Ted Cruz, a legend in his own mind, said a lot of random stupid stuff (Dr. Seuss, Darth Vader, whatever) during his 21-hour oratorical attack on health reform, but he stooped lowest when he invoked the N-word.
No, not that N-word. This N-word:
“If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany. Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe, but that’s not our problem. Let’s appease them. Why? Because (strength against the Nazis) can’t be done. We can’t possibly stand against them.
“I suspect those same pundits who say (that opposing Obamacare) can’t be done, if it had been the 1940s, we would have been listening to them. Then they would have made television. They would have gotten beyond carrier pigeons and beyond letters and they would have been saying, ‘You cannot defeat the Germans.’”
I will endeavor to translate: (a) Obamacare is like stuff the Nazis did, and (b) Those who refuse to stop Obamacare are no better than Nazi appeasers.
Ah yes, the Nazi metaphor. The last refuge of the demagogue.
Cruz, whose lordly self-regard is trumped by the bipartisan loathing he so richly inspires, appears to knows less about governance than a newbie political science student. Most of Obamacare is already funded, and would not be halted by a filibuster. As conservative political analyst David Freddoso has pointed out, “During a shutdown, Marines don’t get paid, but Obamacare gets funded.”
But Cruz’s marathon rant wasn’t about governance anyway. It was classic showhorse behavior. Not a single Senate colleague rose to join him. Obamacare lives on. All he did was gum up the governing machinery for a day.
As a duly elected member of the chamber (thanks, tea-partying Texans), he has every right to make a spectacle of himself. But Nazi analogies are beyond the pale. It insults our intelligence to insinuate that a law offering health coverage to tens of millions of people is akin to a criminal regime that systematically murdered tens of millions of people. And it’s a tar-brush smear of his fellow Republicans to suggest that their coolness to his crusade is akin to Nazi appeasement.
I wrote here last February that freshman Cruz, just one month into his tenure, was already on track to emulate ‘50s smear artist Joseph McCarthy. The Nazi nonsense is Exhibit A.
Most elected Republicans prefer to voice their disdain for Cruz off the record. But John McCain, to his credit, went on the record yesterday, denouncing Cruz on the Senate floor: “I resoundingly reject that (Nazi) allegation. That allegation, in my view, does a great disservice” to the Americans who fought in the war, including his own father and grandfather.
Furthermore, “To allege that there are people today who are like those who, prior to World War II, didn’t stand up and oppose the atrocities that were taking place in Europe…is an inappropriate (topic) for debate on the floor of the United States Senate.”
And put your hands together for Republican congressman Peter King, whose on-the-record assessment of Cruz is refreshingly succinct: “He’s a fraud.”
Elsewhere, some Republicans are weighing in. Shortly after Cruz invoked the N-word, strategist Steve Schmidt unloaded on TV: “We need Republicans, whether they’re running for president, whether they’re in the leadership of Congress, to stand up against a lot of this asininity. You finally saw it with Ted Cruz. Maybe he’s the one who’s got a bridge too far. Maybe we’ll start seeing our elected leaders stop being intimidated by this nonsense, have the nerve, have the guts, to stand up and fight to take conservatism’s good name back from the freak show.”
Or, as U.S. Army lawyer Joseph Welch famously said to Joe McCarthy, when the senator’s smears became too much to bear, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
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