This Is Your Brain On Cruz Control

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Ever since rookie Texas senator, Ted Cruz swaggered onto Capitol Hill, I have been asking myself why? why would an apparently intelligent, accomplished man willingly play the fool 24/7?  At first, I was pretty much dumbfounded but, having watched and listened and examined the evidence for over six months now, I think I’m beginning to discern a sort of cynical method to Cruz’s madness.

At this point in time, I’m pretty well convinced that Ted Cruz truly believes that he is smarter than 99% of humankind.  And, who knows, if I had graduated from Harvard Law, argued before the Supreme Court and then immersed myself in Texans, I might think the same.

Being full of oneself, especially in America, is no crime.  God help us if it were.  But there’s an extra, dark dimension to Cruz, something Machiavellian that lurks just below the surface. 

Take his latest hobbyhorse—shutting down the government to defund Obamacare.  The most solidly bipartisan effort in six years of US federal politics, it turns out, has been the effort on both sides of the aisle to tell Senators Lee, Cruz and Rubio to STFU! and sit down.

Mike Lee’s brainstorm to force a shutdown showdown over Obamacare funding took the form of a widely derided ransom note that currently has 13 Republican co-signers in the Senate (only 54 more needed to overcome the inevitable veto).  Lee’s effort is like taking a BB gun to a battleship and hoping the “pew, pew” sound will be so annoying that it will force the commander to surrender.

Cruz, recognizing a good theme for his August recess activities, hopped right on board and started demagoguing the hell out of Lee’s swell idea.  And, coincidentally, striking all the right chords with his low-info voter base who don’t really care whether Lee, Cruz et al. will actually have any effect as long as they continue to make melodramatic anti-Obama noises and spend all of their time acting like they have some real clout, on the taxpayer’s dime.

These guys have drawn so much friendly fire for their laughably vainglorious scheme that you’d think they’d tone it down a bit, but they can’t because “dog whistle.”  Here’s Sen. Ted firing up the Heritage Action crowd, this week:

Under no circumstances will I support a continuing resolution that funds even one penny of Obamacare.  In order to win this fight, we need to get 41 Republicans in the Senate to make the same commitment or we need 218 Republicans in the House.

The next step will be that President Obama and Harry Reid will scream and yell, ‘Why are those mean and nasty Republicans threatening to shut down the government over Obamacare?’ And at that point, we’ve actually got to stand up and fight.

We’ve got to stand up and make the argument and win the argument that, ‘No, that’s not true. We have voted to fund the federal government. We want to fund the federal government. Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the federal government? Because he wants force Obamacare down people’s throats.

Well, let’s think about that . . . “Under no circumstances will I support a continuing resolution that funds even one penny of Obamacare.”  Sort of like saying “under no circumstances will I ride a flying pig if one shows up.”

Pretty much what my Gran would have called “a mess of cabbage” because Sen. Ted is smart enough to know that no CR will come up that “funds” Obamacare, hence he’ll be able to keep his pledge and still get to make scary noises.

Because that’s not how Obamacare is funded.  As their own Republican colleague, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), explained patiently from the grown-ups table:

[Coburn] argued that the plan by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and several other tea party-backed senators to try and strip funds for the law from a September government funding bill simply won’t work.

The reason, Coburn argued, is that most of the spending in Obamacare is mandatory, and the spending cannot be touched, even if the GOP were to shut down the rest of the government. He cited a new Congressional Research Service report that found as much.

There’s not a legislative method that we have that is capable of defunding it short of 67 votes in the U.S. Senate, short of two-thirds [of the] votes in the U.S. House,” Coburn said, referring to the number of votes needed to override the presidential veto that would be sure to block any attempt to defund the law.

Coburn’s criticism carries even more weight because no one would love to see the end of Obamacare more.  You might remember that Sen. Coburn was one of the Republicans’ most vocal critics of the ACA when it was passed and, according to Coburn he’d also be happy to kill Obamacare, he’s just partial to sane methods:

I want to defund this bill, but I also want a way to do it that kills it.

And he’s not alone.  Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) called the Lee defunding scheme the “dumbest idea” he’s ever heard. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) warned against it; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says Americans are tired of GOP-led hostage-taking and government shutdown “shenanigans.” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said shutting down the government is “foolish;” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) says the plan is simply not realistic, and that it’s both bad policy and bad politics.

Cruz and Lee obviously have visions of painting Obama into a corner from whence he will veto any CR proposal that threatens the ACA funding and thereby earn the title of government shutter-down-in-chief and the undying hatred of the millions of Americans who re-elected him a year ago.

Here’s how Cruz imagines that going down:

Republicans actually will have to stand up and fight and win the argument, and say, ‘No, we have voted to fund the federal government. We want to keep the federal government funded, and why is President Obama threatening to shut down the federal government in order to force Obamacare down the American people’s throats?

On the other hand, in case Republicans still are blamed? well, no biggie, according to Sen. Ted no “parade of horribles” materialized when the GOP shut down government for several weeks in the Clinton era.

So what’s really driving all of this Obamacare Derangement Syndrome?  Well, it might have something to do with glowing initial reports out of the first state exchanges being set up in New York and California where competition has had a significant positive impact on health care insurance premium affordability.

Also, many Republicans seem to sincerely believe that all Americans are unified in their fear and loathing of Obamacare . . . except that:

The American public remain bitterly split over the merits of the health-care law, with 40% of respondents in an April Kaiser Health Tracking poll saying they regard the law unfavorably and 35% supporting it. But by a 58% to 31% margin, respondents say they oppose stopping the health reform law by cutting off its funding. [My emphasis]

However, a notable share of the law’s critics say that their unfavorable view is mainly because the law doesn’t go far enough to change the health insurance and health care system. Overall, 33 percent of the public say they have an unfavorable view of the law because it goes too far, while 8 percent say they feel unfavorable because it doesn’t go far enough.

Of course what Cruz and others in the GOP are actually afraid of is that a fully implemented ACA will be a rip-roaring success which must be stopped by any method available:

Cruz told reporters shortly before taking to the floor that Americans would essentially be hooked on the law if it’s not blocked by the start of next year.

“Jan. 1 is when the exchanges start and subsidies start. And the administration’s plan is to get as many people as possible addicted to the sugar, addicted to the subsidies,” Cruz said, arguing that entitlements never get repealed.

“It is an iron rule of politics that those who receive subsidies, inevitably, after they start receiving those subsidies, fight to retain those subsidies,” Cruz said. “They want as many people as possible receiving those subsidies in order to ensure that they remain a permanent aspect of the economy.”

Well, I don’t know from “iron rules of politics” but, my money’s on Tom Coburn’s analysis:

The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House.

And that is why I’M ALL FOR IT! GO GOP!!1!

Posted by Bette Noir on 07/31/13 at 12:02 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsElection '16NuttersTeabaggery

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At this point in time, I’m pretty well convinced that Ted Cruz truly believes that he is smarter than 99% of humankind.

That’s Dunning-Kruger in a nutshell!

Deep down, I think the Senate teabaggers are just looking at all the fun their House counterparts are having pretending to repeal Obamacare, and feel sad that they are missing out on it.

Grifters gotta grift, and I’m thinking that all this tap dancing is Cruz and Lee looking for a much, much bigger slice of the wingnut welfare pie.  Not that they aren’t completely dedicated to the cause, because they most certainly are; it’s just a side benefit that it will make them rich(er) too.

“It is an iron rule of politics that those who receive subsidies, inevitably, after they start receiving those subsidies, fight to retain those subsidies,” Cruz said. “They want as many people as possible receiving those subsidies in order to ensure that they remain a permanent aspect of the economy.”

BINGO!  People will be happy that they can get affordable health insurance without respect to pre-existing conditions and with no annual or life-time caps.  They will be happy that they don’t have to worry about that bad accident or catastrophic illness that will force them into bankruptcy.  They will be happy that they can live longer and healthier lives and still have money for food and shelter and stuff.  And they will want to KEEP it that way!  But the big difference is that Dems see that as a good thing and Rethugs see it as a bad thing.  There are essential differences between Democrats and Republicans.

Re the “iron rule,” Cruz wants us to imagine individual citizens sucking at the public teat, as if there were no such thing at giant agribusiness and energy-extraction industries who fight to retain their own subsidies, undeserved as they may be.

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