Ted Cruz Spots a Tsunami
Ted Cruz is our Tilly Smith.
Tilly Smith was a hero. Vacationing on a beach in 2004 in Thailand, the ten-year-old Tilly immediately recognized the signs of the approaching tsunami and quickly warned fellow beachgoers, in time to save over a hundred lives.
On that fateful afternoon when she first noticed the "sizzling" water rapidly filling the shoreline, Tilly recalled a recent geography lesson on tsunamis from school and began to shout an alarm. Fortunately, enough people -- beginning with her own family -- paid attention to Tilly and spread the word, saving everyone there.
We can imagine that many of the sunscreen-lathered beachgoers were at first annoyed by Tillie's bold interruption, and might even have called her a "wacko bird." Some may have been initially so irritated by her family's warning, ruining their little slice of paradise in the sand -- that they saw not a heroine, but an impudent little girl; or worse, called her names like "short-sighted fraud," "terrorist," "extremist," or "snake-oil salesman." Even though others could have observed the very same signs, they may not have recalled their own geography studies, and likely hesitated to heed Tilly's alarm -- wanting first to take a quick opinion poll from the rest of the in-crowd.
One doesn't need to recall simple math or economics lessons from school to hear and recognize the ugly sucking sound emanating from our nation's 17-plus trillion dollar debt clock. But most cover their ears with soothing opinion polls (likely answered by people who flunked both subjects) and would rather know President Obama's answer to tough questions, such as what he thinks is the coolest thing about his job.
Rather than look out beyond their microphones, up from opinion pieces, or outside the beltway cocktail party circuit to glance at that clock -- many who should know better were annoyed at Senator Cruz's interruption of their fantasy world. And a fantasy it is -- to believe that everything would be just swell if Cruz and his Tea Party fans would only shut up and get with the establishment program.
Even worse, although Cruz is armed with much more wisdom and credentials than a ten-year-old who aced a geography quiz, he didn't receive much assistance from his family of fellow GOP-ers in the Senate. Most were embarrassed at his audacious rocking of the boat and strived to distance themselves from him. Instead of echoing his warnings, they huddled with the opposition and flung out a few insults of their own.
Along with the mainstream media, even some conservative pundits insist Cruz's strategy and the shutdown resulted in a failure for Republicans and a political win for Obama and the Democrats. Practically all the coverage and articles focused on that spin and the political fallout. Rare has been the speaker, commentator, or writer who looks up and out over the horizon, past their noses and laptops, to notice, much less address -- the very real disaster lurking there: a tsunami that will spread well beyond Washington politics, reaching deeply into our pocketbooks and those of generations to come, while flooding the private spaces of our doctor's examining rooms.
Recognizing that "something had to be done now" since "Obamacare is a disaster for the productive part of the country," Andrew McCarthy observed that Republicans had to choose between two options. The one taken by Cruz was for House Republicans to deny ObamaCare funding. The other, the "GOP establishment's 'win elections, then repeal strategy'" McCarthy described as: Do nothing for now; allow ObamaCare to be implemented; assume its unpopularity would increase, creating a climate for extended, uninterrupted GOP electoral success, finally leading to a Republican Congress of such substantial majorities that an ObamaCare repeal would pass both houses and be signed by a Republican president."
In other words, the establishment hoped to ultimately profit from allowing the tsunami -- and not Tilly -- shut down that beach.
There are Republican gray beards that make the point, "Let's let this collapse"... I profoundly disagree with the message... I consider that... the Bad Samaritan theory. Basically inflict a bunch of harm on the American people and hope we benefit politically from it.
What a terrible, cynical approach. I'm not interested in seeing the American people suffer just because my party might benefit politically if they blame the Democrats for the foolish policies that have been imposed.
It's a good thing little Tilly didn't have the same attitude as the "Republican gray beards." She could have warned only her own family. Or she might have worried more about what others would think if she dared to shut down the beach party to get their attention. Or, cynically, Tilly might have concluded that since so many must have failed geography, some suffering would teach them to pay more attention -- to her and other like-minded thinkers -- the next time they faced a similar choice. That is -- if they survived.
Most financial portfolios of ordinary Americans never completely recovered from the 2008 meltdown. Those of us who do remember our math, economics, and history lessons (and learned to apply them both in our personal lives and our politics)had no problem recognizing the progressive policies that ultimately caused that financial crisis -- and wished that we had a Tilly shouting warnings at Congress.
Cruz is right. He wasn't elected to just sit back and watch his constituents get washed away by the impending tsunami, explaining away his inaction as part of a larger strategy that hopes an "I told you so" message will win future elections for his party.
Instead, Cruz boldly warns Americans to get off of the beach -- as disaster inches its way toward us, increasing in speed, powered by the ticking of our massive debt clock.
It's well past time to start paying attention to our Tilly.