Cruz on cloture

The office of Senator Cruz convened a conference call to discuss the state of play on the continuing battle over Obamacare this morning. At one point Senator Cruz referred to the call as predominantly involving conservative bloggers, though big league reporters including Byron York (Washington Examiner), Shannon Bream (Fox News Channel) and others were on the line. Nevertheless, Senator Cruz pitched his remarks to the bloggers, pleading with them (us) to keep the focus of the current tactical debate over government funding on the substantive issue of the damage wrought by Obamacare. Senator Cruz discussed Obamacare on the call, as he did in his marathon speech on the floor of the Senate, in terms of the damage to employment and the imposition of higher costs that we see occurring before our eyes.

I think it’s fair to call Obamacare an engine of destruction, as I have done repeatedly on this site, and the destruction is not only economic. Obamacare is an engine of destruction of liberty as well. Obamacare’s destructive force is virtually comprehensive. It comes to us courtesy of the farrago of bald-faced lies used to sell it publicly. I know I oppose Obamacare every bit as much as Senator Cruz, yet he would characterize me as supporting Harry Reid and the Democrats in the full funding of Obamacare if I were to vote in favor of cloture on the House’s continuing resolution before the Senate. I respectfully disagree.

In response to the opening question from Matt Boyle of Breitbart, Senator Cruz identified the critical vote on Obamacare this week as tomorrow’s vote on cloture. According to Senator Cruz, a vote in favor of cloture — as he put it, a vote with Harry Reid and the Democrats on cloture — is a vote in favor of the full funding of Obamacare. Again according to Senator Cruz, the vote to follow cloture on the House’s continuing resolution is “a show vote.” It allows Senators who support Obamacare to pretend that they oppose it. Senator Cruz impugns the honesty of those who say otherwise, although he purports to concede that many of his Republican colleagues characterize the disagreement with him as tactical and “I understand that view.”

Senator Cruz frequently invoked “the American people” in support of his position. If I took a shot of beer every time he invoked the support of “the American people” for his position, I’d be puking my guts out right now.

Senator Cruz suggests that his Republican colleagues who disagree with him aren’t listening to “the American people.” Yet the American people do not seem to support the likely outcome of a standoff between the White House and the Congress on the continuing resolution. As the Washington Times puts it: “Polls tend to show that a plurality of voters disapprove of Obamacare, but that they would rather see lawmakers carve out an alternative solution to the law than force a government shutdown to defund it.”

Whatever tactical disagreement I might have with Senator Cruz, and whatever lack of appreciation I have for the style of argument that converts a prudential question of tactics into a discrete question of high principle (which is the tenor of his argument despite his not-quite-concession to the contrary), I salute him for making the case against Obamacare as he has done with his awesome gifts and for raising the issue in the consciousness of the American people, as he has certainly done.

UPDATE: Audio of the conference call is posted here.

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