Liberals, mainstream journalists, and Establishment Republicans of the Karl Rove variety are all hoping that Republican extremists' quest to defund Obamacare by threatening to shut down the government will come to an inglorious end. So all these groups had a stake in publicizing this slip-up by Senator Ted Cruz:
Republicans in the House of Representatives expressed outrage with one of their compatriots on the other side of the Capitol Wednesday, questioning whether or not Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is really all-in on defunding Obamacare or if he’s trying to put all the onus of defunding the bill on the House....The last thing I want to do is defend Ted Cruz, ever, but I read this as Cruz saying, "Well, there are sixty votes for cloture on a continuing resolution in the Senate that doesn't strip out Obamacare, so it's up to you guys in the House to pitch a fit." And that's probably realistic. But it was read as an inadvertent acknowledgment from Cruz that he's unwilling to fight to the death:
"(Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so," Cruz said in the statement.
"At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people...."
"House agrees to send #CR to Senate that defunds Obamacare. @SenTedCruz & @SenMikeLee refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender," read a Wednesday night tweet from Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, referring also to the Utah senator who has joined Cruz's efforts against the health care law. The congressman continued on in a Facebook post: "House Republicans have stood firm. We have voted to defund, repeal & delay #Obamacare dozens of times. It is time for Sens. Cruz & Lee to show they can hold the line against Senate Democrats. Let's hope they do not surrender before the fight even begins." Then, he asked: "Can Americans count on Sens. Cruz & Lee to join us?"You see, maybe Harry Reid already has enough Republicans lined up (along with all the Democrats) to rebuff a filibuster, but that doesn't mean that Cruz and any of his extremist pals in the Senate can't at least put up the maximum fight, even if it is a suicide mission -- that is, if they're serious about their devotion to the Cause, and aren't just grandstanding:
Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin also chimed in on social media, tweeting: "so far Sen Rs are good at getting Facebook likes, and townhalls, not much else. Do something." ...
Georgia Rep. Tom Price also chimed in, and turned the pressure back onto the Senate. "House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare," he wrote in a tweet. "Ball will be in the Senate's court."
... Harry Reid will potentially face at least two filibusters if he wants to pass a final bill. Breaking filibusters requires 60 votes -- which means he'll need Republican help at some point along the way to fund Obamacare. First, he'll need Republican support just to begin debate on the bill. Then he'll need Republican votes to end it. The rules probably allow him to strip the defunding measure at the end of that process with a simple majority. But first he has to get there....And now, because the reaction to all this on the left, among mainstream journos, and in the GOP Establishment was "Let'sd embarrass Ted Cruz," Cruz and his crazies may now feel forced to do what they were probably trying to avoid doing.
So the first questions are: Will Lee, Cruz, et al., insist on a real debate of the House bill? ...
The real test for these conservatives will come if they lock in extended debate on the House funding bill. In this interregnum, individual members can delay the inevitable passage of legislation they don't like by initiating a "talking filibuster" -- just like the famous one Rand Paul launched this past March.
Except Paul was more or less on his own. The Defund Caucus is about a dozen members large.
"If they were really careful about the way they did it and tag-teamed it indefinitely they could filibuster it indefinitely," said a Senate Dem aide.
And so here we are:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested Thursday that he would stage a talking filibuster to block a Senate government spending bill that funds Obamacare.Maybe Cruz wanted to use this crisis to become President of the Wingnuts without actually getting his hair mussed. But now he's been challenged, and I think he's going to fight. The crazies just got crazier, because we urged them on.
"I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare," Cruz told repoters. When asked about a talking filibuster specifically, a la Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and drones, he said: "Yes, and anything else, any procedural means necessary."
But it's still all the crazies' fault, because, well, they're crazy.