Posted on | September 25, 2013 | 40 Comments
Readers may have noticed that I have been ignoring the ObamaCare “Don’t Fund It” dramatics, along with the “government shutdown” threat and the punditry gabfest that have accompanied it. Depending on who you listen to, either Ted Cruz is the future of the Republican Party or else Ted Cruz is the harbinger of the final collapse of the GOP.
I hate ObamaCare and like Ted Cruz, but the reason I’ve ignored all the “Don’t Fund It” drama is because it’s a legislative process story.
And I hate legislative process stories.
For an entire decade, my job at the Washington Times required me to edit legislative process stories, including the interminable debates over budget bills during the Clinton and Bush presidencies. Day after day, our Capitol Hill reporters would file their stories about the latest developments in the process — the hearings, the debate, the amendments, etc. — and I had to pay close attention to every detail of this stuff, even though it was as boring as watching paint dry.
The glamour! The excitement! The journalistic thrill of formatting another roll-call graphic on a Senate cloture vote.
The Politics of Gesture is also something with which I’m familiar, having watched Congress and President Bush enact federal law to keep Terry Schiavo alive, which turned out to be futile symbolism.
So I’m pro-Cruz and anti-ObamaCare, and therefore supportive of Cruz and the “Don’t Fund It” movement, but I simply haven’t been able to bring myself to submerge into the day-by-day coverage that would have us believe this is anything other than a legislative process story and an exercise in the Politics of Gesture.
Spare me the “What It Means” punditry. Spare me the GOP Establishment denunciations of Cruz, and also spare me Tea Party denunciations of Republicans who don’t support Cruz. Most of all, spare me those “Republican Divided” chyrons on MSNBC, and spare me the umpteenth network Sunday show roundtable discussion.
Via Memeorandum, here is your “Don’t Fund It” headline stack:
Reid’s office: Cruz filibuster is fake
– The Hill
Democrats see GOP shutdown threat
as opening for 2014 election gains
– Washington Post
So, is this a “win” for Republicans? Or is this a public-relations nightmare that will help Democrats? I don’t know, and neither do any of the pundits who are claiming to know What It Means.
The significance of such things is never apparent except in hindsight, because the future is unpredictable. Many of the pundits who are blabbering away on cable TV news are engaged in “wishcasting,” predicting the future as a way of trying to influence the future.
Far be it from me to suppose that my influence is such that anything I say about this will make the slightest bit of difference either way.
Next week, there will be another LOOMING CRISIS we’re all supposed to care about, and everyone will have forgotten this week’s crisis.
UPDATE: TC Lynch at Leather Penguin:
Listening to the timbre of his voice, he doesn’t sound gassed. And his wingman, Utah’s Mike Lee, is still there, able to give him an occasional breather by “asking a question.” He’ll probably still be going strong when Mika and Scarborough — who has hammered Cruz at every opportunity — fire up “Morning Joe.” That alone is enough reason for me to maybe tune in to that trainwreck for the first time in years. (UPDATE-6:00AM: Took a look; still a trainwreck (see Geraghty).
Speaking of Joe Scarborough, do you realize he’s like 6-foot-4?
When I met him at the National Review Institute event earlier this year, I realized that being The Big Guy is part of Scarborough’s problem. There is such a thing as “Short Man’s Syndrome” — the pipsqueak who feels a need to overcompensate — and there is also such a thing as “Big Man’s Syndrome,” the guy whose sheer size habituates him to domineering behavior. Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson, both of whom were tall guys, had this tendency, and I think Joe Scarborough’s arrogant domineering attitude has similar origins.