Robert Knight

C-Span is more powerful than a fleet of little red wagons, but it felt a lot like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” as Ted Cruz demolished the legitimacy of Obamacare in his 21-hour, 19-minute floor speech last week.

In the classic film, a naïve junior senator played by Jimmy Stewart performs a heroic, overnight filibuster to expose corruption. The media suppress it and viciously attack his character. An army of wagon-pulling children try to report the truth via homespun “newspapers,” only to be waylaid by thugs.

Director Frank Capra, who played American heartstrings like a world-class harpist, giving people hope that truth will triumph (as Stewart’s Sen. Jefferson Smith does), would have loved what was televised on C-Span2 from Sept. 24 to the 25th.

Hour after hour, aided by long questions from fellow Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and others, Cruz not only exposed the socialist intent of Obamacare but also the big-government mindset that is steadily destroying our freedoms.

He gave a lesson in political boxing, dispatching Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who tried to put him on the defensive the way they usually do so easily to Republicans. Cruz had none of it, including Reid’s attempt to hijack the speech during the last hour. When’s the last time you saw a Republican blunt attacks by refusing to back up an inch and swinging hard?

Oh, right. It was Cruz, during a hearing on March 14 in which he lectured Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) about the Second Amendment.

Those not watching Cruz’s actual speech can be forgiven if they think that the U.S. senator from Texas was on a fool’s errand. As in “Mr. Smith,” the drive-by scribes are spinning a single narrative: Cruz is a narcissist whose reckless taste for confrontation will hurt the GOP in 2014.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos opened “Good Morning America” on Wednesday by describing “Tea Party Senator” Cruz’s speech as “bizarre.”

By contrast, notes Media Research Center’s Scott Whitlock, “the networks in June fawned over Democrat Wendy Davis's pro-abortion filibuster in Texas, hailing it as ‘epic’ and praising the state senator as a ‘folk hero.’”

CBS’s Norah O’Donnell posed this question to Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “Are you concerned … that what your fellow senator is doing could hurt your party's chances of taking back the U.S. Senate?”

Nonsense. Without Cruz, Mike Lee, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) and a few others, the GOP wouldn’t even have a message in 2014 other than: “We fought Obamacare and other stuff, sort of, and failed, but….”

And they’d go to the GOP’s fallback message, as framed by the Washington Times’ Wes Pruden: “Republicans: We’re not as bad as you think.”

That wouldn’t motivate the kind of outpouring seen in 2010, when a Tea Party-led uprising gave Republicans the U.S. House and numerous state governorships and statehouses.

Americans have not seen Cruz’s kind of strong, articulate leadership since Ronald Reagan. Cruz employed humor, stamina, a formidable command of the facts, and expressed passion without bitterness.

It didn’t spare him the usual savagery reserved for Republicans who won’t cave on cue. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews ranted, calling Cruz “totally destructive,” and “a problem for our republic,” who exhibits “pretty extreme behavior.” Matthews, who had Republican strategist John Feehery and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) echo his attacks on Cruz, said, “I did not learn a thing” from the speech. Well, of course not. You need ears that aren’t stuffed with left-wing glue.

By the way, as I listened to the GOP “strategist” agree that Cruz was a “demagogue,” I began humming to myself, “Feeheryings, nothing more than Feeheryings.…”

Media Research Center’s Matthew Balan reports that, “NBCNews.com followed the lead of Politico on Wednesday in hyping left-leaning attacks of Senator Ted Cruz for reading Dr. Seuss' ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’ ...The two writers also turned to Kansas State University's Phil Nel, whom they identified as a ‘Seuss biographer.’ However, they omitted that Nel donated thousands of dollars to Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns, as well as to pro-abortion group Emily's List and to MoveOn.org.”

Cruz shared and related only personal stories Cruz told about his life and family. The message: Cruz is an egomaniac, nothing more.

In July 1987, Oliver North made fools of liberal lawmakers who tried to crucify him in the Iran-Contra hearings. If you had not been watching on C-Span, and relied only on media reports, you would have thought that North had been shamed and bested.

Those who haven’t seen portions of Cruz’s speech and have heard only the establishment GOP, Democrats and their hambone media allies, have no clue about what really happened last week.


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.