Ted Cruz and the Battle Against Obamacare

The visceral reaction to Cruz’s speech by media elites and even fellow Republicans was extraordinary. A few months before, another Texas politician, Democrat state senator Wendy Davis, received glowing coverage from liberal media elites who supported her filibuster of an anti-abortion bill in that state’s legislature. The same press corps would roundly condemn Cruz as a showboat, demagogue, or worse.

For more than three years, Republicans in Congress, conservative activists and allied interest groups have sought in vain to defeat ObamaCare. They likewise were unsuccessful in trying to prevent the reelection of the eponymous author of that program in 2012. Their lack of success with both endeavors did not breed resignation or despair. Rather, with key parts of ObamaCare set to take effect on the same day that funding for much of the federal government would expire, conservatives sought to tie the two together and defund ObamaCare. 

Galvanizing those efforts were the remarks and leadership of a freshman senator from Texas. Senator Ted Cruz’s 21-hour anti-ObamaCare speech on the Senate floor on September 24 sought to deny money to President Barack Obama’s prime legacy. The national health-care measure is unpopular, and is rattling small businesses and taxpayers facing the costs of this latest federal entitlement. Cruz’s speech—it was not a filibuster per se—lambasted the president’s program. He listed the dire effects of the law and those it impacted, ranging from young people being denied the American dream (“Where is the outrage?”) to the “single mom working at a diner,” whose hours are cut back to comply with federal mandates. 

The visceral reaction to Cruz’s speech by media elites and even fellow Republicans was extraordinary. A few months before, another Texas politician, Democrat state senator Wendy Davis, received glowing coverage from liberal media elites who supported her filibuster of an anti-abortion bill in that state’s legislature. The same press corps would roundly condemn Cruz as a showboat, demagogue, or worse. Raw bipartisan criticism was not slow in coming: Republican Senator John McCain called him a “wacko bird,” while Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Cruz a “schoolyard bully.” Perhaps no American political leader had provoked such harsh attacks since Sarah Palin was named to the GOP national ticket in 2008.

Read the rest of the article at the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research

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