If we are to believe that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) fervently believes that conservatives must halt Obamacare now or forever lose the argument, not to mention the Republic, then several things follow.
First, he should demand complete repeal of Obamacare in the CR. Why only defunding? Leaving items like the medical device tax makes it easy for a future Congress simply to put back the funding.
Second, he must filibuster whatever comes back to the Senate and force the shutdown. If he doesn’t, then according to Cruz’s logic, it means complete failure. The failure to get rid of Obamacare now, in his view, means Obamacare can never be undone (otherwise, why not play the long game, like trying to win the Senate and House?). Republicans who run on Obamacare in 2014 and 2016 would be fighting an inevitable, losing battle and/or be engaged in a great fraud of voters.
The idea all along was to shutdown the government and blame the president. That’s what Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says over and over again. So why not go for it? Go ahead, Sen. Cruz! Shut down the government and try to convince the country it’s Obama’s fault. Let’s not pretend he couldn’t do it, at least for awhile. He’s rammed Congress up against the deadline and with a lot of legislative maneuvering, it’s inconceivable that the CR would pass before Oct. 1., if Cruz filibustered and delayed at every corner.
And finally, if Heritage Action and FreedomWorks don’t insist that he carry on to the bitter end, then they too would have conceded that it is possible to live to fight another day. Otherwise, there’s no reason for campaigns and fundraising to get rid of Obamacare. It would be dishonest to claim and raise money today on the principle that this is the final moment, only to reverse course and insist the fight is still on after Cruz eventually is shut down. It would be surrender.
If taking it to the limit and exhausting the very last procedural delay in order to convince the public to blame Obama really isn’t what he’s all about, then it’s just been a meaningless show, right? And every Republican candidate, activist and elected official including him should, if he cannot rip out Obamacare now — by delaying funding and convincing voters it’s all Obama’s fault — then they should drop it as an issue. Are he and the GOP prepared to do that?
UPDATE: That Cruz went along with the vote (which turned out to be unanimous) to move the bill toward final cloture suggests he’s not really about delaying the vote at all. Nothing has changed because of Cruz’s rant; the same vote will take place on cloture as before and the result will be the same.