I’ve heard about cruise ships that offer cruises to nowhere! You get on a ship and just cruise around and literally go nowhere – ending up where you boarded the cruise. Republican, Democrats and many Americans have just been on a Cruz to nowhere with Captain Ted Cruise.
What started out, over two weeks ago, as a bold attempt to defund Obamacare using a government shutdown as a threat, a few Republicans led mainly by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), is expected to finally end tonight after a bitterly-fought political game in Washington, D.C.
Since the beginning, I’ve been consistent with my observation that this strategy by a fringe wing of the Republican Party would prove to be a mistake and would damage the image of the party. That is exactly what has happened. Now, the final results of the game are reaching political scoreboards across the country and there is nothing that should be a surprise to anyone.
The listeners, who have disagreed with my observations, now find themselves disagreeing with many who are considered leaders of conservative ideology in America. Among those who agree with the assessment that this right-wing attempt to hold the government hostage was a mistake include: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Republican Congressman Peter King, Christian conservative Pat Robertson and now Rush Limbaugh.
Republican Congressman Peter King, who has often been a harsh critic of President Obama’s administration, said in an interview with HuffPost.com, “Thisparty is going nuts!”“So many people I run into are normal people – and I hate touse that term – they just can’t understand what’s going on.” King added, “Theyjust think Republicans are crazy.”
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has denounced the strategy of defunding Obamacare or shutting down the government. Pat Robertson said in a Right Wing Watch video, “The Republicans have got to wave the white flag and say, ‘Wefought a good fight, now it’s over.’”
And, Rush Limbaugh…“The Republicans have done everything they can to try to make everyone like them and what they’ve ended up doing is creating one of the greatest political disasters I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”
The Washington Post said the political play by some Republicans that led to the government shutdown was a “humiliating failure” and they had “lost all control oftheir majority.” An editorial in the conservative Wall Street Journal said the Republicans “might as well hand the Speaker’s gavel to Senate Democratic leaderHarry Reid.”
Polls have consistently shown Americans are disgusted with both Democrats and Republicans over this child’s play in Washington, but nationally, Republicans are getting most of the blame from voters. An NBC poll, which Senator Cruz dismisses as a poll reflecting just Democrat voters, shows 70% of the respondents said the Republican Party put its agenda ahead of what is best for America. But, removing all of the responses from Democrats, the poll still shows a majority of respondents, 56%, still blamed Republicans more than Democrats.
Both Cruz and Lee, who led the charge, have seen their favorability ratings drop in their home states since June. The Houston Chronicle published a piece expressing regret for endorsing Ted Cruz, saying Cruz does not comprehend the importance of reaching across the political aisle.
During this most recent political standoff, President Obama, Harry Reid and the Democrats have no reason to celebrate any victory, because they all contributed to this game that should be seen as an American embarrassment. However, as the Republicans prepare for next year’s mid-term elections and the presidential election in 2016, they must understand that Americans will continue to resist any attempts to steer this country to the far right. That was a message many Republican leaders acknowledged after Obama’s re-election last year. But, so indicative of the self-righteous far right, that message was forgotten.
It is easy to criticize the messenger if you disagree with the message; but the list of prominent messengers now carrying the same message continues to grow. Senator Ted Cruz’s insistence that they won this political game only further proves this was a game. It also demonstrates how out-of-touch some politicians are when it comes to the real voice of the America people.
Before we the people blame either side for this unnecessary turmoil, let us remember it is our fault, too. We put them there - and we kept them there. Too many of our elected officials think they represent their districts, but if their districts do not represent the America most of us know and love, then their party will be doomed to fail in national elections.
The most vocal Americans do not reflect this country. The vocal minority is just that – a minority in numbers, and until the silent majority becomes more vocal with their voices and their votes – don’t expect anything to change. Are you ready to become more vocal?