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Ted Cruz’s government shutdown posturing is exposed by fellow Republicans

The Texas freshman has fired these shots from a comfortable position: a senator representing a deep-red state and member of the minority whose support is not essential to moving any legislation. He’s insulated from the responsibilities of governing; he can freely vote the way he wants (he almost never votes for final passage of a bill) and talk smack about his colleagues without having to take real risks.

But now the freshman senator and his fellow Obamacare defunders, most notably Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), have found themselves in an unthinkable position. The House granted their wish on Friday and passed legislation that eliminates funding for Obamacare in a bill to keep the government funded, sending the battle to the Senate. That means that for once, these senators have have to put their votes where their mouths are. Their first instinct was to concede defeat and slink away in the Senate, but after a furious reaction from House Republicans, they feel renewed pressure to walk the walk.

In his nine months as a U.S. senator, Texas Republican Ted Cruz has managed to infuriate members of his own party by deriding them as cowards. Now he faces his first test to walk the walk himself.

In his nine months as a U.S. senator, Texas Republican Ted Cruz has managed to infuriate members of his own party by deriding them as cowards. Now he faces his first test to walk the walk himself.

“I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in,” Cruz said in a statement Friday, referring to the GOP’s ability to filibuster.

Lee said that “with a unified Senate Republicans Caucus, we will convince enough Democrats” to agree to defund Obamacare.

Hope, after all, isn’t much of a plan.

“It’s pretty clear they had no plan all along,” said a senior House Republican aide after the vote on Friday. “They already let Senate Democrats leave for the weekend. Where is the action?”

There are a several ways they can actually fight this battle. Senate Democrats ultimately need some Republican votes to advance any continuing resolution: 60 votes are required to begin and end debate; Democrats have 55. One option would be to take to the airwaves and grassroots to raise the heat on fellow Republicans to filibuster until Democratic leaders agree to keep the provision of the House’s bill that defunds Obamacare. Another option for Cruz and his colleagues is to raise a ruckus and demand an open debate, creating an opportunity to mount endless talking filibusters until Democrats fold.

But these options would risk a government shutdown as the eyes of the nation look upon them, subjecting them to fierce criticism for grinding federal services to a halt for the purpose of waging a divisive, ideological battle. Even worse, it risks damaging the GOP’s credibility in upcoming elections and would place the blame squarely on them.

One thing is for sure: Cruz and Lee will lose the battle. Democrats vow not to defund Obamacare, and even if Congress does so, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto it. The only question is if Cruz and Lee go down fighting and leave it all on the field, or if they relent and reveal that their Obamacare rhetoric was a bluff all along.

If, by some miracle, Senate Republicans are successful in delaying the legislation long enough to face a real government shutdown — the first since 1996 — the party is likely to pay a political price. Cruz has seemed unconcerned about the political blowback of such a scenario, likening a shutdown to an extended weekend in July.

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said on Friday. “I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare.”

This article originally appeared at Talking Points Memo

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Jim S

    September 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Ted Cruz is an arrogant, evil, hypocritical jerk! He is determined to undermine everything America stands for. I can’t for the life of me understand how ANYONE can like or support this poor excuse for a human being!

  2. Jeff Barber

    September 22, 2013 at 12:34 am

    a senator representing a deep-red state and member of the minority whose support is not essential to moving any legislation. He’s insulated from the responsibilities of governing; he can freely vote the way he wants (he almost never votes for final passage of a bill) and talk smack about his colleagues without having to take real risks.

  3. Duspin

    September 22, 2013 at 9:51 am

    He’s acting unAmerican because he IS UN-American. He’s a Canadian national. Period, end of story. I don’t care what his passport says.

  4. Juliet

    September 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Then what of all the 100% USA-born nitwits supporting him?

    No: he’s doing whatever his party wants. He might even believe in the positions he stakes out. Or he’s just doing whatever it takes to remain in office.

    Besides that, if he were so Canadian, he’d be supporting health-care reform. Canadians don’t have to worry about medical bills bankrupting them.

  5. Juliet

    September 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Because some people will vote Republican even if the candidate is a serial killer with a child-porn fetish, as long as Jesus and the 2nd Amendment are properly invoked.

  6. nhirsch

    September 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Cruz is a schmuck

  7. Pingback: Ted “Calgary” Cruz at B12 Solipsism

  8. David Jarvis

    September 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    The good news is that I think Texas will become blue in ten years or so.

  9. Jamuna

    January 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    See Jim S, I agree 100% of every alphabet in your comment. I thought our neighbor to the north (i.e.Canada) is a very sophisticated nation devoid of nuts like ours in congress and elsewhere e.g. Cruz and Beiber. I am wrong. While one wants to denounce his citizenship, the other wants to wreak havoc in this country. Two arrogant nuts in a pod.

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