Rafael 'Ted' Cruz spent much, if not most of his summer on a "Defund Obamacare Bus Tour." It's lead spokesperson, the 'drawing card' or Pied Piper for this publicity stunt was the junior senator from Texas. His stump speech at ever stop included this message, reported by WCSH6-TV:
"And there is no more important piece of regulatory reform that we can do than to repeal every single word of Obamacare," said Senator Ted Cruz, (R) Texas.
Senator Cruz and the Heritage Foundation are hoping to whip up enough support to gut President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Now, taking an issue to the people is solid, time-tested strategy. It's peaceful, informative and instrumental in getting a message across. Nothing like pressing flesh and getting out there during a break from Washington -- especially if this timing coincides with your anticipated announcement that you plan to run for the presidency.
The general intentions of a bus tour like this include whipping up such a frenzied group of concerned backers, that movement on an issue in Congress will be the result. And Cruz's efforts have been used for just such motivation.
Cruz Wednesday became the Pied Piper of Washington town leading the House Rats on a march to their death in the Potomac River. The Canadian/American senator, along with Mike Lee and Marco Rubio, led wobbly-legged Speaker John Boehner to begin the political equivalent of the Bataan Death March.
What makes it most interesting is that the House, which doesn't include Cruz, Rubio or Lee, is taking their orders from this trio. Three men who will be part of the messy defeat of this action when it reached the senate.
This all reminds me of the bully kids who egg you on to throw rocks and break a storefront window with, "It'll be fun. You want to be part of our gang, prove it!"
Then as soon as you commit the challenge, they call the cops and turn you in, laughing all the time you're being arrested. They're instigators.
Well now some of the saner (a rarity in the GOP party) members of the house are railing against Pied Piper Rafael C. They realize they've been sold down the river, or more appropriately, been pushed into it.
Here's a little taste of the vitriol coming from the house members who've just realized what's been done to them.
"House agrees to send #CR to Senate that defunds Obamacare. @SenTedCruz & @SenMikeLee refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender," tweeted Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).
"So far Sen Rs are good at getting Facebook likes, and townhalls, not much else. Do something...," tweeted Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.).
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) also took to Twitter to vent. "House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare. Ball will be in the Senate’s court," he wrote.
Another aide said Cruz's comment "exposes how [Senate conservatives] have deliberately misled their constituents and the grassroots for eight weeks. This isn't leadership, it's hypocrisy."
"We haven't even taken up the bill and Ted Cruz is admitting defeat?" fumed one senior GOP aide. "Some people came here to govern and make things better for their constituents. Ted Cruz came here to throw bombs and fundraise off of attacks on fellow Republicans. He's a joke, plain and simple."
It's still too early to gloat, but the writing does seem to be on the wall. The house has been used by Cruz, Lee and Rubio, but the man blowing the flute seems to be Cruz. He's drowning his own people in hopes that if he's the only one left standing come 2016, he's got a shot at the White House.
That's some long-term, roundabout way to lead.