Boy, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz sure threw a bomb under the congressional bus, huh? Tried to blackmail the president. Threatened to shut down the very government and end life as we know it. All in a selfish and pointless 21-hour talkathon – and, hey, let’s not call it a filibuster – railing against Obamacare.
But we sure are talking about the Affordable Care Act, in a way we would hot have been without Cruz’s lonely crusade. And that has to be a good thing, given that a strong and growing majority of Americans want nothing to do with it.
Alas, in the end Obamacare will go through. If, as many of us suspect, it collapses under its own weight and complexity, there will be a very good campaign topic for the 2014 midterm elections, and none politicians will be able to hide where they stood on the issue. If that wasn’t true before, Cruz made sure it is now.
His “dangerous extremism” has also demonstrated that there are rifts within the Republican Party almost as strong as the divide between Republicans and Democrats. Should the GOP toe the strict conservative line in contrast to the Big Government agenda of Democrats? Or should they keep trying the more moderate approach of trying to tone down Democratic excesses?
How that debate is resolved will determine the future of the GOP and, perhaps, the direction of the country. A recent poll shows 60 percent of Americans think the federal government is too powerful. But so far, they have declined to kick too many who support a progressive agenda out of office. How they behave after Obamacare unfolds is anybody’s guess.