By Dani Graham
Senator Ted Cruz caught the attention of Conservatives across the country in September 2013 after standing on the Senate floor for more than 21 hours in an effort to gain support in defunding Obamacare. His courage and resolve to challenge political opposition, including members of his own party, in order to keep the promises he made to the American people made him the champion of the conservative movement.
The Junior Senator made numerous enemies in DC while fostering hope to Conservatives who far too often have been betrayed in politics. The same attributes which catapulted Cruz to the top of the Conservative movement were used against him in his bid for the Presidential nomination. During the primaries then candidate Donald Trump successfully convinced voters that Cruz would be unable to get anything accomplished due to the animosity the Washington elite had toward him. What should have guaranteed Cruz the Presidential nomination was twisted to ensure his defeat.
The devastating loss and eventual support for Trump have castrated Cruz. The man who once fearlessly fought for what was right even if it meant he stood alone appears to have lost that passionate spirit. The man who said he didn’t go to Washington to make friends appears to be chumming it up quite a bit lately. From dining with the President who defiled his family to bowling parties with the very people who he once squared off with.
While former President Obama spent his time in office striving to “fundamentally change” our country, the ambitions of the newly elected President is ostensibly to transform the Republican party. There is no place for Conservatives in this new Nationalist/Populist party which has taken over the party on the right. Under Trump, the Republican party now advocates growing government, unlimited spending, new entitlement programs, eminent domain and as of recently the government remaining in control of our healthcare.
Before Republican leaders revealed their sequel to Obamacare Cruz was out fighting against what was rumored to be coming. For a moment the pre-Trump Cruz was shining through as he urged his colleagues not to break the promise they made to the American people which was to fully repeal Obamacare. He further advised them that the consequences of breaking that promise would be that “the voters would, quite rightly, never again trust Republicans to deliver on anything”.
Since Trumpcare was unveiled there has been a noticeable deviation in Cruz’s message. With carefully crafted words he appears to be toeing the line in an effort to codify both sides, his colleagues, and the voters. Unlike other conservative Senators like Rand Paul and Mike Lee who have unequivocally opposed the new Republican health care bill and are demanding a full repeal of Obamacare, Senator Cruz says he is working with “house members, Senators and with leaders in the administration to FIX the problem”.
This all important “fix” to Cruz is to repeal the “crushing insurance mandates” from the AHCA. His test for success will be if premiums go down and healthcare becomes more affordable through ending the insurance mandate.
The man who’s ardent opposition to Obamacare once led to a government shutdown is now willing to settle for the Republican’s watered down version with just a few tweaks to the bill? Is having the government in control of our healthcare suddenly acceptable as long as it’s his party who controls it?
This effort to shave down some of the sharper edges of this jagged pill is a futile attempt to make it easier to swallow.
Cruz is actively working with his House colleagues to modify the bill to the point where it can pass the Senate. While a bill that can muster up enough votes to pass the Senate may be Cruz’s new standard bearer it is not what the American people voted for.
The position in which Cruz finds himself in after losing the Presidential nomination to Trump is a complex one indeed. As his re-election draws near we watch him perform this delicate balancing act between principles and politics. However, it’s hard to imagine a situation where the pre-Trump Cruz wouldn’t have chosen principles first.