Don’t Be an Idiot and Think Ted Cruz Is an Idiot

What was that all about? That’s the question senators were asking themselves Wednesday as freshman Senator Ted Cruz finished his 21-hour filibuster of the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare. In typical fashion, senators spent most of their energy quibbling over whether the speech even met the technical requirements of a filibuster. Senator John McCain sniffed it was merely “extended oratory.” As usual, most lawmakers missed the bigger point. Cruz’s speech was an act of defiance — a lonely stand against the majority. That’s what the filibuster was always meant to be. Nowadays filibusters are most often used to delay action to extract mundane concessions, like votes on amendments destined to go nowhere.  Cruz’s speech wasn’t intended to stop Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from restoring funding to the healthcare law. It showed the Texas freshman won’t go with the flow to please “the establishment,” which Cruz, using his best Darth Vader voice, compared to the evil empire. That’s what voters wanted when they elected Barack Obama in 2008 — and many felt they didn’t get. Maybe Cruz is cynically trying to build his e-mail lists of conservative donors and activists, as critics charge. Maybe defunding ObamaCare will actually hurt the little guy, as Democrats say. It can’t be denied, however, that Cruz has energized citizens around the country to put new pressure on Republicans to hold the line against funding the law.

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