John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Grumpy About Ted Cruz and The State of the Republican Party

Posted on September 25, 2013

I am grumpy.

I am grumpy about the state of the Republican Party.

I am grumpy about the radical shift to the right of the grassroots wing of the party and how they are being manipulated by a small group of profit-seeking provocateurs.

I am especially grumpy about Ted Cruz and his fake filibuster.

I have a few friends who are friends with Cruz.  They say they like him.  I find that hard to believe, but that’s what they say.

They worked with Cruz on the Bush campaign in 2000 down in Austin.  If Bush were to run today, Cruz would not only run against him; he would call him a RINO and a surrender monkey.

That’s how it goes these days.

Talking all night may be heroic to some Tea Party folks.  To me, it is a real waste of time and money.

A filibuster is supposed to disrupt Senate proceedings.  This fake filibuster just filled in some time that needed to be filled.  It was like one big infomercial.

Instead of selling some new vitamin supplement, the Cruz infomercial was selling Ted Cruz, in all of his glory.   If you like that sort of thing.

Ted Cruz got a chance to read “Green Eggs and Ham” to his kids.  I know several staff members who would have preferred the opportunity to read to their kids back at home, but they couldn’t, because Ted Cruz demanded that they stay in the chamber and listen to him as he read the famous children’s book to his kids on national television.

I do not like Green Eggs and Ham.  Especially now.

I listened to Cruz speak for a while.   He was talking about his father when I tuned in, and about how his father actually was forced to wash dishes when he was 18 years old at a restaurant.

Hey, I washed dishes at a restaurant when I was 15 years old.

The one thing that I learned when I washed dishes in various restaurants in my teen years was that I didn’t want to work in a restaurant ever again.   No offense to dish washers everywhere, but dishwashing wasn’t for me.

I am guessing Ted Cruz didn’t wash many dishes when he was a kid.  He was too busy reciting the Constitution to the local Rotary Clubs out there.   If he had washed dishes, he probably wouldn’t glorify dishwashing like he did on the Senate floor.

Ted Cruz’s father emigrated from Cuba, with a hundred bucks sewed in his underwear.  It’s a great story, but it’s not that unique.  People have immigrated to America with little in their pockets for hundreds of years, starting with the Pilgrims.  That is part of the immigrant experience, and it has helped shape America into that shining City on the Hill.

People work harder when they have to.   And today, immigrants work harder than native born Americans.  That’s why a new immigrant has no problem finding a job, just as millions of Americans sit at home, watching cable and collecting disability checks.

That’s why I love immigrants and why I want immigration reform.  They are the life-blood of this economy.  Hard-working immigrants should have a chance to become United States citizens.  It is in their interest and it is in our national interest.

Ted Cruz is against immigration reform, and that drives me crazy.

His dad is an immigrant, and Cruz was, until recently, a Canadian citizen, and he is still against immigration reform.   What chutzpah!

Some Tea Partiers are against immigration reform and that is why Ted Cruz is against immigration reform.  But that’s not a principled position taken because of what he has learned from his own life experiences.  It’s rank political opportunism.

Cruz is an opportunist, no doubt about that.  And he has disrupted the political system in ways that can only be described as creative.

It is creative when you go around the country, attacking your own leadership and members of your own party and then expect party leaders to love you back as if you were the prodigal son.

It is creative when you run advertisements on talk radio, urging listeners to send you money so you can stand up the same party that you say that you are a member of.

It is creative when you attack your fellow members and when they fight back, you publicly wonder why they are attacking you.    Yep, you’re the victim here Ted.

Cruz is smart.  We all know that he is really, really smart.

We all know that he went to Princeton and then Harvard.  We all know now, thanks to GQ (where he happily posed for Holy pictures, as David Obey might say), that he refused to include in his study group anybody who didn’t also attend Princeton or Harvard or Yale.

In this, he reminds me of Mr. Bell in that iconic movie, The Paper Chase.  Like Cruz, Bell refused to study with anybody he thought was intellectually inferior.   If you don’t know the movie, watch it, and you will get my point.

Cruz likes to call the Republican establishment elitists.  But he is the elitist.  He is the Harvard/Princeton guy who knows more than anybody else about everything else.

Kind of like Barack Obama.

Haven’t we had enough of the Ivy League?   Didn’t they give us the Clintons, the Bushs and our current President?

Isn’t it time for a different world view?

Ronald Reagan went to Eureka College.    He might not have been as smart as Ted Cruz intellectually, but he sure was a better leader than all of those Harvard/Yale folks put together.

Reagan had wisdom and apparently, they don’t teach wisdom at Harvard/Yale/Princeton these days.

They certainly didn’t teach it to Ted Cruz.

The bitter irony is that Cruz is right on Obamacare.

It’s a disaster in the making and it needs to be fixed.  But it won’t be fixed with a fake filibuster and it won’t be fixed with a government shutdown and it won’t be fixed by defaulting on our debts.

It will only be fixed with hard legislative work that comes up with better alternatives and with a targeted strategy of picking the most vulnerable aspects of the law and taking it apart piece by piece.    That takes time.   More time than the Cruz fake filibuster.

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