Commentary

Cruz Control

Ted Cruz wants to run for president of the United States of America. Cruz, the junior Republican senator from Texas, is popular among Republican voters as a potential candidate in the 2016 election, according to a June survey by Gallup, Inc., a polling company. Though young, he is fast becoming an influential politician and household name, thanks to his September 24 filibuster, which began at 2:41 p.m. and lasted for 21 hours and 19 minutes. This filibuster, though hailed by his fellow Republicans as proof of his political adeptness, only further indicates his lack of political maturity and utter incompetence in serving the needs of the American public.

Cruz’s entire performance was meant to underscore his party’s wish to defund the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare), but rather than defending his opinion and offering up suggestions for a compromise, he simply made a spectacle of himself, reading from Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham,” practicing his Darth Vader voice and reciting passages from Ayn Rand novels.

How can we, as a nation, allow someone with such an immature and unyielding attitude towards politics run the country someday?

The significance of the filibuster is the dire circumstance that surrounded it. Obamacare has been a subject of heated debate in the Senate, with Republicans refusing to sign this fiscal year’s budget until the Act is defunded. As a result, at the stroke of midnight on October 1, when the United States officially entered the next fiscal year, non-essential government agencies shut down, and a series of automatic budget cuts, known as automatic sequestration, took effect. It was nothing short of immoral for Cruz to stand before Congress and waste 21 hours that could have been spent working towards a compromise on government funding. Unfortunately, this is but one instance of Cruz’s radically conservative ideals and infantile politicking.

Cruz also threatened in March to filibuster any gun control bills brought to the Senate floor. Any politician who believes it reasonable to filibuster contentious legislation rather than promote actual debate is completely absurd. Besides their childishness, Cruz’s actions reveal him to be a fiery, perhaps even rogue senator, who lacks the decorum and self-restraint necessary for any individual holding a public office. This June on “The Wells Report,” Cruz again replaced rational thought with hyperbole, comparing the Obama Administration to the Cuban regime of Fidel Castro, from whom Cruz’s father fled in 1957 (though Cruz did at least concede that Obama had not quite “descended to the level of communist dictatorship”). To put his remarks into context, Cruz was discussing religion in the military.

In terms of actual policy, Cruz is uncompromisingly right-wing, as seen in this week’s performance. He is staunchly pro-life, pro-gun and anti-gay-marriage. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in July, Cruz said of same-sex marriage, “If we keep going down this path, we’re risking losing our nation; we’re risking losing the incredible oasis of liberty.” The connection between the right to marry and the loss of American liberties is beyond obscure to the rational mind. As the Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to 2008, much of Cruz’s work focused on religion in politics, with his greatest triumphs widely considered to be his defense of the Ten Commandments statue that sits outside the Texas legislature and of the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools in Texas.

Returning to Cruz’s filibuster, the senator clearly has no idea what he is doing. Even fellow Senate Republicans will not back him, believing that he caused the shutdown. They accuse him of lacking any plan, as he has yet to provide a suitable alternative to defunding Obamacare. “It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn’t have a strategy. He never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was,” said one senator to CBS News on the condition of anonymity.

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah said, “I just don’t believe anybody benefits from shutting the government down.” Republicans and Democrats alike see the government shutdown as a legitimate threat, and thus Cruz’s silly, rambling monologue served only to trivialize the matter.

It is clear that Cruz’s Tea Party ideals and inability to participate maturely in politics would mark him as 2016’s Rick Perry: just another Republican hardliner who lacks the knowledge and skill required for such a position. So do not let his jaw-dropping filibuster performance persuade you; Ted Cruz is none other than a child in a Republican senator’s body, hardly fit to debate, let alone to lead the nation.

Reference Gallup Politics’ data on Republican favorability ratings: http://www.gallup.com/poll/163082/paul-ryan-favorite-republicans.aspx