from a theoretical and a utilitarian standpoint. At an abstract level, Cruz was incredibly successful. He brought attention back to an issue that has been overshadowed by other stories. He energized the base. Not only did it rally support, but in future elections he can always say, “Well, I clearly opposed the ACA because….” No matter whether one agrees with the content, Cruz presented it cogently and highlighted problems within the minutiae of the bill. In terms of standing up to make a point? Point well taken, Senator Cruz.

But the utilitarian perspective on Cruz’s speech has apparently evaporated in many of the evaluations of it. Cruz was theoretically successful — but there is nothing useful to be gained. By that I mean that appealing to a Democrat-controlled Senate to defund the president’s signature act will do nothing. President Obama will not sign off on dismantling the very legislation inexorably tied to his name and presidency. When judging whether Cruz was successful, it is easy to argue that he wasted a lot of time pontificating on something that — at the present time at least — will not change. From a pragmatic point-of-view, Ted Cruz did a whole lot of nothing.

It takes real passion to hold the Senate floor for over twenty hours discussing a single issue. But passion in itself does not yield results. It’s imperative not to lose sight of the tangible consequences of Cruz’s speech — i.e., tangible consequences (in terms of changing legislation) do not exist. There are plenty of useful theoretical takeaways from Cruz’s speech, but nothing that will actually enact change in Congress. Now it’s time for the GOP to step up and bring a comprehensive alternative bill to the floor, lest they fall victim to the same criticisms I used against the Democrats losing their minds over Paul Ryan’s proposed budget. “Well, if you hate it so much, why not craft an alternative so both parties can put their heads together and reach a compromise?”

Perhaps people do not like the word “compromise” when it comes to politics. But at the end of the day, political philosophy and pragmatism are always at odds. This is something I encounter regularly. Sure, there are plenty of things I would love to see happen; yet, I need to be realistic too. By the same token, one cannot expect Obamacare to disappear in its entirety. Nor can we expect to fix anything without providing concrete alternatives.

For full disclosure, I am very cynical in general. I very well could be proven wrong. In which case, I owe you $10.

“Barbara Willis” 

Whether or not you agree there was any likelihood of a successful outcome of Senator Ted Cruz’s marathon on the Senate floor, I believe it undeniable that there is a certain appeal to knowing that there are still people willing to go to Washington DC and not completely fold to the inevitability of the power structure in place in government.

What comes next, in the wake of the temporal “hope for change” that many on the right felt, will need to be a carefully communicated rebranding of the Republican opposition to the PPACA. As one would do with any complicated health problem, the collective (operative word) right absolutely has to revisit the origins of this.

We need a strong narrative to remind the public of Representative Pelosi’s orgasmic declarations that we needed “to pass the bill to see what was in it.” Then, one point at a time, we need to make the case for why everyone — and their union brother — wants out. In fact, what was passed was not settled law, in the purest sense of the phrase. Not one detail was settled.

What the PPACA created was simply a license for a complicated system of taxation for services to be determined. We needed better messaging in the 2012 presidential election, but we’ve had enough autopsy on that topic. We need a strategic treatment plan now for how we communicate why we oppose it, complete with very effective similes.

Lawmakers have to unite behind translating the problems with PPACA into layman’s terms. We’ve allowed the left to do a better job of communicating the broad benefits on which they sold this boondoggle, than we did on communicating the harsh realities of what we found out was in it.

Libby McCabe

Honestly, I don’t know what to make of Ted Cruz’s symbolic gesture. Here’s what I do know: it was a hell of a lot more respectable than the Stand With Wendy movement, but received far less respect. Wendy Davis made headlines for what seemed like an eternity after speaking for 13 hours — which pales in comparison to Ted Cruz’s 21 hours — in an attempt to block a bill regarding “reproductive rights” (a nonsensical term for nonsensical people). Apparently “reproductive rights” is waiting until your unborn child is viable to abort it and to have clinics that don’t meet the proper standards stay open. The fact is she wore pink shoes and she has flippy blonde hair so GIRL POWER!

Ted Cruz speaks out against a wildly unpopular bill that was passed without being read and he is labeled as a time-wasting poor-hating anarchist. Ted Cruz’s filibuster once again highlights the media bias that is now so extreme it borders on being a parody of itself. We also learned that much of the media has no interest in learning how the government they are paid to write about actually works — so long as they get to bash a Republican. Many outlets wrongly reported that following his speech, Cruz voted for the bill he spoke out against. That comes Saturday, friendos. No matter, at least you got your joke in about the Senator’s BMW.

I’ve secretly held that Obamacare should be implemented as written for awhile now. Not a popular sentiment, I know — but if this is what America thinks it wants, this is what they asked for. Let them have it. The right has made its arguments against the ACA perfectly clear and the American people rejected them, so when it crashes and burns we can at least (in a polite way) say “TOLD YOU SO!” The failure that is this bill is something the Democrats will have to explain in 2014 and, more importantly, 2016. Maybe that will inspire them to work in a bipartisan way to make the bill better. If not, no skin off my nose if the Democrats want to lose elections.