A Republican Obituary 2/14/14 podcast

Some people there are who never, EVER give up.

Often we are the recipient of stories about such people. This is one, sent by faithful blog (“Tapdancing in the Hall”) reader Jeanne C. The names and dates have been changed, but the editorial content remains as it appeared in a local Connecticut newspaper.

“Charles Newsome Martin, 86, a veteran of World War II and Korea and longtime resident of Pine Island, Florida, passed away on December 17, 2013….Charles Martin hated losing.

“Charles Martin hated pointless bureaucracy, thoughtless inefficiency and bad ideas born of good intentions. He loved his wife, admired and respected his children and liked just about every dog he ever met. He will be greatly missed by those he loved and those who loved him. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you cancel your subscription to The New York Times.”

We can picture Mr. Martin, his dear-slayer held tightly in his upraised right hand, vowing to one and all how he would never part with it.

Mr. Martin’s fellow Republicans also hate losing. We can only hope that he was more capable than they at learning how to win.
Because this week’s clean debt ceiling bill, passed by both the House and the Senate, is about as graceful a rout as the Republicans have suffered since Mr. Romney’s defeat. You’ll recall how graceful that was.

It needn’t have been this way. Chalk up the misery to Senator Ted Cruz from Texas. Where he might have stood apart and let Republicans in the Senate off their respective hooks, ended to a degree their fearsome nightmare of being challenged from their further rights, Cruz elected to make matters as miserable as possible for his colleagues. (Does his man have colleagues?)
On the verge, as Democrats were lined up to support the clean debt ceiling bill, seconding the House’s action the day before, which would have made ducking the issue altogether for the Republicans an automatic win, Cruz decides he wants a roll-call vote. He wants his colleagues to be nailed to the doors of their chapels so that one and all may see who voted Aye and who Nay.

Of course, this demanded a change in the rules of the day. No longer could the bill be passed with a simple majority. Cruz wanted to hold its passage to a 60 per cent rule. This, of course, did not please Republican leadership in the Senate, insofar as no Senator ever wants to be the one to put a capstone on a defeat, identifying him/herself as the one who caused the car crash.

Mitch McConnell, for whom we ordinarily have no sympathy at all, then had to round up not just a few Republican votes to make sure the debt ceiling was passed, but he had to find as many Republican supporters of the bill as he could so that none of them would later be able to be identified as the single “traitor” to the cause.

He found twelve. The bill was able to be passed without blame being attached to any single Republican senator, and the crisis was averted. But not before Senator Cruz scared the pants off his fellow legislators, not before he ranted as is his wont about giving away the store.

There is nothing wrong, in our view, in compromising, in getting something you want as you vote the way your opponent wants. A little one-hand-washes-the-other, an institution as old as Congress itself. The key to this operation, however, is in not doing damage to unsuspecting and undeserving constituents, or somehow setting up a scenario where damage later will be seen as having been done.

Cruz and his Tea Party regulars never said what they wanted in exchange for their votes. They just wanted to vote the bill down and throw the country back into the previous mold of hanging on the edge of a national financial default. It was a power play, pure and simple. What wasn’t simple was that these guys didn’t have the power, couldn’t be trusted to use it wisely or well, and haven’t an idea in their heads about how to govern. All they want to do is bring down the party and the country under the guise of giving the US back to its people. What they would be giving back to us would be chaos, and of course, only one man could lift us out of that state into the realm of peace and tranquility again, Ted Cruz.

Senator Cruz, like Charles Newsome Marin, wants everyone to cancel his/her subscription to the New York Times, or to any reasonable source of information, so that he and his crowd can tell us the state of the union from their point of view.

Although Mr. Martin’s, and Senator Cruz’s, take on life in these United States may be identical, our money is on Mr. Martin as the more reasonable yet staunch Republican, willing to go to the barricades for his beliefs, yet conscious of damage that might be done to others. That would never be the case for Senator Cruz.



  1. John: I am in total accord with your well stated observations. If you ever wonder how Ted Cruz became the absolutist Tea Party monster, you have only to watch the YouTube video “Ted Cruz’s Father Delivers Epic Speech” . Cruz Sr. is a Cuban refugee to our country, who sees every Democrat as a Fidel Castro in training. How Princeton and then Harvard Law School failed miserably in opening Sen. Cruz’s mind is a mystery to me. How a lawyer with an impressive resume can see only one side to the role of government argument begs credulity. What isn’t plain to the Texas citizenry is that unyielding bright lines are the unstated presuppositions of dictatorships. Ted Cruz is a man who should strike fear into the hearts of freedom loving Americans. Perhaps the Republican leadership will one day realize that Sen. Cruz’s shenanigans during the past two years form an adequate predicate for his censure, and act upon that realization. Like McCarthy and Huey Long before him, Sen. Cruz is unhampered by logic. He’s for limited government, except where issues of abortion and same-sex marriage are concerned. He reads the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms as the only protected right to which there can be no exceptions. He conveniently glosses over the fact that no American has the unfettered right to own tanks or flame throwers or howitzers or nuclear devices. Sen. Cruz counsels limiting the debt ceiling so that the budget enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President cannot be honored; default on the national debt is his answer to budgetary reform, notwithstanding the fact that our national deficit has been effectively halved over the past two years. I’m frustrated and aggravated. Increasing numbers of thoughtful Texas Republicans – not really an oxymoron – look forward to replacing Sen. Cruz when he comes up for reelection. Unfortunately, that’s four years away. In the meantime, thank God for golf courses and fellow golfers. /Mike

    Mike Bourgeois 917.620.4249

    Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 14:29:56 +0000 To: gmichael_bourgeois@msn.com

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