The outpouring of vitriol against the effort of a small group of Republican senators and House members using a variety of legislative tactics to block funding to certain parts of Obamacare is shocking even if it is unsurprising.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been compared to Hitler and said to be a “problem for our republic.” He’s been denounced as “long-winded” and “bizarre” by the very same talking heads who lauded an obscure Texas state senator when she engaged in a quixotic filibuster to temporarily block legislation that she passionately disagreed with. The Tea Party movement has been said to be motivated by racism for opposing Obamacare and also been compared to radical Islamic theocrats.
The constant stream of propaganda-level vitriol against Cruz and his allies like Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) is not because their efforts to defund Obamacare face tough odds. What has upset their critics is that conservatives are now fighting back via the same hard-nosed tactics that the self-styled progressives invented and have been employing for centuries.
One needn’t hearken back to the activities of the KGB, Saul Alinsky or the Fabian Socialists to look for examples of what I’m talking about. The very law that congressional conservatives are pushing back against is a perfect example of the hard-nosed tactics which leftists routinely employ when seeking their own ends.
It hasn’t been pointed out nearly enough that the same media/Democrat chorus which is denouncing “abuse” of procedure had not one unkind thing to say about the fact that Obamacare itself was written via closed-door partisan negotiations with major input from prescription drug companies. The bill was loaded up with all sorts of programs and regulations that basically no one knew about (we had to pass it to find out what was in it as Nancy Pelosi famously said) because its proponents were rushing madly to remake one-eighth of the U.S. economy before anyone really caught on.
Once out of the House, the chicanery continued in the upper chamber as the Orwellianly named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was shoved through the Senate on a party-line vote via procedural trickery in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve.
But now that Ted Cruz and a handful of conservatives are using legislative legerdemain to delay or defund Obamacare, the self-appointed arbiters of what’s right and true in politics are up in arms.
In the far left mindset, it is only they who are entitled to act vociferously in defense of principle. That’s what has gotten the media elite and the party they dictate to upset. Conservatives have taken hold of the genie bottle which leftists discovered centuries ago and the media elite will be damned if they will allow that to happen. This is why purely symbolic long speeches by Wendy Davis deserve to be publicized glowingly for weeks while Ted Cruz deserves to be denounced as an enemy of the republic.
One does not have to approve of Cruz or any of the people who are helping his effort to understand what’s at work here: this moment (and earlier when Rand Paul also dared to stand up for privacy and civil rights in the Drone Age) is one of the rare times where conservatives are pushing the political envelope rather than merely playing defense, something that has not happened since the days following the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994.
In a piece for the American Spectator, former Reagan and Jack Kemp aide Jeffrey Lord draws a perfect historical parallel to explain the situation:
Above all, what RomneyCare was about was a supposed conservative approach to health care. It was in fact a good example of what Margaret Thatcher’s conservative intellectual guru Sir Keith Joseph accurately labeled as a turn of the “socialist ratchet.” Joseph’s point, which the soon-to-be prime minister took to heart, was that Labour governments spent their time steering the government left. When a Conservative government arrived in 10 Downing Street, the left turn was accepted as the status quo. Post-war conservative prime ministers (Churchill’s second go round, followed by conservative successors Eden, MacMillan, Douglas-Home, and Heath) thus began their tenures accepting the latest leftward turn as the new normal.
Over time the effect of all of this was a steady, always dependable left turn for Britain, with the so-called “Conservative Party” conserving nothing but Labor’s direction for the country. The reason Lady Thatcher literally went to her grave with a mammoth ceremonial funeral befitting a British monarch, lauded as the “greatest peacetime prime minister” in British history with her funeral cortege applauded by adoring crowds in a moving tribute, is quite simple. Margaret Thatcher put a stop to the Conservative acceptance of the socialist ratchet. Like her friend Ronald Reagan, she turned the ship of state in another direction altogether. Both took tremendous criticism in so doing. There were cries that they were ruining the political reputation of their respective Conservative and Republican parties, that they were employing bad tactics and dumb politics, they were dangerous, cold, and irrational, if not crazy.
But Lord is not the only one perceptive enough to see what is transpiring. Two hosts at the MSNBC network (the id of the American left) stumbled upon the truth at least to some degree.
The first was Chris Hayes who, in an appearance on fellow Democrat Bill Maher’s show, admitted a begrudging sort of admiration for Cruz and his colleagues. His only caveat was that he wished their zeal were being applied to an issue position with which he agreed.
“If there was a liberal caucus in the United States government that could, you know, hold the continuing resolution hostage to try to stop a war that I thought was horrible, I would say, yeah, do it,” he told Maher when quizzed about the tactics favored by conservatives as a last-ditch effort to block or delay Obamacare.
Hayes was not alone in seeing something big is at work here. His colleague Chris Matthews, not nearly as intelligent, almost seems to understand. His only problem is that he has things backward. Yesterday during a guest appearance on “Morning Joe,” Matthews saw a chance to quote the brilliant Renaissance political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli in the context of discussing the Cruz filibuster and the defund Obamacare uprising:
“This is from Chapter 6 of The Prince,” Matthews said and then pulled out a copy of the book and began quoting from an English translation:
“We must keep in mind that there is nothing more difficult and dangerous or more doubtful of success than an attempt to introduce a new order of things in any state. For the innovator has for enemies, all those who derived advantages from the old order of things, while those who expect to benefit by the new institutions will be but lukewarm defenders. This indifference arises in part from fear of their adversaries who are favored in the existing laws, and partly from the incredulity of men who have no faith in anything new that is not the result of well established experience.”
In Matthews’s reading, it is President Obama who is the innovator who has few allies. And yet if one steps back and puts aside the partisanship, it is quite obvious that it is Ted Cruz and his cohort who have far fewer allies. Anyone can readily see by turning on the television where critics of the defund Obamacare caucus on both left and right are all over the place (including behind the anchor desk) while Cruz et al. are being given little actual airtime to plead their case.
Regardless of whether or not Obamacare actually is defunded, we are witnessing something significant, even if not everyone can fully understand it. As another successful political figure once put it, “change is hard, but we’ve seen that it’s possible, as long as you’re willing to keep up that fight.”