Newtonian Echos–the Cruz Phenomenon

Posted on September 30, 2013 by


Much is being made of Ted Cruz’s quixotic pursuit of killing Obamacare.  Even those that generally are supportive of economic liberty and hostile to Obamacare did not support the Cruz effort, such as the editorial page of the WSJ.  The conventional wisdom by these elites is that Obamacare can’t be stopped this way, but there are other tactical strategies that would lead to the same outcome, e.g., delay individual mandate one year, continue to build public discontent by highlighting the congressional exemption from Obamacare, etc.  I share most of those thoughts, yet I think something else is fundamentally going on–and its not being picked up in the discussion.

When I see some of the grassroots enthusiasm for the Cruz confrontational approach, I suspect there is something more going on than simply Mr. Cruz posturing for a 2016 presidential run.  Back in the early 1990s, the Republicans had not controlled Congress in 40 years, and a brash young firebrand came into Congress–yes, you know his name:  Newt Gingrich.  The former Republican minority leader Bob Michael (and indeed, most of the Republicans in the house) was seemingly content to be in permanent minority status.  But Mr. Gingrich had a vision–a vision of transforming the Congress into a tool of conservatives.  He started with an innovation–using the C-span television to give long speeches when the house was in recess (but the camera was always on him such that it appeared that he was speaking to the whole house).  Does this sound familiar?  He neither asked for, nor gave any quarter to his adversaries.  Bob Dole?  He was the “tax collector for the welfare state.” Former Speaker of the House Jim Wright?  Gingrich led the charge on getting him to retire comfortably in Texas from his corruption.  Mr.  Gingrich’s tactics won him no friends with the establishment, but grass roots activists found a champion who would stand up to the corrupt Washington politicians.   Fall of 1994 saw his vision come to fruition, forcing establishment press members to claim the American people had a “temper tantrum.

Americans are nothing if not idealistic.  Each election season prompts feelings of “hope and change,” which ultimately fades to seasons of discontent.  Mr. Obama’s supporters are now living in that season.  But so are Republicans.  How is it that the party that controls the branch of government responsible for spending seemingly has no power?  In the minds of many conservative activists, “why doesn’t anybody stand up to President Obama?”  Why must we “wait till 2016” as President Obama completely transforms the country to a nation of takers?  Conservative activists don’t want calculated political action.  They don’t want superior tactics or strategy.

Listen can you hear it?  I do.  I hear echos….Newtonian echos.  You may not hear it.  But the grassroots activists do.  They’ve been waiting, and they’re likely to be climbing on the Cruz Express.