Share This Article with a Friend!

Outsiders vs. Insiders: Ted Cruz speaks out on Senate inertia, ruling class makes lame excuses

“Somebody say something?!”

Imagine you’re back in high school sitting in the locker room with your teammates while the football coach delivers another drawn-out lecture about the lack of opportunities to institute new and better plays in the team’s offense because you lack the right personnel or the competition is too intense or the season’s almost over…or Ted Cruzmaybe he’s just thinking about retirement and only wants to play out the string.

Your team is mired in a losing streak yet the players haven’t given up and are still working hard. Frustration is mounting because everyone’s been out sweating and bleeding for months and you’ve reached the point in the calendar where you might be able to turn things around if only some brave individual would step forward to challenge the leaders on their pessimistic assumptions and take the proverbial bull by the horns and … fight for change?

Thankfully something like this scenario is happening now within the GOP senate caucus on Capitol Hill. Republicans have enjoyed the upper chamber’s majority for going on three and a half years yet leadership hasn’t exactly taken advantage of the political power-play (or at least not very often) and patience is wearing thin with conservatives on the “team”. They’re demanding accomplishments and promises kept to share with the voters.

Unsurprisingly, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is leading the effort to stir senate leaders. Alexander Bolton of The Hill reported, “Cruz, who is up for reelection this year and faces a spirited challenger in Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), is leading a group of restive conservatives who want to vote on a budget resolution that would set up a special process — known as reconciliation — to allow the GOP to pass ambitious legislation, such as an ObamaCare repeal, with a simple majority.

“’We have 254 days until Jan. 3, 2019. I believe we need to do everything humanly possible to deliver on the promises we made to voters and to score major substantive victories for the American people while we have majorities in both houses and a Republican president,’ Cruz said last week.

“’If we do that, we maximize the chances of keeping majorities in both houses because we’re enacting policies that make a real and positive difference in people’s lives,’ he added.”

Bolton further reported Cruz delivered a spirited but respectful presentation to the Republican conference last week in an attempt to motivate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into committing to an action-oriented agenda that will take advantage of GOP chamber control before it’s too late.

Like in our locker room analogy above, Cruz “spoke up” and challenged the “coach” to do something audacious before time runs out on the party. Cruz is right -- November’s elections will take care of themselves – soon enough – so why should the “team” just sit around on their hands waiting and watching the hours tick by without taking it to their Democrat opponents and play a little inspired legislative offense?

Naturally among the GOP ruling class there were grumbles in response to Cruz’s pleas, mainly concerning the scarcity of numbers needed to attempt to accomplish anything substantive. McConnell basically killed Cruz’s idea of taking the reconciliation route because Republicans would need to have everyone on board to make such a plan work. Alaska RINO Senator Lisa Murkowski is quoted in Bolton’s article as pooh pooing the notion of bringing back Obamacare for another attempt at repeal. She won’t go for it.

What? You mean Republicans should keep trying to fulfill promises to the voters? Say it isn’t so!

Cruz isn’t an idiot and he certainly realizes what he’s suggesting would have very little chance at success in today’s senate where Republicans scarcely concur on the color of the sky much less agree in toto to come together to fight for real governmental reforms and improvements. Not only do they lack the senators on their side of the aisle to push something through, the leadership seems dead-set against even attempting to upset the political applecart so close to campaign season. “What about the polls?” they’d cry; “What about the polls?

Not to mention actually legislating would take time away from fundraising too. And wouldn’t passing controversial (to the media) bills provide fodder for Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren to call Republicans nasty names? Oh wait, they do that anyway…!

The more likely explanation for the senate’s perpetual inertia is McConnell remains beholden and loyal to the swamp and wouldn’t dream of actually trying to force the issue and unclog the bog lest it drain too quickly. McConnell’s feckless strategies have effectively dammed up everything for so long it would be out of character for the Kentucky establishmentarian to listen to boat-rocking constituent favorites like Cruz now.

Which basically results in the entire Trump agenda being held hostage by a token few Republican senators – namely Murkowski, Maine Senator Susan Collins and the always stodgy and often incoherent Senator John McCain (though McCain is absent battling brain cancer and may be forced to resign), among others. The GOP’s inability to accomplish anything is directly attributable to this stubborn and unreasonable group of contrarians who won’t be budged by common sense, the furious phone calls of conservatives (to fulfill their campaign promises) or by a leadership group all-too-indulgent of their stonewalling and childish grandstanding.

How is all of this going to make Republican voters feel come November?

Besides, there’s increasing evidence that if Republicans pushed hard enough some of the so-called “red state Democrats” would have to put their names on the record as for or against what President Trump wants. Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner reported, “Senate Democrats unanimously opposed President Trump's tax cuts, but several Democrats in red states are increasingly voting to approve key nominations from President Trump with a little more than six months before the election.

“Four of them — Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. — voted for both Mike Pompeo's nomination to become secretary of state and for Ric Grenell to become the ambassador to Germany after weeks of attacks from Republicans. Heitkamp made her announcement on Pompeo a week before the vote, leading to a slow stream of decisions by her colleagues that helped get the former CIA chief across the finish line.

“Some Democrats defend those votes by saying senators are eventually bound to consider what their voters want back home, regardless of what they think about the president. All four of those senators are up for re-election this year.”

Weaver’s article deals specifically with Trump’s nominees and the pressure Trump-won state Democrats are experiencing to throw the president a vote or two while still pretending to be objective in assessing every particular matter before them. Several fellow Democrats indicated these conflicted senators (which also includes Montana’s Jon Tester and Florida’s Bill Nelson) are torn between tying to do their jobs (i.e. kowtowing to the Democrat establishment) and pleasing the people who are set to judge them at the voting booth in November.

What a conflict! Imagine being a liberal politician and having to choose between complete obedience to Chuck Schumer and his crackpot demands (to make Democrats appear united to their radical leftist base) while also needing to consider the “folks back home” who went for Donald Trump by 20 points in the 2016 election. What do you do, Heidi Heitkamp (et al)?

You vote for administration nominees and in some cases, judges – that’s what you do!

But no tax cuts or Obamacare repeal or anything budget related that might give the impression you’re against the “little guy” or some other favored liberal constituency such as the environmentalist fringe. For a Democrat senator, agreeing to vote for Trump nominees is like contemplating clear liquid – you know it’s there but you still can’t see it. This way the liberal Democrat red-state senators can go back home to their constituents and say, “See, I voted with President Trump x number of times!” but, “I didn’t want to foist all those draconian cuts and debt on you the people!

The radical left in turn grants these certain six senators a pass because any Democrat from places full of ignorant hicks (like Missouri, Indiana or Montana) is superior to a conservative Republican. It’s a no-brainer!

It’s a stupid game these so-called “moderate” Democrats are playing with their state’s voters – pretend to be something they’re not (semi-conservative) in order to get re-elected so they can come back to Washington and start acting like liberals again.

Truth be told, establishment Republicans perform the same ruse. The GOP needs a lot more Ted Cruzes to speak up to McConnell and the Democrats. One can only hope we’ll see more like the Texas senator in the senate starting next year. Out in Utah, of course, none other than 2012 presidential loser Mitt Romney indicated if he wins, he’ll be an “insurgent” in Washington.

A Ted Cruz in the making in the Beehive State? Don’t bet on it.

David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reported, “The 71-year-old, former presidential nominee is vowing to do whatever it takes to end profligate federal spending and the trillions in debt required to finance it, as he campaigns across Utah for an open U.S. Senate seat. If blocking another $1.3 trillion omnibus isn’t mission impossible enough, Romney wants to pick up the pieces of last year’s embarrassing Obamacare-repeal collapse.

“Such lofty declarations, on issues that have bedeviled the Republican Party, have elicited glaring eye-rolls from skeptics Left, Right and center. Romney, as the governor of Massachusetts, worked with a Democratic legislature to craft the forerunner to Obamacare, earning a reputation for compromising pragmatism. But the presumptive successor to retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is unbowed.

“Romney is assuring voters that he’s too old, with too little to lose at this unique stage of a long professional career that has spanned lucrative years as a venture capitalist that made him fabulously wealthy, to the near-pinnacle of American politics, to arrive on Capitol Hill and suddenly fear the consequences of bucking President Trump or Republican leaders in Congress.”

Oddly enough, I’m inclined to believe Romney when he says he has too little to lose to fear bucking President Trump; but when it comes to defying party congressional leaders, however, is anyone buying it? When (or if) he sets foot in Washington Mitt will begin snuggling so close to the establishment that you wouldn’t be able to position a straw between them.

Romney basically asserts he’ll convince the GOP leadership to change its ways because he’s the ultimate-insider, meaning he knows everyone already and has campaigned for them and raised money for them and blah, blah, blah. What does it all mean? Romney won’t be going out for drinks with them – he’s Mormon, right? – so how does he expect to be able to strong-arm his fellow establishmentarians into giving up their profligate spending ways as the junior senator from a relatively minor western state with no inherent political power?

Mitt’s a good man, but even after all these years he doesn’t grasp why people don’t take to him. He’s the anti-Trump in more ways than one; Romney is about as plastic and inauthentic as Trump is loose and unencumbered. With all the rough edges, Trump is still natural. Mitt belongs in a wax museum.

The Republican “team” isn’t going to get anywhere by sitting on their hands and waiting for November to be over so they’ll know if they’re still in the majority or not. Senator Ted Cruz is the type of leader the GOP needs – the party should govern now like there’s no tomorrow.

Share this