Even though his filibuster against Obamacare is no proof that Ted Cruz is a real conservative, he deserves much credit for doing what he did.
And his Republican opponents are equally deserving of criticism, for their response to Cruz’s “red line”—and to be sure, Cruz did indeed draw the proverbial red line—is most certainly proof that they are not the conservatives who they claim to be.
First, it is “limited government,” and the individual liberty that this entails, for which Republicans are supposed to stand. Obamacare, though, is perhaps the most glaring affront to limited government and individual liberty that this country has witnessed in a long, long time, and maybe even ever—no mean feat considering just how enormous is the federal government.
So, unless Republicans are willing to make every effort to resist Obamacare, it is safe to assume that they are insincere, that they aren’t really conservatives.
The counter-objection to this line of reasoning—that Cruz’s Republican critics reject his tactics, but not his goal—is disingenuous. This gets us to our next point.
Second, while it may very well be the case that each and every Republican would like to see Obamacare go the way of the dinosaur, this goes no distance in making it their goal. I’d like to produce three best-selling books this year, but unless I am taking steps toward transforming my preferences into reality, this cannot be said to be a genuine goal of mine. Unlike Cruz, his critics have done nothing so far to convince us into thinking that they are determined to repeal it.
In other words, it is far from obvious that his Republican detractors share even his goal.
Third, as for their “tactics,” even on their own terms, the anti-Cruz “wing” of the GOP just doesn’t sound credible.
Cruz, the McCains and others tell us, is a “wacko bird,” a “fraud,” a “grandstander,” and the like, because he knows that his effort to defund Obamacare is bound to fail. That is, Obamacare will not be defunded. A much more promising “tactic” is for the GOP to reclaim the Senate in 2014 and then, then—watch out!—Republicans will deal with Obamacare.
It stretches credibility to the snapping point to think that anyone, let alone those who study politics for a living, could buy this line for a millisecond.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.