Rand Paul did a 13-hour filibuster earlier this year in protest of Pres. Obama’s drone program, which even some Democrats praised Paul for. And now Ted Cruz pulls off a 21-hour filibuster over ObamaCare. That means constant talking the whole time you’re on the floor. You can’t leave the platform to eat or go to the bathroom or for any other reason. If you do, your filibuster is over. How these guys physically are able to do this, I don’t know. Whether Cruz’s filibuster will make any difference in whether ObamaCare gets funded, which is wildly unpopular according to every poll out there, or the government shuts down or not on October 1, I’m not sure. Whether you agree with what they’re filibustering over or not, you have to admire their passion, if nothing else. I don’t like idolizing politicians, but as far as I’m concerned, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and the rest supporting them are the closest thing Congress has right now to heroes.
Ted Cruz has proved himself the David Blaine of US politics. The freshman Republican senator’s 21-hour pseudo-filibuster was an immensely stylish endurance stunt — a feat made all the more impressive by the rhetorical fluency that did not flag, the clarity of argument that was present in the first hour and the 21st and the unflappable demeanor.
Unlike Blaine, Cruz seemed none the worse for wear at the end. Remember: He didn’t sit; he didn’t go to the bathroom; the only relief he got was the occasional “question” that went on for a few minutes to give his throat a break.
In the last hour, even as he said he grew “weary” as his time arguing against ObamaCare was coming to a close, he found himself in a debate with the able and smart Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin on the Congress’s generous health-care plan.
Durbin complained that Cruz wanted to deny health care to the uninsured; did he not, Durbin asked, enjoy the benefits of the generous congressional health-care package himself?
Cruz said he wouldn’t answer Durbin until Durbin first replied to three questions Cruz had posed. Durbin, with an “a-ha” gesture, responded by saying it was clear Cruz was simply refusing to answer his embarrassing question.
He’d walked into Cruz’s trap. For then Cruz said, no, Senator, I’m eligible for the congressional plan — but I’m not enrolled in it.
Durbin thought he had Cruz cornered by bringing up his reliance on the absurdly generous health package for Congress. But since Cruz doesn’t rely on it, Durbin humiliated himself in what was supposed to be his gotcha moment.
Despite his marathon of speaking and standing and arguing, after nearly a day on his feet, Cruz — there is no other term for it — squashed Durbin like a bug.
All in all, the Cruz performance was great political theater, and Cruz was astoundingly impressive both in demeanor and in the cogency and saliency of his arguments against ObamaCare. If there’d been any question before Tuesday about what a formidable presence he’s going to be in Washington and in the Republican party going forward, it has been laid to rest.