Texas senator’s pompous behavior is an embarrassment
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 15:09
For 21 hours, in a period spanning from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, Senator Ted Cruz took narcissism to a new level.
He has taken the effort to defund implementation of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – on his shoulders, and has led the right wing of the Republican Party on a self-destructive path. His eagerness to shut down the government in order to achieve an ideological ambition is more than just ill fated; it reflects a lack of genuine interest in pragmatic governance.
There is no chance that President Obama and Congressional Democrats will concede over Obamacare. Nor should they – it was passed by Congress, signed into law by a president and deemed constitutional by a conservative Supreme Court.
As long as Cruz and Tea Party Republicans insist on plunging ahead with a process that can only be characterized as inflicting pressure rather than following constitutional practice, the public should continue to express deep and dignified umbrage.
And this should say something about who Cruz really is – someone willing to push the government into a shutdown in order to get his way, in order to hold his own party and the entire U.S. government hostage to his personal convictions.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has called him a “fraud.”
And it is an utter facade when Cruz asserts that his actions are inspired by his deep concern for the public. In a recent profile in GQ, “The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas,” we get an image of self-absorbed pomposity, a level of conceit so enormous that consideration for others is comically absent. While a student – he went to Princeton for undergrad and Harvard for law school – he refused to study with students from the “lesser ivies.”
Ah, a man of the people.
Wherever he goes, he can be seen wearing his Princeton class ring. As Lawrence O’Donnell (a graduate of Harvard) pointed out on Tuesday night, hardly any graduate from that or any other Ivy League institution wears a class ring unless they desperately need you to know that they went there.
But Cruz, the man who could induce the government into another manufactured crisis, sees it differently. In his interminable speech on the Senate floor, he likened allowing the implementation of Obamacare to appeasing the Nazis. He probably didn’t take the time to consider how ridiculous the comparison is.
He’s too preoccupied with his own image.
Part of his rationale for blocking the health care law is that it must be stopped before Americans get hooked on “all its sugary substance.” In other words, we can’t let Americans have health care before they realize they like it too much.
Even more egregious in his strategic efforts is his lack of contributing to the public’s desire for a willingness from Congress to collaborate. He thinks they would rather see absurdity propagated under the illusion of courage.
Speaker John Boehner had in the past vocalized his belief that the course of action Cruz has engaged in would be unhelpful – an inept attempt to achieve the Republican Party’s goals. John McCain has echoed the same sentiment. But Boehner’s concession last week to allow the House to vote on defunding Obamacare ignored logic; thrusting us into this conflict is likely an act of political suicide.
It was Newt Gingrich and Republicans that caused the last government shutdown in 1995-96, and it lasted three weeks. By the end, the public blamed the Republicans. Bill Clinton, whatever he may have been, was the president – and they had no right to shut the government down on him.
Those who were around for that quandary remember the damaging impacts it had on the Republican Party at the time. And those who know their history should be thoughtful enough to keep that in mind.
Most Americans aren’t so partisan that they prefer a dysfunctional government to a functional government they disagree with.
With all the problems the nation faces presently – immigration, gun control, high unemployment and an ongoing economic recovery – this mess that Cruz has dug us deeper in is a profound waste of time.
A waste of time Cruz is gladly taking credit for – with a dignified sense of honor, and a mythologized sense of self.
The word ‘narcissistic’ comes from Greek Mythology. Narcissus, whom after being rejected by the nymph Echo, fell in love with his own reflection – causing his inevitable demise. Cruz is leading his party into a downfall and rendering the American public exasperated – more than anything else, people want government to work.
Right now, Cruz may relish being in the limelight – he’s the hero of a minority of extremist right-wingers. But when it’s all said and done, and this inevitably fails, there will likely be only one person still in love with him: himself.