Most commentators today are missing the point of the Cruz “filibuster.” Many are acting horrified that a politician would be doing something political. He knows, and has admitted, that Obamacare will not be defunded. He knows he has to stop by the procedural vote. But this is a smart move for Cruz’s supposed political aspirations, and here is why:
- The small government base is tired of being told one thing in election season, and the opposite happens when that politician in DC. He is signaling to the base that he is willing to take the ridicule for their ideas. The conversation is as about Ted Cruz today. Sure, the mainstream media has a negative view of this action, but when did many on the right start caring what beltway pundits think?
- The conversation today is about Obamacare, and it is negative. The best way to defund Obamacare is to keep people from enrolling in the exchanges. So he is creating a narrative of negative vibes days before enrollment begins. For every news story of exchange hiccups, there will be a “Ted Cruz told you so…” Bill Clinton and Obama had a long discussion on the Obamacare yesterday. Surely this would have been in the news cycle had it not been for Cruz.
- It could work. As we saw with Rand Paul’s drone filibuster, more politicians and pundits moved to his point of view after the initial-knee-jerk “this is stupid” reaction. Most politicians are spinless weasels (a technical term in political science). If momentum is shifting to a point of view, politicians start lining up to support it. We live in an age where the unexpected is common, so why not?
- The defunding movement was Mike Lee’s baby, but along the way, he let Ted Cruz steal the leadership spotlight on the issue. This gives him the leg up on Lee and Paul as the “backbone” of the Conservative movement serving within government.
- Last week, many House Republicans felt that Cruz had left them out to dry by signaling that Senate Republicans were pulling away from the defunding movement. This is a make-good with dozens of House Republicans that may be needed in a future Presidential run.
So it is a mix of political maneuvering and honest intentions… Just like everything else in government and politics.