Never one to either under-represent a problem or waste an opportunity, the guy who bashed Obamacare for 21 hours on the Senate floor responded this way: “It seems that President Obama’s paid political operatives are out in force today. And you know why? Because the men and women in this room scare the living daylights out of him!”
That got a standing ovation he answered by clasping his hands and bowing ever so slightly, so he ramped it up even further, and as a young woman in a ponytail was hustled out of the crowded ballroom at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, called, “I’m actually glad the president’s whole staff is here instead of actually doing mischief in the country.”
Heckler #6 inspired him to ask, “How scared is this president? What a statement of fear. Oh, they don’t want the truth to be heard.”
The crowd of conservative Christians — who though they may hate Washington, have lately been driving the train here — took over the heckler-handling at that point, answering #7, 8 and 9 by chanting “U-S-A!”
The freshman senator paid them the high compliment of keeping House Republicans from agreeing not to reopen the government without major concessions.
Elsewhere in the GOP, there is alarm over recent polling that shows much of the public blaming those very Republicans for the shutdown.
These truest of true believers think they deserve not opprobrium but a thank-you note. They cheer all the harder when Cruz says the House “needs to keep doing what it’s doing, which is standing strong.”
They delight in the idea that their confab has drawn infiltrators. “We’re not even allowed to have a meeting without being disrupted!’’ one woman says.
Another favored speaker on Friday morning was Cruz’s fellow tea partyer and filibusterer Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who tells the assembled that from “Boston to Zanzibar, there’s a worldwide war on Christianity,” which our government is propping up. The way the followers of Christ are under attack today, Paul says, it’s “almost as if we lived in the Middle Ages.’’
For those of you who think that’s where this crowd hails from, well, in a way that’s what they want you to think; just as liberals once thrilled to find themselves on President Richard Nixon’s enemies’ list, these conservatives encourage the media scorn, then embrace it as validation.
They’re not remotely worried, they say, about the government shutdown, or the debt ceiling, or even those polling numbers that suggest the GOP has set itself on fire in the public square.