EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

September 27, 2013

Column: Ted Cruz talkathon killed his White House hopes

Anyone who reads to children knew right away that Ted Cruz, the Texas tea partier who for some unexplainable reason is in the Senate, read Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” with just the right emphasis and depth of feeling.

Sadly for Cruz, few, if any, children were listening as he droned on for 21 hours and 19 minutes in one of the strangest mock filibusters ever staged on the Senate floor.

But adults in the audience heard something Cruz did not intend: his career crashing. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has always thought of himself as the smartest person in the room, will never be president.

Cruz staged his inexplicable talkathon against cutting off debate on the budget and then turned around to join 99 other senators in voting to cut off debate. His point was that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more parts of which go into effect Oct. 1, is evil and the government should be shut down to block its enforcement.

Legislators around the world in such places as Uzbekistan and Mongolia undoubtedly scratched their heads in puzzlement. What is this thing called democracy?

We concentrate on Cruz this week because he has come to represent everything that is wrong with Washington.

Hoping (and failing) to garner the same kind of adulation that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., did for filibustering in opposition to U.S. drone attacks, Cruz staged his own verbal marathon, in which he compared those who say it’s too late to stop Obamacare with those who did nothing to stop Hitler. There is general agreement that Cruz’s 21 hours were 1) a waste of time and 2) a failed effort to put himself front and center for the 2016 presidential race.

Americans do not elect extremists to be president.

Cruz did not come to Washington to help solve the nation’s serious problems. He came to obstruct, block compromise, showboat and potentially damage the economy by trying to shut down the government if Obamacare is not defunded and tell the world the United States should not honor debts already incurred by raising the debt ceiling.

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