Cruz, and Other Heroic Losers

Sometimes it's worthwhile staging a fight you can't win.

Conservatives are agog over Sen. Ted Cruz (R, TX) and his spectacular not-really-a-filibuster against Obamacare that lasted 21 hours and change.  Cruz spoke about everything from his kids to Green Eggs and Ham, but mostly tore apart the lies, fraud, tyranny, and theft that is the Orwellian-named "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called time, and the measure proceeded to pass 100-0.  Yes, even Ted Cruz himself voted for the question at hand, which was a procedural vote concerning a budget resolution that defunds Obamacare but which, thanks to that vote, will now have that defunding amended out.

Why did Sen. Cruz choose to grandstand a) over an issue that's already been long since lost politically, b) in a forum where he represents a minority view among his own party representatives which, in turn, are themselves the minority party in the Senate, c) knowing that he would invite nothing but ridicule and slanted reporting from the leftist mainstream media, and thus d) where he couldn't possibly win?

Death Before Dishonor?

America and Western culture has a long tradition of honoring those who die in the defense of lost causes.  Half the country respects the Confederates who fought and died for the Lost Cause even though slavery was in fact an evil cause that deserved to be lost.  Across thousands of years, mankind has remembered the 300 Spartans who died at the Battle of Thermopylae and held back the Persian army.  Gen. Custer made egregious strategic errors that should result in his ridicule as a fool, but because he and his command died in combat to the last stand, his Last Stand is honored and he achieved immortality.

Sen. Cruz didn't die, of course; we're blessed that our toxic politics haven't yet devolved quite that far.  Conservatives do see their beliefs, their traditions, and their country dying, though, and feel that somebody ought to fight as though they care.  Cruz delivered such a fight, even as Rand Paul grabbed America's attention over Obama's targeted assassinations.

But when it comes right down to it, their efforts failed. Leftist tyranny rolled on unimpeded, and even though the federal government is now technically shut down as part of the ongoing Obamacare struggle, Obamacare itself is legally in force all the same.

King Leonidas' 300 Spartans died, but their sacrifice inspired the rest of Attica to fight harder and eventually defeat Xerxes.  For some reason, the strenuous efforts of a handful of conservative leaders don't seem to have any effect on the rest of Republican elected officials.  Yes, the base clearly supports Cruz, and a clear majority of all Americans want Obamacare stopped - but we can't even get a clear majority of Republican senators to go all-out in this battle!

There is a war on for America.  Is America going to remain the Land of the Free?  Or is it going to become just another Eurosclerotic soft-tyranny welfare nanny-state?

Whenever there's a war, people ask themselves - who's going to win?  When things start going badly for one side, the amoral and cynical start positioning themselves so as to survive under what they believe will be their new rulers.  We see a lot of this in many popular TV dramas like "Game of Thrones."  Is this immoral or just practical?

Individual Americans are starting to ask themselves these kind of questions too.  It's become obvious that the Obama administrations will use the full power of government to bring harm to his political enemies; the IRS audits of Tea Party groups and major donors are just the tip of the iceberg.  Not many people have the wealth to fight or the megaphone to rally allies to their defense: Rush Limbaugh is probably safe for a while at least, but lil ol' us are another story.

We have to eat.  Is it time to recognize that the war's been lost, and to start trying to make accomodations with the victors?

It would be interesting to know whether Cruz thinks it's over and he just wanted to raise his own profile by one last noisy fight, maybe parlaying his notoriety into a 2016 presidential nomination, as quite a few pundits believe.  Or does he think we can still win, or could have won if Republicans had stood with him as the overwhelming phone calls from constituents forlornly demanded that they do?

Whenever cynicism seems to overwhelm us, we need to think of Winston Churchill.  Never did a cause seem more thoroughly lost when London was being pounded flat by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz, after England had lost nearly all its best army equipment at Dunkirk and large chunks of its navy in both the Atlantic and in the Pacific.  But Churchill inspired the British to fight on, and on, and on - until Hitler got tired of waiting and instead turned East to meet his doom in the snows of Russia, as Napoleon had done a century before.  The fact that the Republicans were willing to let the government shut down suggests that at least a majority of them don't think the fight is quite over yet.

Unfortunately, American conservatism hasn't had a Churchill in a long time.  The two George Bushes were decent men but couldn't string two words together to save their lives.  Romney and McCain, well, the less said about their inspirational leadership the better.  You have to go back to Reagan to find a conservative who could really speak to America, and fewer remember him with each passing day.

Every few months, conservative pundits go all agog at "the New Reagan."  Is it Marco Rubio?  Bobby Jindal?  Chris Christie?  Maybe Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, or Mike Huckabee?  Yes, even Scragged is still searching for someone to don the Mantle of Reagan.

Like those others before him, Ted Cruz is standing in front of the mantle on its hook, with all conservatism holding its breath to see whether he can actually pick it up and put it on, or whether he'll trip over his feet (or be pushed by tratitorous Republican elites) and fall flat on his face in the mud like everyone else.

We aren't terribly hopeful.  But at least he's trying - and as long as there are conservatives who try to lead, there's a chance that one of them will figure out how to actually do it.  Then maybe instead of heroic losers, we'll find a path to victory.

In Mr. Cruz's case, it's possible that the huge number of problems with Obamacare coupled with Mr. Obama's amateurish performance in the Middle East and other foreign fields may be leading ordinary citizens to understand just how damaging our current administration's ideas really are.  If enough voters catch on, Democrats who offer equality of poverty for all instead of promoting prosperity will lose elections.  If that's going to happen, and Mr. Cruz gets out in front of the wave, he'll be a shoo-in for the Republican nomination.  Then the hard work begins - but first we have to get that far.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

Great article. It seems to me that the only way to get the Obama cult under control is to cut the props out from under each member of Congress who identifies with Obama policies.

The only way to do that is to threaten them with loss of their luxury jobs and luxury retirements. They are vulnerable since most do not appreciate the deep anger felt by most Americans nor do they understand the depth of the country's economic mess that is so rapidly moving toward socialism.

They need to understand that not only can they be defeated for reelection but they also lose if there is no Congress to retire from. There needs to be an extensive campaign launched to raise the possibility of a constitutional crisis -- political or otherwise that removes Congress from decision making. Perhaps a vague possibility of something like tar and feathers would be sufficient to change some minds. The vision of Armani suits covered in feathers is satisfying. Actually, hoards of Americans descending on D.C. might do the job.

I'm sure there are many who would like to take a more direct path toward Congress neutering but that may not be necessary.

October 1, 2013 2:01 PM
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