RightWisconsin will periodically pose a question to various Wisconsin conservatives and grant them the opportunity to participate in a forum on a current hot button issue. Yesterday, I asked: "Did Ted Cruz do the right thing with his quasi filibuster? What's next?"
I asked policy makers and pundits from across the political right. We have a cross section of establishment and outsiders, of Libertarians and Republicans. As you can see, the responses are as varied as they are thoughtful.
Soon we'll post commentary from our editorial staff as well, and I'll share the responses from others as they come in. Check back often, and please, leave your comments at the bottom as well. If there is a conversation worth having among conservatives in Wisconsin, it takes place at RightWisconsin.com.
Ashley Schultz. Political Consultant
Cruz's tactics helped bring the issue of ObamaCare to the forefront, but his motives were more "Ted Cruz 2016" than actually defunding ObamaCare (even Cruz has to realize, defunding will simply not happen as long as Obama is in office.)
The next step is implementing a more realistic and logical approach - the one Senator Ron Johnson has been advocating for all along. Delaying key parts of ObamaCare wouldn’t hold up the rest of the budget and would save Republicans from being at serious risk of losing the House majority in the next election.
Steve Prestegard, StevePrestegard.com
1) I think Ted Cruz's filibuster was less effective than Rand Paul's filibuster. Paul's united libertarian Republicans and civil-libertarian Democrats. Cruz's, as of right now, generated a lot of disagreement within the GOP.
2) There is no way ObamaCare will work as it's claimed to be going to work. Therefore, the GOP should let it take effect Jan. 1, and watch as premiums spiral upward and people lose coverage (and make sure the media knows about every instance of companies canceling employee coverage). Elections have consequences.
Michelle Litjens, Consultant
For the millions of conservatives who feel no one is listening to them in Washington, Ted Cruz's filibuster gave them some hope that at least someone is fighting for them.
Did it change the reality that elections have consequences and that the democrats control the senate and White House? No.
A better choice would have been to follow Sen. Johnson's brilliant idea. He suggested the House pass the CR and attach an amendment repealing the president's rule exempting congress and their staff from ObamaCare. Make the democrats take that vote. Because most of congress does not want to be a part of ObamaCare, they may have postponed the implementation of it until after the next election where hopefully we can win the senate and finish this bad health care law once and for all.
Jerry Bader, Radio Talk Show Host
My position on Cruz's faux filibuster, and that's what it was, morphed a bit from start to finish. I initially saw it as Cruz, knowing he won't get the chance for an actual filibuster, decided this was a way to capture the spotlight. That's still my general sense, but I've been swayed by some that argue that most of America still doesn't understand the debate and his theatrics got the attention of some of those voters. I honestly don't know if it's increased awareness on the issue, but my position now is it probably didn't do any harm. He annoyed the left and they couldn't claim he was obstructing anything, despite several national talk show hosts erroneously calling it a filibuster.
Speaking of the national talkers; their overheated support of Cruz moved from annoying to dangerous when at least one of them said any Senator not standing with Cruz "should be out." That's preposterous. If the end result of this marathon speech is using it as a cudgel with which to bludgeon Republicans who wouldn't jump on the Cruz bandwagon, then it did a lot more harm than good.
As for what happens now; if Republicans do indeed get a shutdown, they need to have a plan as to what they'll do with it. Senator Ron Johnson said on my show this week that the Obamacare exemption for Congress members and staffers that democrats whined for would be a great tool to use in the debate. First though, Republicans in Congress need to be willing to give up that exemption so they can scream about it from the mountaintops; "democrats don't want to have to live with that they say is great for you." I don't like the shutdown strategy. But if it's going to happen, Republicans need a plan to use it.
Kevin Binversie, Blogger
Honestly, what happens to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz from now on is insignificant. He was a pawn in a bigger chess game being played by the real masterminds, conservative 501(c)4 groups. The ball is now in their court.
It doesn't take a genius to know that this was as much about list building and fund raising as it about was "defunding ObamaCare." Anyone who could count saw Republicans lacked the needed 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, not to mention 67 votes to overcome a presidential veto. Taking out ObamaCare through this route was procedural dead-end until something changes electorally.
So what do groups like FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, the national Club for Growth and others, or the websites like RedState now do after this weekend when a clean CR all but passes? Do they use their new found lists, fortunes and the power to engage the American people with a legitimate debate on ObamaCare, not just their echo chamber comment boards and Twitter feeds? Do they come through and elect more senators and representatives in 2014 along with a president who will repeal it in 2016?
The other question is will there be any attempt by these groups to mend the wounds they intentionally inflicted on the movement in this power grab. When you've resorted to calling numerous heroes and icons like Will, Krauthammer, Podhoretz and the Wall Street Journal editorial board -- names who've been fighting the good fight in the ideological trenches for decades -- "RINOs!," "Squishes!" and "Traitors!" all because they told you this wasn't going to work (When in fact, IT DID NOT WORK), you will have a lot to answer for and a long way to go when it comes to being trusted.
So relish this "victory" 501(c)4 groups. Now, can you deliver on it?
Tamra Varebrook, Tea Party Activist
Senator Ted Cruz definitely did the right thing with his extended speech. The majority of this country are living in fear of the implementation of Obama Care. Each day I see complaints from Republicans and Democrats. Senator Cruz was able to shed light on the detrimental effects of the ACA and the unfair waivers being handed out to Congress, etc.
I do not feel it was "showboating", if people chose to support Senator Cruz or any other Republican in office, why would ANY Republicans complain about that? I don't think the GOP should debate over tactics because our elected officials should be doing anything and everything possible to stop this train wreck.
The Sen. Cruz quasi-filibuster was pretty much the last card conservatives had to even slow down the implementation of PlaceboCare. The fact that it came to this point of failure is a testament to the gutlessness of the House Republicans, who, despite holding 40-some votes for repeal, defunding or delaying PlaceboCare, and having as part of all three budget resolutions a zeroing out of all money spent on its implementation, never successfully fought, or even appeared to fight, to keep any delay/defund effort in any conference committee report.
Had the rest of the Beltway Republicans not already said that they will "fall back" to a delay of the individual mandate, and made that a part of their negotiating on the growth of the debt ceiling, this may have been more than a show. Instead, they will be lucky to get a codification of the 1-year administrative delay in the employer mandate in exchange for a total surrender to President Obama's and Sen. Reid's demands on the debt ceiling and appropriations.
This die was cast last year, when what has become an irreconcilable split between the Republican Party and conservatives, and also one between the various stripes of conservatives in several states, happened. Given the events of the past couple weeks, I don't expect the splits to be healed in either 2014 or 2016.
Brett Healy, The MacIver Institute
As we continue to see, the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable and it is imperative that we have leaders in Congress and at home stand up against the massive takeover of healthcare. While his lengthy filibuster may not sway the Left's opinion of government-run healthcare, it sends a message that bigger government is not the solution to healthcare reform. It was great to see Sen. Cruz reach out to us at MacIver and use information we provided in his debate on the floor. This shows that he clearly cares more about how individual states, instead of DC insiders, are affected by Obamacare. We encourage others to stand up to offer free market alternatives that would create more competition and actually lower the cost of insurance
Wisconsin Liberty Movement
The byproduct of Ted Cruz's filibuster in in the Senate has sent a strong message to GOP leadership, especially in the House, which says that the American people do not want Obamacare and that there are enough votes to take out those, already in office, who ignore this sentiment. In addition, the attention that Cruz's filibuster created, made many people wake up to several components of Obamacare, such as the exemptions granted; including the exemption of Congress itself.
Government programs don't come and go based on performance. We must recognize that there may be no "next time" for stopping ObamaCare. If every attempt to stop Obamacare is passed up, despite how futile it may seem, then we eliminate all possible attempts to derail Obamacare on the Federal level. If the Federal chance is lost, the last line of defense will have to be conducted on the State level through state nullification efforts.
Any and all attempts not taken will message that we will accept this healthcare train wreck, and ultimately we will concede in the economic collapse of this Great Republic.
James Wigderson, Blogger
So, does anyone really believe Senators Tom Coburn and Mitch McConnell support Obamacare? Is Congressman Paul Ryan really a RINO? Then why was the support for Senator Ted Cruz's Charge of the Right Brigade into the valley of political death suddenly a litmus test for some conservative groups and activists?
The goal of conservatives should be to change things for the better, not revel in disaster in the pursuit of conservative authenticity. We haven't learned anything from the defeats of Richard Mourdock, Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Todd Akin. Imagine how different the senate would be today with those four seats in Republican hands.
The conservative movement has been taken over by too much Wagnerian opera and fantasies of the Ragnarok described by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged. Some of us will pass on the self-immolation on the premature funeral pyre of Western Civilization.
David Blaska, Agent Provocateur
I don't know if it's good strategy or not but sometimes political figures can be too calculating, too data driven. Sen. Cruz went with his gut and showed a little spine. It's Mr. Cruz Goes to Washington. He's got the nation buzzing.