Reading “Green Eggs and Ham” to the children at bedtime is perfectly acceptable way to end the day in most American households.
Choosing to do it from the floor of the U.S. Senate, then using the story as a metaphor for why you oppose Obamacare is a little weird, but no weirder than putting on a 20-hour faux filibuster designed to get your colleagues to vote against a bill you actually support.
At least when Texas Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis made her stand on the floor of the Texas Legislature last June, she had a logical goal in mind: to run out the clock on the Legislature’s session to prevent an antiabortion bill from passing.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called Ted Cruz’s stand against Obamacare a “waste of time” Wednesday morning. He had a point. In terms of actually accomplishing anything from a legislative standpoint, it was pointless.
But Cruz’s lonely mission was not a waste of time if his goal was increase his name recognition, energize the tea party and persuade Republicans who already loathe Obamacare that they should keep on loathing it.
“I've had so many people email me so uplifted by what you did in the last 21 hours and what you did leading up to it,” Rush Limbaugh told Cruz, who was on the radio barely an hour after leaving the Senate floor. “So many people are so happy that there finally is some leadership. They're so happy that, finally, somebody is doing in Washington what they were elected to do, what they said they were going to do.”
He certainly has tried. But so far, Obamacare is not only intact, it is due to begin enrolling uninsured Americans in healthcare exchanges next week. Also, "leadership" may not be quite the right word, considering almost none of his Republican colleagues approved of his gambit.
If you didn’t get a chance to watch Cruz on Tuesday night, you can check out the transcript.
“When we are home on the campaign trail, we say we listen,” said Cruz. “Yet something about this Senate floor, something about Washington, D.C. — I don’t know if it is the water, something in the air, the cherry blossoms — but people get here and they stop listening to the American people.”
Actually, what happens when politicians like Cruz arrive in Washington is that they run smack up against their own intransigence and the facts on the ground: Republicans may run the House, but they are a minority in the Senate.
They also run up against the insurmountable fact that President Obama, whose own 2008 campaign trail promise resulted in the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, was reelected in 2012 by a comfortable margin. And they seem to forget that he beat a man who vowed his first act as president would be to repeal Obamacare. The American people rejected that.
They run up against the fact that while Americans may be suspicious of Obamacare, which has yet to be implemented, they actually think health insurance is a good idea.
Americans like the idea that insurance companies will will no longer deny people coverage for preexisting conditions, or put lifetime caps on medical care. Parents think being able to keep their children on their health plans until they turn 26 is a fantastic boon.
“Obamacare is the biggest job-killer in this country,” Cruz said on the Senate floor Tuesday night.
That is simply untrue.
Surveys about whether Obamacare will lead to job loss say many contradictory things — some jobs may be lost when employers who do not want to offer coverage to full-time employees cut back on their hours or coverage, but part-time employees will be able to purchase healthcare from the online exchanges that are due to begin Oct. 1.
Other, higher-wage jobs will be created by the increased demand for healthcare and the apparatus required to implement the new law.
One survey estimated that close to 1 million people may leave the job market for early retirement because they will no longer have to keep working in order to have reasonably priced health insurance.
And last year, the Urban Institute found that universal healthcare did not have a negative effect on employment in Massachusetts, the only state with a universal mandate. Then-Gov. Mitt Romney had championed the ambitious plan in 2006, and it became the model for Obamacare four years later.
“The American people want to stop this madness,” said Cruz, “and so do I.”
Well, they’ll be able to stop the madness as soon as Obamacare is implemented. Luckily, all plans are required to offer mental health services.To paraphrase the great Dr. Seuss:
You can have them in a box.
You can have them with a fox.
You can have them here or there.
You can have them anywhere!