As this is written, Ted Cruz is still filibustering.
A couple of observations.
On the one hand, a friend of mine – a disaffected Republican and Ron Paul supporter – snarked something like “Hey, Ted Cruz is filibustering Obamacare! Western Civilization will be saved! Oh, wait – no, we’re still screwed”.
So let me get this straight; when some people launch quixotic grandstanding windmill-tilts against big government, taxation, spending and creeping statism, it’s a statement of rock-solid principle, but when others do it for the same reasons, it’s snark-fodder?
I’ll have to chew on that one for a while.
Grandstanding: As Michael Medved pointed out yesterday, the filibuster is, tactically, pointless. The Senate – and its majority of Democrats – will support the President. Period.
Politically? Medved among others also had a point: Obama wants the government to shut down. He benefits when he (and a compliant media) can pin pain on smaller government. And while the sequester was a complete squib for him, a shutdown would provide an endless parade of calumny for the media, his Praetorian Guard, to force-feed the “for the children” voter segment.
And that’s not the only reason a shutdown benefits Obama.
The Great Diversion: Think about it. Obama’s been in office almost five years. What does he have to show for it?
- An economy that is creating nothing but part-time jobs (unlike all previous recoveries – a sort of economic,ex post facto”Berg’s Seventh Law”).
- Thousands of American guns sent across the border to the narcotraficantes, resulting in the deaths of American cops and Mexican children.
- Four Americans dead in a terrorist attack, who had the misfortune to be attacked in a place that apprently was serving as a hand-off point for a black-bag weapons-smuggling operation sending arms to a movement that is rapidly being taken over by Al Quaeda – leading to a year worth of stonewalling that looks more and more like a coverup.
- The Middle East is in worse shape than it’s been since the 80s, and our stature in the world has shrunk since Dubya left office.
- And a bold trip to where even Nixon never went; the Obama Administration appears to have used the IRS to stifle conservative political dissent.
And even if you get all of those out of the way, what is Obama left with? Obamacare – a law with some popular provisions that needed to happen via one mechanism or another (portability, dealing with pre-existing conditions) but is, as a package, about as popular as mandatory ice-water enemas.
What would better serve Obama’s purposes than to divert attention away from everything he and his Administration have done?
A government shutdown, I suspect, strikes this blog’s audience (as it does me) at first blush as a great idea. But it plays right into Obama’s hands.
So Cruz should stop filibustering and take a nap – right?
But Not So Fast: As we noted earlier this morning, Americans are fundamentally conservative. They don’t identify with the GOP at the moment – at least in part because the mainstream GOP, the Beltway GOP of the consultants, doesn’t reflect the conservative principals that Americans support.
And they didn’t last year – which was why conservatives stayed home on election day, handing another term to Obama.
The Tea Party wave of 2010 went back underground.
But it’s still out there. The Gallup and Rasmussen polls show it.
And while Ted Cruz’ filibuster isn’t going to defund Obamacare, and it’d probably be a very bad idea to let it shut down the government, it could be – if the GOP is smart enough, and I have doubts about that – a key step toward doing something that all of the GOP consultants in the Beltway can’t do and don’t really want to; mobilize the vast unwashed base of Tea Party conservatives, people who don’t like to identify as Republicans but see perfectly well that Obama and our idiot Congress have us on the road to Palookaville.