Texas Senator Ted Cruz is rallying the conservative base of the Republican Party with a simple message. "A significant amount of Republicans assume, with an impasse, that President Obama will never ever give up his principles, so Republicans have to give up theirs," Cruz said Tuesday evening at a town hall meeting. "If you have an impasse, you know -- one side or the other has to blink. How do we win this fight? Don't blink." But the ambitious Cruz knows better, and so do many in the Republican Party.
The ever-cocksure Cruz has set his sites on defunding Obamacare at all costs. "Under no circumstances will I vote for a continuing resolution that funds even one penny of Obamacare," Cruz said in his town hall remarks. But a continuing resolution is necessary to provide funds for the federal government to operate. If Congress fails to act in a timely manner it risks shutting down the government.
A growing number of leading Republicans are opposed to this strategy because they believe that the GOP will be blamed for the consequences. "I think it's the dumbest idea I've ever heard of," Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said last month. "I'm for stopping Obamacare, but shutting down the government will not stop Obamacare," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky town hall meeting earlier this month. And Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., commissioned a Congressional Research Service report that shows that the health care law would get its funding even if the government shuts down.
Former John McCain presidential campaign aide Nicolle Wallace said on MSNBC Wednesday, "The reason we're going to lose this debate about defunding Obamacare is because we don't occupy the White House." She added, "We don't have the ability to pass laws and then sign them. The best way to win this fight is to elect a Republican president." Wallace also denounced Cruz for doing "a whole lot of fear mongering" and being "intellectually dishonest" when he was asked at a recent event why Congress doesn't impeach the president. She said Cruz responded, "Because we don't have the votes." Wallace bluntly corrected the senator, "The true answer, the intellectually honest answer: Because he's not committed an impeachable offense."
Senator Cruz is on a crusade to become president. He has deftly deflected criticism that he may not qualify because he was born in Canada. Most constitutional scholars appear to agree he does, in fact, qualify because his mother is American, though it says nothing about persons with a dual citizenship. Cruz said in a statement Monday, "Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I'm an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American." Ironically, President Obama's qualifications for office are still questioned by some who wrongly believe he was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii, even though his mother was American. Perhaps leading "Birther" mogul Donald Trump can clarify Cruz's status?
Bertrand Russell once wrote, "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are always cocksure and the intelligent are always filled with doubt." But Senator Cruz is not stupid, and he knows it. He exudes self-confidence and swagger wherever he goes. Famed Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who taught Cruz, told The Daily Caller this past May, "Without a doubt he is among the smartest students I've ever had... I've had great students but he has to be at the top of anyone's short list, in terms of raw brain power."
Senator Cruz knows that if he can win over the conservative wing of his party with stirring rhetoric filled with red meat, he will be in a formidable position for the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. This strategy may indeed secure him the nomination. However, Cruz is also smart enough to realize that he will have to move more to the center on health care, immigration, entitlements, social issues and national security in order to attract the number of independent voters needed to win the White House. No doubt, he will have no problem doing so.
Conservatives, take off your blinders, and don't blink!