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September 23, 2013 6:37 AM   Subscribe

"Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas"
posted by zarq (348 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is an upbeat and inspiring story about how you can achieve success through hard work and perseverance even if by "achieve success" we mean "damage the government".
posted by Going To Maine at 6:50 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


God bless him for recognizing the failings of those who go to a minor ivy.

Cornell People, Brown Grads - untermenchen.
posted by JPD at 6:51 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


...even if by "achieve success" we mean "damage the government".

Which, frankly, Cruz and his ilk do, in fact, consider "damage the government" a success. Make no mistake...The crowd that includes Cruz would view permanently crippling the federal government as "mission accomplished." These assholes are dangerous.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:54 AM on September 23, 2013 [26 favorites]


He loves America so much he's willing to take down its government for the sake of party politics.
posted by Bromius at 6:54 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cornell People, Brown Grads - untermenchen.

Please. The man called Brown and Penn "minor ivies". Cornell is a state school.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:55 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I need to know where Dartmouth ranks though. I have some friends to troll who happen to be conservative republicans.
posted by JPD at 6:58 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Frankly, he's right - being called a "Wacko Bird" by Mr. "Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb Iran" for protesting drone strikes is a badge of honor.
posted by 445supermag at 6:59 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Republican party used to be about protecting rich people. Increasingly, the goal of today's Republican party is validate their ideological doctrine, that government doesn't work, by wrecking the government.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:01 AM on September 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Increasingly, the goal of today's Republican party is validate their ideological doctrine, that government doesn't work, by wrecking the government.

Just started reading It's Worse Than It Looks, and the authors at one point quote a Republican staffer who proudly says approximately that - that as the party of small government, they benefit by default when they gum up the works.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:05 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that is giving them to much credit, East Manitoba. Having grown up in Texas around these people I can say with what I think is on good authority, these types of people are just mean business-driven assholes drunk on power.

The ideology being sold to the public is just another tool they are using to consolidate power for their own business interests.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:05 AM on September 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Cruz is so very perfectly of the moment. He is a man who could not be before now, and like all sane people I fervently hope he is a man who will not be able to be after now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:06 AM on September 23, 2013 [26 favorites]


From the article: "Every one of these guys thinks he's the smartest guy in the room," one senior Democratic aide told me. "But Cruz is utterly incapable of cloaking it in any kind of collegiality. He's just so brazen." Alternate title: Oh Lord, It's Hard To Be Humble.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:07 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which, frankly, Cruz and his ilk do, in fact, consider "damage the government" a success. Make no mistake...The crowd that includes Cruz would view permanently crippling the federal government as "mission accomplished."

I've cited before P.J. O'Rourke's description of Republicans:
Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.
...but it's useful to note that he wrote that in 1991, years before Newt Gingrich was speaker and nearly a decade before George W. Bush's presidency.
posted by Gelatin at 7:15 AM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Not everyone agrees with this interpretation of the events. "Cruz is the rooster taking credit for the sunrise," says Jim Kessler of the think tank Third Way.

So long as there are voters who support politicians like Ted Cruz, there will be politicians like Ted Cruz. Yes, he is so "perfectly of the moment" and one ought to be impressed by this artful performance of political skill. Cruz - as a junior senator - has maneuvered Obama (and his party) into a tight space and put a lot of light onto himself. Only Putin has done as well against Obama.

You have to admire the way he's playing his pieces, but then again consider the competition. The former junior senator from Illinois never did anything like this (then or since).
posted by three blind mice at 7:15 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


“I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone,” Mazin [Cruz's college roommate] said. “I would rather pick somebody from the phone book."
posted by mattbucher at 7:16 AM on September 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


The author of this piece clearly talked to colleagues of Ted Cruz's from throughout his life, and I'm not surprised at all that almost none of them spoke of him kindly. I love that he was useful to the Bush 2000 campaign, but so annoying that afterwards they exiled him to the FTC.
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:17 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I need to know where Dartmouth ranks though. I have some friends to troll who happen to be conservative republicans.

Well, Dinesh D'Souza and Laura Ingraham are both alums; but then, so is Kirsten Gillibrand.
posted by rtha at 7:19 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cruz - as a junior senator - has maneuvered Obama (and his party) into a tight space and put a lot of light onto himself. Only Putin has done as well against Obama.

You have an odd collection of heroes.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:19 AM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


The author of this piece clearly talked to colleagues of Ted Cruz's from throughout his life, and I'm not surprised at all that almost none of them spoke of him kindly. I love that he was useful to the Bush 2000 campaign, but so annoying that afterwards they exiled him to the FTC.

I'm reading this as you having a more positive view of Cruz than that being stated in the article. If that's true, it'd be interesting to see it laid out.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:21 AM on September 23, 2013


Ted Cruz Turns Obamacare Defunding Plan From Disaster to Utter Fiasco: "[Cruz's] new stop-Obamacare plan now entails filibustering the defunders’ own bill. [...] If they fail, it will be because a handful of Republicans joined with Democrats to break the filibuster, betraying the defunders. This means the full force of the defund-Obamacare movement—which is itself very well funded by rabid grassroots conservatives eager to save the country from the final socialistic blow of Obamacare—will come down on the handful of Senate Republicans who hold its fate in their hands. [...] But what if it succeeds? Well, success means the government shuts down because the Senate Republican majority has successfully filibustered a vote on the House bill preventing a shutdown."
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:22 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


mattbucher's link is very much worth the short amount of time it takes to read.

Also am now looking to buy "Was Karl Marx a Satanist" in bulk as a holiday gift.
posted by JPD at 7:23 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm reading this as you having a more positive view of Cruz than that being stated in the article. If that's true, it'd be interesting to see it laid out.

No, I think Cruz is a dumbass, hence the "not being surprised" no one would speak kindly of him.
posted by DynamiteToast at 7:23 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cornell is a state school.

Ahem... Cornell is a land-grant institution, but it's private.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
posted by mondo dentro at 7:24 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


He is like that weird lady in that AskMe who destroyed the cake out of stupidity and spite. America is the cake in this scenario.
posted by elizardbits at 7:24 AM on September 23, 2013 [35 favorites]


And Ted Cruz is the rain.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:26 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, he is so "perfectly of the moment" and one ought to be impressed by this artful performance of political skill. Cruz - as a junior senator - has maneuvered Obama (and his party) into a tight space and put a lot of light onto himself.

Cruz is certainly maneuvring someone into a tight space, but it's not Obama: The Legislative Genius of Ted Cruz
You probably saw Ted Cruz talking to Chris Wallace yesterday. At the end of the segment, he says if his plan A fails in the Senate, he wants the House to pass portions of the budget with an ACA defunding provision to the Senate and then see if the Senate and Obama will reject them.

The first would be a bill funding the military. He says that Reid and Obama will have trouble going against that one in the particular.

Here's the problem with that: The majority in the Senate won't vote "no." They'll vote "yes" on proceeding to vote. Then they'll vote "yes" to amend the bill to strip defunding the ACA from it. And then finally they'll vote "yes" to fund the military or whatever funding the provision concerns.

The only way that won't happen is if Republicans stay united and filibuster it.

In either case, Obama hasn't vetoed anything. And it won't be Senate Democrats who stopped consideration of the funding/defunding, but the Senate Republicans. It's quite clear Cruz has not thought out his legislative strategy.
Ted Cruz To GOP: Shut Down The Government Or You're Voting For Obamacare
The renewed push by Cruz and conservatives also puts the squeeze on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican is already in a tight spot between fending off an anti-Obamacare GOP challenger for re-election and averting a government shutdown that could hurt the party in the November 2014 elections.

Many Republicans recognize that Cruz and his cohorts are on a fool's errand. It's one thing to filibuster and block Reid from advancing a funding bill. But passing a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare in the Senate requires Reid's complicity along with the votes of 13 other Democrats. And that's still not enough: to enact such a bill into law, they'll need a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress to overcome a promised veto from President Barack Obama. It's a fantasy of the highest order.
[...]
The government shuts down next week on Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't act. Senate Democrats believe that even if they do get six GOP votes, completing the bill may take all week, bringing the country perilously close to a shutdown by the time it ping-pongs back to the House. Polls suggest Republicans, being the party out of power, will be blamed. That means once the lights go out, they'll have no choice but to fold. The only question is whether Cruz destroys what's left of the GOP brand in the process by shining a national spotlight on its radical tactics. He's laying the groundwork to escape from the battle with his reputation in tact by preemptively blaming his colleagues -- colleagues who remain skeptical of his plan.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:27 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


He is like that weird lady in that AskMe who destroyed the cake out of stupidity and spite. America is the cake in this scenario.

And a number of the wedding guests are writing him checks. The lack of analysis of Cruz's fundraising is a glaring omission from this article.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:27 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also: Only Putin has done as well against Obama.

Sure, if you mean increasingly endearing his choices on Syria to Americans: On Syria, Beltway elites blow it with paint-by-numbers punditry
It’s true Obama’s “commander in chief” qualities have slipped. But even here they remain in solid majority territory. Fifty two percent say he’s a “good commander in chief of the military,” which is down a few points but only within the margin of error. Fifty four percent say he’s a strong leader — down from 61 percent in January, but the drop could reflect any number of things (such as the economy), and indeed, it’s now higher than it was at other points in Obama’s presidency. These variations just don’t mean much in the real world. They certainly don’t confirm elite pundit conclusions.

Indeed, yesterday’s Pew poll finds overwhelming support for the diplomatic deal, and also finds a plurality sees Obama’s change of course as “leadership and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances,” rather than “weakness.”

How do you square all this with public disapproval of his handling of the mess? Simple: Obama proposed strikes, and the public opposes them. As the Fix notes, Obama still has not made the “sale” on Syria. That is unquestionably true. But the way to look at that failure is not as one of process, but one of policy. Strikes were a bad idea. The public continues to say so. The opportunity of diplomacy presented itself. Obama took that opportunity. The public supports that decision. Does anyone really imagine Americans care whether it was a verbal flub by John Kerry — or a changing of mind in response to new circumstances — that put us on the road to the outcome they want?

There is just no evidence Americans see this through the prism favored by elite pundits — that adapting to shifting circumstances is not “resolute” or :decisive,” and is therefore inherently a bad thing that has “weakened” the presidency and the country. In the Post poll, only 32 percent say it weakened the country (which is higher than say we’ve benefited but is still a distinct minority). Indeed, a plurality of 46 percent say Obama’s handling of the situation “has not made much difference to U.S. leadership.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:27 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The thing I just don't understand is that the disastrous heath care situation in the U.S. is precisely what is hurting American business. Every major business failure, detroit's bankrupcy, Illinois' unfunded pension liability, and on and on all have health care costs as a major component. Hell, even the NFL recent 750 Million dollar class action settlement offer is largely about health care costs.

This isn't cutting off your nose to spite your face territory. This is just outright suicide.

I cannot see how anybody benefits. Even the health care industry will have to deal with health care costs.
posted by srboisvert at 7:33 AM on September 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Harvard's reputation has really taken a beating in the last decade or so.
posted by Ghost Mode at 7:35 AM on September 23, 2013


Please link to cake thread.
posted by Ghost Mode at 7:38 AM on September 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Please link to cake thread.

I worried that I was the only one searching and not finding.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:41 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cake Thread.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:41 AM on September 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


Please link to cake thread.

Party foul, or reason for jihad?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:41 AM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cruz's legislative strategy doesn't have to work. He's running for president in 2016 and if the Congressional process is broken (i.e., doesn't do his bidding), it's something for him to run on! Whoever said upthread that the failure to look into his fundraising was a big problem with this article was right on.

This time, when we Texans tell you not to vote for the jackass, listen.
posted by immlass at 7:41 AM on September 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


The cognitive dissonance, it burns. Cruz's father was a Castro rebel who was jailed and beaten by Batista, and the result is Reagan love?

Cruz is an egomaniacal bombthrower, nothing more. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:43 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The thing I just don't understand is that the disastrous heath care situation in the U.S. is precisely what is hurting American business. Every major business failure, detroit's bankrupcy, Illinois' unfunded pension liability, and on and on all have health care costs as a major component. Hell, even the NFL recent 750 Million dollar class action settlement offer is largely about health care costs."

Well, I think that's Cruz's point - that the PPACA further ties healthcare to employment, so much so some businesses are dropping spousal coverage to account for the rising costs. The PPACA doesn't really do anything to address healthCARE costs, Cruz is arguing, and it will actually raise costs for businesses and employees. I'm not saying he is right or wrong, but that is his argument, at least from everything I've read from/about him for the past 6 months. So, his tactics to stop it are politically motivated, for sure, but there is some reasoning behind it other than just 'let's be annoying'.

I'm not a huge fan of Cruz, but he is a politician first, idealist second, and he's no dummy.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 7:45 AM on September 23, 2013


God bless him for recognizing the failings of those who go to a minor ivy.

Cornell People, Brown Grads - untermenchen.


Ted Cruz Needs To Stop Trying To Make Princeton Happen
posted by zombieflanders at 7:46 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some men just want to watch the world burn.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:48 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Or the part too poor to buy private fire protection, anyway.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:49 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, his tactics to stop it are politically motivated, for sure, but there is some reasoning behind it other than just 'let's be annoying'.

I'm not a huge fan of Cruz, but he is a politician first, idealist second, and he's no dummy.


His tactics involve throwing the entire world into a second, deeper depression because he wants to throw a shit fit over a law that passed muster in all three branches of government. That's certainly not "annoying," but accepting that reality is ideological fanaticism and denying it is a deeply stupid and delusional concept of the world.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:53 AM on September 23, 2013 [28 favorites]


The Republican party used to be about protecting rich people. Increasingly, the goal of today's Republican party is validate their ideological doctrine, that government doesn't work, by wrecking the government.

...except, of course, the military, so their actions still aren't consistent with the mission of protecting rich people.

By the way, has anyone else noticed how hardly anyone talks about "trickle down" any more? For modern movement conservatives, the mere notion that the middle class -- forget about the working poor -- is supposed to benefit from the enormous transfer of wealth to the top 1% over the past 30-odd years makes one a "moocher" or a "taker."
posted by Gelatin at 7:57 AM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


I need to know where Dartmouth ranks though. I have some friends to troll who happen to be conservative republicans.

Dartmouth is a school for drunk second sons and whoever the hell likes New Hampshire. It's clearly inferior to Princeton, for God's sake.
posted by Copronymus at 8:12 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Unless you're talking about the quality of your undergraduate education of course. ;)

/Ivy fights are just the worst.
posted by mzanatta at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


a Conservative Government is an Organised Hypocrisy

-B.Disraeli
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:24 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


By the way, has anyone else noticed how hardly anyone talks about "trickle down" any more?

They couldn't rely on trickle down as a legitimate theory anymore after decades of evidence against it, so Republicans just shifted from "the rich will make everyone else better off" to the moral (even religious) justification that "the rich should get richer because they are better human beings by virtue of being richer than you."

Every single thing that the Teapublican party does is motivated today by class war on behalf of the richest beings to ever live, first and foremost. Racism and spite come in quick succession of course, but they're largely by products of the embrace of the 1% as God-figures around whom all public policy decisions must revolve.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:25 AM on September 23, 2013 [13 favorites]


The cognitive dissonance, it burns. Cruz's father was a Castro rebel who was jailed and beaten by Batista, and the result is Reagan love?

Well, as the article notes, the elder Cruz then went on to make (and lose) a fortune in the oil exploration business. I'm betting he was at his financial zenith right around the time of "Morning in America" v. "Malaise Forever." If you'd fled the brutal Batista dictatorship and then watched your former comrades cozy up to the Soviets, and there you were in Houston with the whole grand American Dream laid out for you as tidy as your outsized split-level's front lawn, you'd probably be tempted to throw your lot in with the Morning in America corporate tax-cutter too.

None of this, however, excuses rearing a son catastrophically blind to how much the government he's trying to ruin ghost-wrote his family's rags-to-riches story.
posted by gompa at 8:29 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unless you're talking about the quality of your undergraduate education of course. ;)

Absolutely nothing that happens in a classroom is relevant to the tiering of Ivies.

In point of fact, I went to a non-Ivy traditionally attended by people who work very hard to convince themselves they're better off for all of their Ivy rejection letters, I just find the infighting hilarious.
posted by Copronymus at 8:38 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


By the way, has anyone else noticed how hardly anyone talks about "trickle down" any more?

They changed it to talk about "job creators," possibly after finally realizing how easy it is to make jokes about other things that trickle down.
posted by Etrigan at 8:39 AM on September 23, 2013


I freely admit that I developed an instant dislike for the guy when I first clicked on the link based simply and solely on the fact that he bears an eerie resemblance to one of my exes - a guy whose personality was itself pretty eerily similar to that of Ignatius J. Reilly.

So hearing everyone else dislikes him for more grown-up reasons makes me feel a little less irrational, so thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:47 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


By then Cruz had already fallen under the spell of a conservative impresario named Rolland Storey, a onetime vaudevillian and retired natural-gas executive who ran a Houston-area think tank called the Free Enterprise Institute.

I love when reality is this absurd!
posted by vorpal bunny at 8:49 AM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


For the Texans out there, remember that this is the guy who beat David Dewhurst by declaring that Dewhurst--the effectively anointed-by-Perry successor to Hutchison--was too liberal. (This happened before Perry managed to pull off imploding his career by being too crazy even for Texas Republicans.) Dewhurst, arguably the most powerful elected person in Texas (the Governor doesn't have much authority), with statewide name recognition, lost to a guy who was a corporate lawyer for five years on the basis of not being far enough to the right.

I just...wow.

I moved away from my native state before I could vote against Ted Cruz; not that it would have made any difference, just like every other ballot I cast in Texas since turning 18.
posted by fireoyster at 8:58 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


@zombieflanders "His tactics involve throwing the entire world into a second, deeper depression because he wants to throw a shit fit over a law that passed muster in all three branches of government. That's certainly not "annoying," but accepting that reality is ideological fanaticism and denying it is a deeply stupid and delusional concept of the world."

Well, not entirely sure how trying to defund the PPACA would throw the entire planet in to a depression, but I understand hyperbole is a fun tactic, but it's not constructive.

More-so, Cruz was elected by people who support his opposition to the ACA, as do many, many others in the country. There are a tremendous amount of laws that have passed muster in all three branches of government, but that doesn't mean fighting to change them is not accepting reality. As an example, let's be hyperbolic and imagine a ban on abortion was passed in all three brances. Would you argue that trying to overturn that ban wouldn't be accepting reality? No, of course not. Laws are passed. People that don't agree with them try to change/overturn them. The PPACA is fresh and new, not something like, oh, I don't know, the 2nd amendment, which people are STILL trying to chip away at.

Regarding the article, it was a good read, and Cruz is clearly educated, driven and an incredibly deft politician, even if his tactics or agenda may not be to everyone's taste. He is the new 'hot thing', a change and fresh face people can rally around. Kind of like a certain Junior senator that made the spotlight 7 years ago.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 8:59 AM on September 23, 2013


not entirely sure how trying to defund the PPACA would throw the entire planet in to a depression

They're willing to shut down the U.S. government and/or impugn the full faith and credit of the United States just to deny Obama a success. There you go.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:02 AM on September 23, 2013 [30 favorites]


There are a tremendous amount of laws that have passed muster in all three branches of government, but that doesn't mean fighting to change them is not accepting reality

Voting 40-odd times to defund a law even though it's getting them (the House) nowhere does not equal "fighting to change."
posted by blucevalo at 9:02 AM on September 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


They couldn't rely on trickle down as a legitimate theory anymore after decades of evidence against it, so Republicans just shifted from "the rich will make everyone else better off" to the moral (even religious) justification that "the rich should get richer because they are better human beings by virtue of being richer than you."

...and the corresponding justification that anyone who isn't rich is a loser. The Republican reliance on "othering" and tribalism has been obvious since the Southern Strategy, and it's been observed before that conservative rhetoric entices blue-collar white males to vote against their own interest. But it's amazing, and a little frightening, that the radical Tea Party brand conservatism needs to rely on increasingly bizarre nonsense in the first place ("keep the government out of my Medicare!") and that it continues to entice majorities, even in carefully drawn Congressional districts, to support an elite that so obviously holds them in contempt.
posted by Gelatin at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


BOTH parties have threatened a government shut-down. It's an age old tactic...because it works:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/56907/both-parties-threaten-government-shutdown-because-it-worked-great-last-time
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


BOTH parties have threatened a government shut-down.

One party has actually done it. I wonder which one?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:06 AM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Well, not entirely sure how trying to defund the PPACA would throw the entire planet in to a depression

I expect he's referring to the effect shutting down the US government and any concomitant damage to its credit might have on global markets. We don't know that it would crash the markets, but we don't know that it wouldn't, either. I guess the question for Cruz is, "Do you feel lucky, punk?"

I understand hyperbole is a fun tactic, but it's not constructive.

Someone should tell Ted this.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:06 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


A senior editor for the National Review writing in Bloomberg doesn't think the last shutdown went so great, no matter what spin Gingrich is trying to put on it.
posted by rtha at 9:09 AM on September 23, 2013


There is a big difference between an unelected strategist urging shutdown and a group of elected legislators doing the same.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:11 AM on September 23, 2013


They changed it to talk about "job creators," possibly after finally realizing how easy it is to make jokes about other things that trickle down.

I grudgingly admire Frank Luntz' ability to come up with focus-group-approved nonsense in order to sell Republican policies.

But it should be obvious that despite the end of the Great Recession, the so-called "job creators" aren't creating jobs. (And it is obvious, hence the constant whining about "uncertainty," as if one of the thing that separated Galtian Heroes from the "moochers" weren't the willingness to take risks.)

With the talking point about "uncertainty", modern movement conservatism gives away the game yet again -- without uncertainty, you're talking rent-seeking.
posted by Gelatin at 9:14 AM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well, not entirely sure how trying to defund the PPACA would throw the entire planet in to a depression

Are you actually not aware of the dangers of the US defaulting on its debt when it fails to raise the debt ceiling? Because that's crucial to the whole argument here, and it helps to be informed before jumping into the conversation.

I understand hyperbole is a fun tactic, but it's not constructive

I'm not the one who didn't do their research.

More-so, Cruz was elected by people who support his opposition to the ACA, as do many, many others in the country. There are a tremendous amount of laws that have passed muster in all three branches of government, but that doesn't mean fighting to change them is not accepting reality. As an example, let's be hyperbolic and imagine a ban on abortion was passed in all three brances. Would you argue that trying to overturn that ban wouldn't be accepting reality? No, of course not. Laws are passed. People that don't agree with them try to change/overturn them.

Do you know how they try to change them? By overturning them in the Supreme Court and undoing them via isolated legislative rollbacks. This is neither, but rather holding either the American government or the global economy hostage.

Regarding the article, it was a good read, and Cruz is clearly educated, driven and an incredibly deft politician, even if his tactics or agenda may not be to everyone's taste.

I don't know how anybody that is in the middle of splitting the federal representatives of his party and engaging in behavior that most Americans are appalled by can be called "deft." Maybe it's the wrong vowel.

He is the new 'hot thing', a change and fresh face people can rally around. Kind of like a certain Junior senator that made the spotlight 7 years ago.

Who's rallying around him? The quickly-shrinking Republican base? The even-quicker shrinking number of allies in Congress? The Texas politicians he snubs? Obama made his name by being well-liked by a broad coalition of both politicians and voters. Ted Cruz is doing essentially the opposite.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:17 AM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Shutting down a government that you were expressly hired to make function is, by definition, dereliction of duty, no?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:21 AM on September 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


The thing I can't get past is that Sen. Cruz is 42 years old.

He's going to be around a long time unless people get hip to his bullshit and quick.

That scares me, big time.
posted by elmer benson at 9:24 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


It was Clinton that vetoed a House passed budget he didn't like that caused the shutdown of 1995:

The global economy didn't collapse during that one, which is why the threat is just that, a grandstanding threat by Cruz (this time) and Democrats another time.

zombieflanders, the GOP have a 'repeal and replace' Bill that's out there in ADDITION to the threat of shutdown...you may not agree with the plan, but they do have one. To say that the GOP aren't trying, through legislative efforts, to repeal the PPACA is just not paying attention.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:24 AM on September 23, 2013


Shutting down a government that you were expressly hired to make function is, by definition, dereliction of duty, no?

Republicans generally see it as they were 'hired' to destroy the government, not help it succeed in any fashion.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:25 AM on September 23, 2013


It was Clinton that vetoed a House passed budget he didn't like that caused the shutdown of 1995

And remember how popular that made the House Republicans?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


My guess is, and I hope I'm not being wildly naive here, is that Cruz will step down off the ledge in the next few days. He may be a egomaniacal sociopath, but stupid he is not.

He knows that he's backing himself into an impossible corner. He probably plans to wait until the last possible minute and then, once it's clear his point has been made, explain to his batshit supporters that, due to the cowardice of his treasonous republican colleagues, a filibuster will not be possible.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 9:28 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know why the GOP thought this guy was a "rising star." He's made of wood on the campaign trail. Its like watch a Costanza-centered episode of Seinfeld. You have to look away after a while because you pity the man.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:29 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Saying that Clinton was the cause of the shutdown is just crazytalk. He merely vetoed a Republican extortion attempt. The president can't make laws.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:30 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


To say that the GOP aren't trying, through legislative efforts, to repeal the PPACA is just not paying attention.

To say that House Republicans aren't holding the functioning of the U.S. government hostage in order to repeal the PPACA is just not paying attention. Because that is precisely what they are doing.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:30 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]



It was Clinton that vetoed a House passed budget he didn't like that caused the shutdown of 1995:

The global economy didn't collapse during that one, which is why the threat is just that, a grandstanding threat by Cruz (this time) and Democrats another time.

There's a difference between shutting down the government and defaulting on the national debt. Unlike 1995, the republicans are threatening to do both this time.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 9:31 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember when Reid threatened a government shutdown in 2011? "We're not going to cave on this."

 - Harry Reid.

I guess he was the good guy then, though, and Cruz, this time, is the bad guy.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:31 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was Clinton that vetoed a House passed budget he didn't like that caused the shutdown of 1995:

The global economy didn't collapse during that one, which is why the threat is just that, a grandstanding threat by Cruz (this time) and Democrats another time.


Dropping two atomic bombs on another nation didn't start a war with the Russians in 1945. That doesn't mean that taking out Damascus and Tehran would be a good idea today.
posted by Etrigan at 9:34 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember when Reid threatened a government shutdown in 2011? "We're not going to cave on this."

 - Harry Reid.

Again, who has a record of actually having shut down the government?

This is another red herring along the lines of Senator Obama voting against a debt ceiling increase when he knew it would pass anyway. The Republicans are actually willing to vote against a debt ceiling increase when there's a chance of it not passing.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:35 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


It was Clinton that vetoed a House passed budget he didn't like that caused the shutdown of 1995

Which isn't the case here. The Senate will almost certainly not pass this budget, due largely to the parliamentary procedures that Cruz has ignored.

The global economy didn't collapse during that one, which is why the threat is just that, a grandstanding threat by Cruz (this time) and Democrats another time.

I was actually talking about the debt ceiling, which must be raised only two weeks later, and has never been defaulted on. I repeat: if you don't understand everything that is going on and the potential consequences, do us all the favor of doing a bit of research.

the GOP have a 'repeal and replace' Bill that's out there in ADDITION to the threat of shutdown...you may not agree with the plan, but they do have one. To say that the GOP aren't trying, through legislative efforts, to repeal the PPACA is just not paying attention.

First of all, that plan just came out. They've been talking repeal and replace for four years, and just now have something. And second, I'm not saying they haven't attempted to repeal, I'm saying they've tried 40 times via the isolated legislation method I mentioned, and never managed to do it. Again, this is hostage taking, not a good-faith legislative undertaking.

Remember when Reid threatened a government shutdown in 2011? "We're not going to cave on this."

 - Harry Reid.

I guess he was the good guy then, though, and Cruz, this time, is the bad guy.


Considering that Reid was talking about restoring money to support disaster relief, and that Cruz is talking about defunding a program that has thus far done much of what it said (and where failures have almost entirely been due to sabotage by Cruz and others), I think Reid definitely comes off as the better guy here.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


"Again, who has a record of actually having shut down the government?

Clinton does. He vetoed a bill that was democratically passed in the house, thus shutting down the government. Did you read the link above?
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember when Reid threatened a government shutdown in 2011? "We're not going to cave on this."

 - Harry Reid.

To again go back to what I've gotten from reading that book, Harry Reid deserves some credit for the way things are, too. He's quite a savvy player of the game. That said, the Republicans have a reputation for being more hardcore about this. They did, after all, turn the periodic grandstanding over the debt ceiling into an actual downgrade of the US's credit rating.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2013


In today's matinee performance, the role of Emmanuel Goldstein will be played by Ted Cruz.
posted by dios at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2013


zombieflanders, but we aren't talking about the 'better guy', we are talking about threats to shut down the government which, again, BOTH PARTIES ARE GUILTY OF. Just because you agree with one side doesn't make the threat 'better'.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:39 AM on September 23, 2013


Clinton does. He vetoed a bill that was democratically passed in the house, thus shutting down the government. Did you read the link above?

By that same token, the Republicans have a reputation for shutting down the government by passing a bill that they knew the democratically elected President wouldn't sign.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:40 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Clinton does. He vetoed a bill that was democratically passed in the house, thus shutting down the government. Did you read the link above?

No, Clinton doesn't. I'm starting to think you don't actually remember 1995 and 1996.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:40 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


" if you don't understand everything that is going on and the potential consequences, do us all the favor of doing a bit of research."

Oh come on.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:41 AM on September 23, 2013


Again, who has a record of actually having shut down the government?

Clinton does. He vetoed a bill that was democratically passed in the house, thus shutting down the government.


He vetoed a bill as is his constitutionally mandated role. He told the Republicans that he would do it, and they called his bluff, except that it wasn't a bluff. The most charitable possible reading of the history is that Clinton and Gingrich shut down the government.
posted by Etrigan at 9:41 AM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't know why the GOP thought this guy was a "rising star." He's made of wood on the campaign trail. Its like watch a Costanza-centered episode of Seinfeld. You have to look away after a while because you pity the man.

Yet, everyone in this thread now assumes he is some sort of skillful politician: why is this?

It's hard to comprehend, if you come from other parts of the country, how important pedigree is in the South, and correspondingly, how different the ruling class in the South is from the people they rule. The ruling class vacations in the South of France, sends their kids to Princeton, jets to NYC or London to do some shopping, and knows who their great^4 grandfather's mother was.

Who is Rafael Edward Cruz, the son of some Cuban boat person with a mouth full of loose teeth and a bankruptcy? That's what's behind his need to pedigree his study partners. Ted Cruz is someone who has been raised to be a servant. The real question isn't who he is, but who his masters are.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:42 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


It was Clinton that vetoed a House passed budget he didn't like that caused the shutdown of 1995:

The global economy didn't collapse during that one, which is why the threat is just that, a grandstanding threat by Cruz (this time) and Democrats another time.

zombieflanders, the GOP have a 'repeal and replace' Bill that's out there in ADDITION to the threat of shutdown...you may not agree with the plan, but they do have one. To say that the GOP aren't trying, through legislative efforts, to repeal the PPACA is just not paying attention.


I'm paying attention. The GOP is not trying to repeal the PPACA through legislative efforts. They are putting on a show for the nut jobs that vote in the Republican primaries. Its called math. They do not have the votes. They know they do not have the votes. Anyone who is paying attention knows that. And Obama will, sure as shit, veto that. So there is no chance of repeal and this is for show. Hence everyone hating Cruz now. Believing that this will get repealed when 59% of the people specifically are opposed to this tactical course by the GOP is pure fantasy.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:43 AM on September 23, 2013 [12 favorites]


Oh come on.

What? You either don't know about the many, many times the GOP has promised to tie defunding Obamacare to the debt ceiling, you have it confused with a government shutdown, or you think that nothing bad will come of it. All of those are indicative of being ignorant of large and essential parts of this conversation.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:43 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


dude, you weren't even aware of the recent GOP bill until I pointed it out to you.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:44 AM on September 23, 2013


What Cruz has managed to set up this week is a vote that will have every Senate Democrat voting against Ted Cruz - that's how he will spin it. It helps burnish his image with the GOP base if he can show 1) all Democrats are against Cruz, 2) Cruz is against Obamacare, 3) Cruz won't budge ever, so that even if he loses (by not defunding the ACA), he wins. It's an insane, impractical strategy that I expect to see repeated not just by Cruz but by other 2016 or 2020 GOP hopefuls.
posted by mattbucher at 9:46 AM on September 23, 2013


In today's matinee performance, the role of Emmanuel Goldstein will be played by Ted Cruz.

It's pretty slick because Cruz is also playing the role of Winston.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:46 AM on September 23, 2013


dude, you weren't even aware of the recent GOP bill until I pointed it out to you.

What are you talking about? You pointed out a bill (and yes, I was aware of it) that hasn't even been made official and was announced after their threats of government shutdown and debt default.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:46 AM on September 23, 2013


It's pretty slick because Cruz is also playing the role of Winston.

The one who wins the windfall will be the one who finds the
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:47 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's going to be around a long time unless people get hip to his bullshit and quick.

He parades around like a drunken popinjay, he claims both moral and ethical purity, he's in the pocket of big business, and he thinks government is inherently corrupt.

Within five years he will be at the center of the biggest scandal ever to rock Washington. I'd bet my cowboy boots on it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:51 AM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


> Clinton does. He vetoed a bill that was democratically passed in the house, thus shutting down the government. Did you read the link above?

By that same token, the Republicans have a reputation for shutting down the government by passing a bill that they knew the democratically elected President wouldn't sign.


And by that token, ultimately the American People are the ones who shut down the government - by re-electing the twits who pull this shit and by not calling them when they start pulling this shit and telling them "cut it out".

I suspect most MeFites are actually the exception in this regard, but still....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:51 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


As I stated above, I'm not a fan of Cruz, but to paint him as a 'dumbass' when he is in his first term, has the national spotlight fully on him...and has the government talking shut-down is some damn clever political manipulation on his part. BOTH sides are guilty of threatening (and in Clinton's case, enacting) a government shut-down.

We can argue who was 'right' in each case, but as with politics on the internet, my side is correct your side are are idiots who just don't get it.

And claiming that Cruz is in the pocket of big business? Which politician isn't?
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:58 AM on September 23, 2013


Clinton does. He vetoed a bill that was democratically passed in the house, thus shutting down the government. Did you read the link above?

No, the GOP shut down the government by not passing a bill to keep it open after the veto. They could have passed a Continuing Resolution. They did not. Clinton didn't fire a paralyze ray into the chamber preventing them from passing a CR. These fantasies are what will destroy the GOP from within.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:59 AM on September 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


Blaming the Clinton for the government shutdown that Gingrich orchestrated, led, and put into place as an intentional political strategy is so far from reality that it's hardly worth responding it. It's the same ridiculous rhetoric as Cruz preemptively blaming Obama for the looming shutdown because Obama won't undo his signature legislation for the sake of a party that controls one half of one branch of the government.

Look: presidents get to veto legislation they don't like. It's not some bizarre ploy, it's in the damn constitution, unlike legislative maneuvers like the filibuster. Congress can re-pass the vetoed bill and override the president with a 2/3 majority or they can compromise with him. It's not like "well, Clinton vetoed, we have no choice but to shut everything down" really makes sense. This is like Chris Beasley blaming me for my bloody nose in the 5th grade because "he had no choice but to punch me when I wouldn't hand over my lunch money."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:02 AM on September 23, 2013 [44 favorites]


Further, while Cruz is clearly bright in some ways, he either really believes that Reid/Obama will agree to defund the PPACA, or he thinks there's some upside in pretending to believe that. I don't know what he's thinking, because those are both crazy.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:04 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


and has the government talking shut-down is some damn clever political manipulation on his part

Honestly, he sounds like a dumbass to me. He knows this isn't going to go anywhere, so he's blustering with the threat of shut-down to what end? His own political standing? Consistency?

If we all agree that this isn't going anywhere, that the ACA will stay funded and the government won't shut-down (do we?), what is Cruz's end game here exactly? What is he trying to get out of this? Cause all he seems to be doing, to me, is making a fool of himself.
posted by ish__ at 10:05 AM on September 23, 2013


As I stated above, I'm not a fan of Cruz, but to paint him as a 'dumbass' when he is in his first term, has the national spotlight fully on him...and has the government talking shut-down is some damn clever political manipulation on his part. BOTH sides are guilty of threatening (and in Clinton's case, enacting) a government shut-down.

No, they are not "both" guilty of trying to shut down the government. First, the GOP could pass a continuing resolution. They've refused. This is simple legislative procedure. They won't do it because they would lose the "leverage" they believe they have.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:07 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I stated above, I'm not a fan of Cruz, but to paint him as a 'dumbass' when he is in his first term, has the national spotlight fully on him...and has the government talking shut-down is some damn clever political manipulation on his part.

1) I was calling him a dumbass if he either believes that Obama will overturn his signature achievement even though they barely have the votes in the House, don't have the votes in the Senate, and wouldn't be able to override a veto even if they did; or because he doesn't believe a shutdown is bad news for our economy and that default is bad news for everyone in the world.

2) Actually, they were talking government shutdown weeks, if not months ago. If anything, Cruz jumped on the bandwagon, not the other way around.

3) You have yet to prove that it's helping him anywhere outside of the crazy wing of the GOP. According to current polling, having the spotlight on him makes him the villain in the view of most of the US.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:09 AM on September 23, 2013


And by that token, ultimately the American People are the ones who shut down the government - by re-electing the twits who pull this shit

Well, they didn't re-elect everyone who pulled the shutdown (the Republicans lost eight seats, though they retained the majority), and it may have been a factor in Bob Dole losing the Presidential election as well.

Moreover, one factor is gerrymandered "safe" seats in which incumbents are mostly vulnerable to a primary challenge and so have every incentive to take a hard-line stance.

(Which, in turn, are often determined by state-level elections once every ten years, at which I doubt the notion of redrawing districts is much of an issue.)
posted by Gelatin at 10:10 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


If we all agree that this isn't going anywhere, that the ACA will stay funded and the government won't shut-down (do we?), what is Cruz's end game here exactly? What is he trying to get out of this? Cause all he seems to be doing, to me, is making a fool of himself.

He is keeping himself (and other Republicans) safe from getting primaried, getting media coverage that senators who make more modest statements can't dream of, and making himself popular with the base.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:13 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


They are putting on a show for the nut jobs that vote in the Republican primaries.

I like to call them hoople-heads, per Deadwood.
posted by goethean at 10:19 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


(Which, in turn, are often determined by state-level elections once every ten years, at which I doubt the notion of redrawing districts is much of an issue.)

It may not be an issue in the mind of Joe and Jane Voter, but you can bet your ass that it's a big reason the Republicans were pushing against Obama from day one -- the 2010 elections weren't just another midterm when you factored in the state legislatures.
posted by Etrigan at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


he is in his first term, has the national spotlight fully on him...and has the government talking shut-down is some damn clever political manipulation on his part.

This is "clever" in the same way that Donald Trump thinking there's no such thing a bad publicity is clever.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, Dinesh D'Souza and Laura Ingraham are both alums [of Dartmouth]; but then, so is Kirsten Gillibrand.

"In short, Dartmouth is a land of contrasts."
posted by wenestvedt at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


ish__: "He knows this isn't going to go anywhere, so he's blustering with the threat of shut-down to what end? His own political standing? Consistency? "

Underdog symbolism. Very popular with voters. He's also providing political coverage for Republicans who can't do what he's doing (as Going to Maine explains above.)
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2013


It may not be an issue in the mind of Joe and Jane Voter, but you can bet your ass that it's a big reason the Republicans were pushing against Obama from day one

Oh, absolutely.

Funny, isn't it, how in a nation that's supposed to have a "liberal media," the impact of those elections on one party's ability -- and an increasingly radically conservative one at that -- to consolidate power isn't more clear to Joe and Jane Voter?
posted by Gelatin at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went to a non-Ivy traditionally attended by people who work very hard to convince themselves they're better off for all of their Ivy rejection letters...

Hey, I went to Tufts, too! For a while, anyway...
posted by wenestvedt at 10:26 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


A large part of the country has no idea that the government is about to shutdown, most everyone is sick and tired of the budget gamesmanship, doesn't read the Washington Post daily, and thought the country was done with this after the averted debt ceiling deal in 2011. Once the public wakes up on October 2nd and finds the Post Office, Federal courts and National Parks closed with no apparent warning, they're going. to. be. pissed. And when they decide to investigate, they're going to be a lot more pissed, mainly at Cruz and the teabags.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:41 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


A large part of the country has no idea that the government is about to shutdown, most everyone is sick and tired of the budget gamesmanship, doesn't read the Washington Post daily, and thought the country was done with this after the averted debt ceiling deal in 2011. Once the public wakes up on October 2nd and finds the Post Office, Federal courts and National Parks closed with no apparent warning, they're going. to. be. pissed. And when they decide to investigate, they're going to be a lot more pissed, mainly at Cruz and the teabags.

Well, that's the trick - the "investigating" will by and large just be "listen to the news networks explain it" and the blame won't land squarely on Cruz and Co. in their version of events. More likely some wishy-washy "everyone is to blame! politics, amirite?" message gets cranked out - and look for a lot of "Why didn't Obama do X (where X is Congress' job and not his) to stop this?" bits.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:49 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Public Is Massively Opposed to Shutting Down the Government Over Obamacare
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:52 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


He is keeping himself (and other Republicans) safe from getting primaried, getting media coverage that senators who make more modest statements can't dream of, and making himself popular with the base.

Ahh, so Cruz is trying to ensure he doesn't get Cruzed. Wonderful.

Underdog symbolism. Very popular with voters. He's also providing political coverage for Republicans who can't do what he's doing (as Going to Maine explains above.)

Woo-hoo for political theatre I suppose.
posted by ish__ at 10:52 AM on September 23, 2013


"Ted?" "Unbelievable A#*hole."
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:04 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love how the Republicans' defense of their guys' attempts to fuck up the government boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!" and their defense against corruption is, "your guys are corrupt, too!" both which are tacit admissions that their guys are, in fact, corrupt and want to shut down the government.
posted by klanawa at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


zarq: "He's also providing political coverage for Republicans who can't do what he's doing"

I think a lot of it is this. Let's the mainstream GOP pretend that they aren't crazy and satisfies the teabaggers with at least trying. Meanwhile dragging everything just a little bit more to the right....
posted by Big_B at 11:10 AM on September 23, 2013


BlerpityBloop: BOTH sides are guilty of threatening (and in Clinton's case, enacting) a government shut-down.

Oh yeah. Both sides just act so completely cavalier and reckless when it comes to advancing their own pet issues. I totally remember that time Elizabeth Warren threatened to shut down the government if an updated Glass-Steagall law wasn't immediately reenacted. And then there was that time Bernie Sanders held the debt-ceiling hostage while demanding a slight increase in the minimum wage.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:12 AM on September 23, 2013 [22 favorites]


The fact that everyone thinks he an asshole isn't the terrifying thing about those "I knew Ted in College" articles. What's terrifying is that his politics appear not to have changed one bit between the ages of 17 and 42 - which I think says a lot about both him and the institutes of learning he attended and how little genuine thought it takes to graduate with high marks from those schools.
posted by JPD at 11:19 AM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


The desperation of Cruz and company to stop the Affordable Care Act is understandable. For years now the Republicans have said that Obamacare was a train-wreck socialist takeover of the healthcare system that would keep people away from doctors, end in worse health outcomes, set up death panels, drive up prices, add to the deficit, and somehow even manage to kill jobs. You can't even satirize their rhetoric--there's no room to be more extreme than they have already been. Now we are on the cusp of it. Exchanges open in days. Full implementation begins in January. When the country doesn't grind to a halt by March, they are going to have to face the music on this one. Most people who were insured by their employer will continue to be insured by their employer. People who have been holding their breath for months hoping no medical need would come along and bankrupt them will now have insurance. People who thought they would never be able to afford it can afford it, and for some people it will be free or close to free. Even worse for Republicans, PPACA by its nature will create converts as it goes, because there are going to be uninsured Tea Partiers who get cancer and go sign up the next day for guaranteed issue, reasonably-priced health insurance with no lifetime caps, and some of them are going to realize that they are alive and solvent because of Obamacare. Almost as soon as it goes into effect, you won't be able to undo it because people will be counting on it.

Worse, you can't even repeal and replace because the PPACA is already the most conservative heath care reform that could possible work. (Which is why Romney and the Heritage Foundation favored before the Dems adopted it.) From here you only have three choices: A bad status quo, a more conservative, unworkable plan, or a more liberal plan, like single payer. if you implement the dumbass GOP plan where you have guaranteed issue but no mandates, every sick person signs up right away and many healthy people don't, and the whole insurance industry will enter the death spiral. The GOP'll lose all credibility on the issue. The only thing they can do is stop implementation right now and never let people get to see Obamacare working.

The problem, of course, is that to get the PPACA implemented, all Obama has to do is veto anything that would stop it. All Reid has to do is keep his Democratic majority in line. If either one of them holds tight, this thing is happening, and both of them will. The only thing the GOP can do is hold the country hostage. They either shut down the government, which doesn't poll well, or refuse to raise the debt ceiling, and risk permanently crippling the U.S. economy, with global repercussions.

They may just do it. They've painted themselves into a corner. But it will severely damage the country and define them as a party for decades to come.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:19 AM on September 23, 2013 [43 favorites]


All Reid has to do is keep his Democratic majority in line.

Really, he only needs to keep about half of it in line. Even if (almost) half the D's voted with all the R's to repeal Obamacare, they still couldn't override a veto.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:33 AM on September 23, 2013


From the TPM article:

My friend [redacted] went to Harvard Law with Ted. [He] says that Ted shocked people when during the first week, he announced that he was creating a study group and only people with high GPAs from the Big Three Ivies could apply for admission. In short, Ted managed to come off as a pompous asshole at Harvard Law.

That takes some weapons-grade levels of asshole right there.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:33 AM on September 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


If that said HBS I believe we could demand his removal as a WMD
posted by JPD at 11:38 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


octobersurprise: "Cruz - as a junior senator - has maneuvered Obama (and his party) into a tight space and put a lot of light onto himself. Only Putin has done as well against Obama.

You have an odd collection of heroes.
"

three blind mice didn't describe a hero. He was pointing out skill, not heroism:

three blind mice: "Yes, he is so "perfectly of the moment" and one ought to be impressed by this artful performance of political skill. "

It's foolish to presume that one's enemies are completely incompetent in all regards. Cruz has demonstrated skills, and the tendency to use them for ill pursuits.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:42 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know why the GOP thought this guy was a "rising star." He's made of wood on the campaign trail. Its like watch a Costanza-centered episode of Seinfeld. You have to look away after a while because you pity the man.

I can't understand it either, though I wouldn't call it wooden. Every time I see him talk I feel like I'm watching a horror movie about a preacher who is secretly the antichrist. He is slimy and off-putting to such a degree that I can't even understand why Republicans would like him.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:53 AM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Here's the thing:
If the Senate takes up the CR-with-Obamacare-defunding that the House passed, debates it, then strips out the Obamacare defunding (which can be done via a simple majority vote) and passes it, it's up to the House to pass the modified version. If House Republicans balk and the government shuts down, Republicans are the ones who shut down the government.

If Senate Republicans gum up the works and prolong debate or stall, Republicans are the ones who shut down the government.

Nobody (who doesn't already hate Obamacare with the passion of a millions suns) listening to Republicans whine that they would have prevented the government shutdown if only the Democrats had kept defunding in the CR bill could possibly conclude that the Democrats are to blame for the shutdown.
posted by Bromius at 12:03 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I love how the Republicans' defense of their guys' attempts to fuck up the government boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!" and their defense against corruption is, "your guys are corrupt, too!" both which are tacit admissions that their guys are, in fact, corrupt and want to shut down the government."

Ummm, that's not a defense, it's pointing out the hypocrisy of the left (and the right). I get it though, your side is always right, righteous and right-on! The other side though when they do the same thing? Booooooo.

Ted Cruz is no angel, but it's not like he's doing anything politicians on both sides haven't done before. And to say Cruz in the pocket of big business when Obama is pretty much a puppet of wall street is laughable.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 12:03 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cornell is a state school.

Ahem... Cornell is a land-grant institution, but it's private.


Ahem, ahem.... Cornell University is comprised of multiples colleges. Some are private and some are public. The College of Arts & Sciences is private. The Ag School is public.
posted by bq at 12:06 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now we are on the cusp of it. Exchanges open in days. Full implementation begins in January. When the country doesn't grind to a halt by March, they are going to have to face the music on this one.

For the people who desperately need to believe in this, nothing will change. Even if they get signed up and have free/reduced medical care, they'll still say how awful and terrible etc etc it is. Right Wing media will quickly pretend it never happened and close down any discussion of it and proceed to highlight or wholesale invent "proof" that it's a disaster and it will repeated, over and over, until it's taken as truth.
posted by The Whelk at 12:06 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


For the people who desperately need to believe in this, nothing will change.

Sure, you have your dead-enders. But the GOP can't win elections with only the people willing to be deluded. There are independents and sane conservatives out there, and they are alienating them day by day.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:12 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I get it though, your side is always right, righteous and right-on! The other side though when they do the same thing? Booooooo.

Still waiting for an example of a Democratic House majority refusing to pass a budget that doesn't contain a poison pill, with the intent of shutting down the government, just like the Republicans did in 1995 and 1996.

Oh, wait—there is no such example.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:14 PM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ummm, that's not a defense, it's pointing out the hypocrisy of the left (and the right). I get it though, your side is always right, righteous and right-on! The other side though when they do the same thing? Booooooo.

You have yet to point out that there is a shutdown or shutdown threat that was not precipitated by the GOP.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Weird how the people who think that both parties are equally corrupt and hypocritical always prefer the GOP.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:16 PM on September 23, 2013 [34 favorites]


I prefer punching them all in the face, then futile third parties, then Democrats, then punching myself in the face, then the GOP.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:18 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Weird how the people who think that both parties are equally corrupt and hypocritical always prefer the GOP.

....You've never met anyone in the Green Party, I see.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Harry Reid threatened to shut down the government in 2011 over an abortion bill.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 12:22 PM on September 23, 2013


I get it though, your side is always right, righteous and right-on!

The Canadian side? Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no. The US doesn't have a mainstream party that I could support in good conscience. The fights are entertaining though, if a little scary. And a little sad.
posted by klanawa at 12:25 PM on September 23, 2013


....You've never met anyone in the Green Party, I see

Since I live in deep south Texas, no I haven't. But I will amend to say that people who believe the two parties are equally hypocritical almost always prefer the GOP, with some choosing a minor third party. That's a huge loss of pithiness for only a slight increase in truth, though.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:25 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nobody (who doesn't already hate Obamacare with the passion of a millions suns) listening to Republicans whine that they would have prevented the government shutdown if only the Democrats had kept defunding in the CR bill could possibly conclude that the Democrats are to blame for the shutdown.

I'm constantly surprised at how many otherwise sensible-seeming people do in fact hate Obamacare with the passion of a million suns. FWIW, YMMV, AAHYWEH*

* = abandon all hope ye who enter here
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 12:27 PM on September 23, 2013


"I'm constantly surprised at how many otherwise sensible-seeming people do in fact hate Obamacare with the passion of a million suns."

Well, I dislike Obamacare for myriad reasons, but it's more with the passion of a small table lamp. There are reasons to not like the PPACA that have nothing to do with 'because a democrat suggested it'. As I said above though, Cruz is a politician first who is smart enough to jump on the dislike of the bill and get press for his new career out of it, I'd wager he has some good logical reasons for opposing it, as do many others, in addition to the political gain he gets out of it.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 12:34 PM on September 23, 2013


Harry Reid threatened to shut down the government in 2011 over an abortion bill.

No, no, he did not. Reid warned that the government might shut down because Congress could not reach agreement on passing that bill. He didn't want it to shut down, hoped it wouldn't shut down, and was negotiating until the last minute to prevent a shutdown, and when the government did not shut down, Reid was glad. Read some quotes, for cryin' out loud:

“We can’t solve in one night a disagreement this country has been having for decades. It’s not realistic. It’s not realistic to shutdown the government on a debate dealing with abortion,” Reid said. “It’s not fair to the American people.”

“I am not nearly as optimistic as I was 11 hours ago,” Reid said, adding of a government shutdown that “it looks like it’s headed in that direction.”


I hope you sincerely you don't understanding the difference between announcing that stalled negotiations are making a shutdown likely and intentionally setting a course toward shutdown as a negotiating strategy. Because the only other option is super cynical spinning on your part.

Look: in 2011 Reid announced that at the rate they were going, without compromise the stalemate was going to result in a shutdown. He did that to put pressure on the Congress to negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus. In 2013, Cruz is announcing his intention to create a government shutdown. He he doing that because he wants to stop the passage of a bill that has already cleared both houses of Congress and a Supreme Court challenge. Reid pushed for compromise to avoid a shutdown. Cruz is pushing for a shutdown to avoid compromise. These are not the same thing.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:37 PM on September 23, 2013 [28 favorites]


Ted Cruz is no angel, but it's not like he's doing anything politicians on both sides haven't done before.

That's not short enough to fit on a bumper sticker, but it'll make a fine campaign slogan.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:38 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a bit echochambery in here, but if you're curious about how the other side talks to themselves, there's always redstate. I hate to give them any hits, but I feel it's my obligation to 'listen to all voices', perhaps particularly those I disagree with. Anyhow, the guy behind redstate, Erick Erickson is a leading national organizer for the teabagger movement, and it's illuminating to hear how he talks about any Republican who is to the left of Attila the Hun - you know, such commie stalwarts as Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and other extreme liberals.

So here's EE on Ted Cruz:

The Cries of the House GOP Staffers and Congressmen

"The fact is, Ted Cruz is winning. And in the process of winning, he is showing Republicans just how pathetic their representatives in Washington can be."

As EE sees it, non-teabagger GOP are all, well, as he put himself best - he refuses to use the word, because he's a good Christian - so coy:

Republicans as the Female Reproductive System in Politics

EE is a piece of work, and that's who leads the cheering for the Ted Cruz fan base. Like it or not, we should know what they're saying and why.
posted by VikingSword at 12:39 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


NationalReview is also all over the place on Cruz, truly a bifurcation of the party.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 12:40 PM on September 23, 2013


Harry Reid threatened to shut down the government in 2011 over an abortion bill.

You mean the budget bill that included riders from the Republicans meant to defund Planned Parenthood "performing abortions" despite that being a lie due to the fact that federal law already prohibited them from using government funding to do so?

Well, I dislike Obamacare for myriad reasons, but it's more with the passion of a small table lamp. There are reasons to not like the PPACA that have nothing to do with 'because a democrat suggested it'.

It's hard to believe that, especially when so many of them were totes cool or even enthusiastic about it when it was the Heritage Foundation's idea up until Democrats started talking about it in 2006. This, of course, includes the post-2006 Heritage Foundation.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:40 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oops, forgot the link, here's Jonah Goldberg on Cruz
posted by BlerpityBloop at 12:42 PM on September 23, 2013


@zombieflanders, I don't understand, are you saying the PPACA is perfect and there is absolutely nothing to dislike about it?
posted by BlerpityBloop at 12:45 PM on September 23, 2013


Are we talking about Calgary Cruz here? The dude who actually born in another country, as opposed to our President who was born in Hawaii?

Moving to Texas made Yale-y W a palatable Texan, so I guess it only makes sense that in Teabag nation moving to Texas makes a foreign-born person a bonafide American.

Full disclosure: I have nothing against an American citizen born abroad from running for all the offices the Constitution allows them to run for. I do have an issue with people not being logically consistent in their arguments and foolishly expect the 37% of Republicans/24% of All Americans who have an issue with Obama being "foreign born" to have as strong an issue with ol' Calgary Cruz.

Also, he was a debate team dude, so he's used to defending arguments he doesn't really believe in for the sake of scoring points.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:47 PM on September 23, 2013


Oops, forgot the link

Forgetting to link Goldberg is a feature, not a bug.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:48 PM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


@zombieflanders, I don't understand, are you saying the PPACA is perfect and there is absolutely nothing to dislike about it?

No, I'm saying a lot of people saying they hate it are in fact saying they hate it because it was "suggested by a Democrat" when that's not what actually happened. A Democrat didn't suggest it, but they did pass it, so it's like a lie about a lie within a lie. It's Hypocriception.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:52 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


foreign-born

Ted Cruz is a natural-born U.S. citizen. I enjoy pointing out that he was born in Canada when I can because I like to watch the right-wingers wriggle, but he wasn't a foreigner when he was born.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:53 PM on September 23, 2013


Well, he is a natural born American but he is also a Canadian citizen. I think it might just be semantics.

1.
a person born in or coming from a country other than one's own.


He was both born in and ultimately comes to the US from Canada. I would call him both a foreigner and an American natural born citizen.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:57 PM on September 23, 2013


Conservatives Suspicious of the Concept of Health
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:58 PM on September 23, 2013


Harry Reid threatened to shut down the government in 2011 over an abortion bill.

You mean the budget bill that included riders from the Republicans meant to defund Planned Parenthood "performing abortions" despite that being a lie due to the fact that federal law already prohibited them from using government funding to do so?


Just to explain a few things. A budget bill is just a framework for the budget. Not passing it doesn't shut down the government. An appropriations bill actually gets the money. Not passing an appropriations bill does shut down the government. So if one of Ted's defenders could just explain to me when the Democrats actually threatened to not vote an appropriations bill unless a poison pill was attached, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:58 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


U.S. citizens can't be foreigners with respect to the U.S.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:01 PM on September 23, 2013


Yeah, I'm a little disturbed by the anti-foreigner rhetoric around Cruz that's coming out. That..feels icky.
posted by corb at 1:03 PM on September 23, 2013


Ummm, that's not a defense, it's pointing out the hypocrisy of the left (and the right).

Of what use is it to emphasize the hypocrisy ? Hypocrisy has nothing to do with correctness.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2013


Yeah, I'm a little disturbed by the anti-foreigner rhetoric around Cruz that's coming out. That..feels icky.

A not-insignificant portion of the Right has spent the last several years arguing against Obama's legitimacy based on "inconsistencies in his birth record" or some similarly stated nonsense; pointing out that their current darling (or, for that matter, the guy he beat the first time) was actually born outside the U.S. isn't "anti-foreigner rhetoric," it's anti-hypocrisy rhetoric.
posted by Etrigan at 1:07 PM on September 23, 2013 [17 favorites]


U.S. citizens can't be foreigners with respect to the U.S.

By several definitions I have found, they could, which is why I called it semantics.

Yeah, I'm a little disturbed by the anti-foreigner rhetoric around Cruz that's coming out. That..feels icky.


I haven't seen much that suggests anti-foreigner around these discussions. Pointing out his dual citizenship is just part of his bio. If readers see being Canadian as a bad thing, that is their own issue.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:07 PM on September 23, 2013


Yeah, I'm a little disturbed by the anti-foreigner rhetoric around Cruz that's coming out. That..feels icky.

Welcome to the last ten years of being an Obama supporter.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:28 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


are you saying the PPACA is perfect and there is absolutely nothing to dislike about it?

Perfectionism will hopefully be covered under the PPACA as the disease that it is.
posted by srboisvert at 1:33 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen much that suggests anti-foreigner around these discussions. Pointing out his dual citizenship is just part of his bio. If readers see being Canadian as a bad thing, that is their own issue.

On one side is a blatantly racist falsehood perpetuated by a multimillion dollar industry implicitly supported by every level of the party establishment and media apparatus, extending not only to Obama's birth certificate, but to his college records and method of worship as well. On the other side is a Harvard Law School graduate who worked at the Supreme Court who "forgot" about his (totally legal and cool) Canadian citizenship, which was met almost entirely with "meh" or "let's see what rhetorical knots Cruz supporters tie themselves into," and has largely disappeared apart from jokes.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:36 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I predict a total walkback from Cruz. I suspect he will do a one-day, 2-hour talking filibuster and then throw in the towel.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:46 PM on September 23, 2013


Dad Explains Obamacare

‘It’s Bullshit,’ Father Says

posted by Drinky Die at 1:50 PM on September 23, 2013


Yeah, I'm a little disturbed by the anti-foreigner rhetoric around Cruz that's coming out. That..feels icky.

No shit.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:53 PM on September 23, 2013


He's just another loud-mouthed bully going crazy on his first sip of power.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:59 PM on September 23, 2013


Also, I predict a total walkback from Cruz. I suspect he will do a one-day, 2-hour talking filibuster and then throw in the towel.

I wouldn't put any money on that. I expect him to go all-in and let the crash happen. The only thing barring that is if the GOP elders suddenly grow a pair the size of cantaloupes, arm-wrestle a majority of the House into line behind them, and put the hammer down on Cruz & co.

The GOP is in such fractured disarray, though, that I give them no better than even-money that they can get the House in order just enough to avoid the shutdown. My money says the shutdown happens. When you look at the laundry list of cuts and defundings (aside from Obamacare) the House has in their sights, a shutdown is their fastest, surest means to those ends. As I said in an earlier post, the tea-baggers running the show don't care about the consequences. They just don't.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:06 PM on September 23, 2013


I wouldn't put any money on that. I expect him to go all-in and let the crash happen. The only thing barring that is if the GOP elders suddenly grow a pair the size of cantaloupes, arm-wrestle a majority of the House into line behind them, and put the hammer down on Cruz & co.

Boehner will have a free vote on a bill that doesn't include ACA defunding. Dems and enough of his loyalists will do it, just like they did earlier this year. The Hastert rule is dead.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:09 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm a little disturbed by the anti-foreigner rhetoric around Cruz that's coming out. That..feels icky.

its all coming from the GOP.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:10 PM on September 23, 2013


The last time the Republicans shut down the government I was 12 years old.
We were on vacation to Hawaii. I remember being discouraged most of the trip because it was a lot of luaus and sitting around drinking booze and other boring, adult-themed engagements. Nevertheless the entire experience was worth it because I had been promised that in the very near future I would be given a chance to poke lava with a stick.

When the fateful day arrived the park was shut down. I did not get to poke lava with a stick on that day or any day since. And so it was that my father sat me down and attempted to explain to me through my tears what, precisely, a newt gingrich was - thus initiating my life-long loathing on the GOP.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:11 PM on September 23, 2013 [82 favorites]


Metafilter: Attempting to explain to you through your tears what, precisely, a newt gingrich is
posted by zombieflanders at 2:16 PM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


The one tiny ray of hope I will take from this article is that at least Dianne Feinstein is still badass and classy as hell.

And then there was the moment, just a month later, when the Judiciary Committee was debating the assault--weapons ban: Cruz was trying to get it through Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein's thick skull that there was this thing called the Second Amendment and that it deserved the same respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights. He made his point by rattling off other amendments and the rights they protected until Feinstein bristled, "I'm not a sixth grader. I've been on this committee for twenty years.... I've studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture."

This is what you get for being an arrogant newly elected senator trying to school an 80 year-old with your brilliance. So deserved.
posted by ActionPopulated at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I also expect Ted Cruz to go all-in, not merely a symbolic 2 hour thing - he saw with Rand Paul how good theater like that can boost a politician. He'll do as much as he physically can, to burnish his credentials.

However, I don't expect a shut down. The reason is very simple - just a few weeks later, they have a much more meaty target with the debt limit. Why would they blow all their firepower on this loser, when they can use it to much better negotiating leverage come the debt limit vote? If they shut it down now, how are they going to use the very same tactic on the debt limit? They'd have shot their wad. Besides, why would they use up the nuclear option for something that won't succeed - defunding Obamacare? Why not use it to get some realistic give-backs from the prez when the debt limit negotiations roll around?

Of course, that all assumes that the inmates are not 100% in charge of the asylum. If they are, then all my reasoning is for naught. But that's how I'm placing my bets for now: no shutdown to defund Obamacare, possible shutdown when debt limit rolls around.
posted by VikingSword at 2:22 PM on September 23, 2013


"Welcome to the last ten years of being an Obama supporter."

I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!"
posted by BlerpityBloop at 2:29 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!"

No, it's more, "We aren't doing that."
posted by Drinky Die at 2:30 PM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


The one tiny ray of hope I will take from this article is that at least Dianne Feinstein is still badass and classy as hell.

...Feinstein bristled, "I've studied the Constitution myself..."


She should brush up on the 4th Amendment.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:30 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


What I wouldn't give for Obama to, when the big Debt Limit hullabaloo rolls around, call a press conference and just wheel out a TV playing this behind the podium and walk away.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:33 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not seeing this link upthread, my apologies if this is a double:

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo: "Me and Ted"

... after he was elected I started noticing and thinking, wow, this guy seems like a royal jerk.
And at some point my wife said, "You don't remember?"
Well, it turns out Ted and I went to college together. And not just we happened to be at the same place at the same time. We were both at a pretty small part of a relatively small university.

posted by RedOrGreen at 2:33 PM on September 23, 2013


I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!"

Yes, the revelation of Cruz's citizenship from notable socialist polemic rag The Dallas Morning News is further proof of a liberal conspiracy.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:35 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, I predict a total walkback from Cruz. I suspect he will do a one-day, 2-hour talking filibuster and then throw in the towel.

I wouldn't put any money on that. I expect him to go all-in and let the crash happen. The only thing barring that is if the GOP elders suddenly grow a pair the size of cantaloupes, arm-wrestle a majority of the House into line behind them, and put the hammer down on Cruz & co.


McConnell Shoots Down Ted Cruz's Plan To Risk Shutdown Over Obamacare

Somebody check McConnell's pants.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:39 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!"

I don't know, seems like it's the GOP that is questioning this guy's citizenship. Regardless, Cruz actually has foreign citizenship. Obama has imagined foreign citizenship.

Putting that aside, I really don't care about either person's citizenship, personally. They are both American citizens.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:40 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!"

Which Dem has questioned Cruz's citizenship? Or even his eligibility for President?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:40 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I did not get to poke lava with a stick

In a just world, you'd get to be first in line to poke Newt Gingrich with a stick.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:41 PM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!"

Well on the one hand you have the actual, undisputed fact of Ted Cruz being born in Canada and on the other you have six years of crypto-racist bullshit, but yeah, totally the same thing.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 2:42 PM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


At a time when there's very little to be appreciative of in politics, the one thing that has me feeling somewhat hopeful that I won't have to call in an emergency favor from a foreign friend or family member is the fact that even the nutjobbiest of the nutjobby Republicans seem to see Cruz for what he is. At least the members of the Axis of Stupid (Bachmann, King, Gohmert) have each other, but it doesn't look like Cruz has a single ally that will take a bullet for him.

Even Peter King (R-NY), notable for saying some stupid shit himself, realizes what a fraud Cruz is.
"I hope people will get the message this guy is bad for the party," King said Friday, talking about Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate. King is also a potential White House contender, as he has said he's thinking about running for president.

Asked if the House vote was more of a message to conservatives than to Obama, King said the vote is a signal that the GOP has "to take more realistic and practical approaches."

The congressman has said before that he can start ignoring the senator from Texas after the vote. He reiterated Friday he hopes that's still the case.

"We can't be going off on these false missions that Ted Cruz wants us to go on. The issues are too important. They're too serious, they require real conservative solutions, not cheap headline-hunting schemes," he said.
I am under no illusion that this will be a watershed moment in politics when the crazies are excommunicated from the party, but the fact that Cruz is a bridge too far for the likes of Peter King gives me a glimmer of hope that we might have a legitimate opposition party at some point in the future rather than a bunch of jihadists hell-bent on destroying the Federal government from within.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:56 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama has imagined foreign citizenship.

Actually, as near as I can tell Obama had Kenyan citizenship upon Kenyan independence, and then lost it later.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:10 PM on September 23, 2013


"I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!""

I love how an attempt to justify the asshole lunacy of Ted Cruz from a lonely conservative has boiled down to dumb, intentional misreadings in search of a gotcha.
posted by klangklangston at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, "well, your guys did it too!"

Your sarcasm detection skills are a little blinky or you're not fully reading the context of what I wrote if you believe that's what I was doing.

But to fully explain it...

For the last bunch of years, people have ignorantly and occasionally maliciously tried to "prove" that the President isn't a real American. You may have read a bit about this. Obviously, that's not true.

The people who have vigorous objections to Obama's legitimacy ignore the fact that even if he were foreign born (he wasn't) he'd still be an American citizen because his mother is an American citizen. Even if he had dual citizenship, he'd still be a legitimate American citizen who could run for office.

Calgary Cruz is a legitimate American citizen who (unlike Obama) actually was born in another country and has dual citizenship. He's fully qualified to run for office, just like Obama is.

My pointing this out was an attempt to point out the hypocrisy of a certain segment of hardcore Birther Cruz supporters. Logically they should either believe that Cruz is equally disqualified for office (which some of them do) or they should drop their citizenship-based objections to Obama.

To anyone who has poo-poo'd the idea that Obama's citizenship being denied by a portion of the population was "icky" behavior (and I am not accusing Corb of this, by the way) but does feel like mentioning that Calgary Cruz (who should be legally allowed to run for office all he wants) is foreign born is icky behavior, they now hopefully have an inkling of how its felt for Obama supporters listening to delusional and sometimes evil people try and brand Obama as unqualified for office.

It was shitty when people did it to Obama, its shitty if people do it to Cruz. I don't propose that anyone attempt to prevent Cruz from running for president. I just propose rubbing his Calgary origins in the face of Cruz supporting birthers everywhere, ideally forcing their brains to react like the robots in Star Trek that couldn't handle contradictions.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:22 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


That TPM article about McConnell defines Cruz's predicament.

The Senate only needs 6 Republican votes for to stop a filibuster. enough repub senators have said this whole charade is stupid, the votes will be there.

McConnell is basically saying to Cruz, "I'm the Minority Leader and you shall not pass."

Avoiding a shutdown AND looking like a Republican in good standing at the same time. Also giving cover to however many repubs to vote FOR the filibuster, though that vote will be futile.

After days of Cruz headlines I was wondering where McConnell would land. Boehner caved to 46 Congressmen because of the Hastert rule, would Mitch do the same because of 2 thorns?

Apparently made of sterner stuff.

On the the debt ceiling!
posted by Max Power at 3:30 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just propose rubbing his Calgary origins in the face of Cruz supporting birthers everywhere, ideally forcing their brains to react like the robots in Star Trek that couldn't handle contradictions.

I believe the robots in Star Trek couldn't handle contradictions because they were logical beings. The same cannot be said about many birthers/tea partiers/randroids who wouldn't even have to duck as your clever argument sails past, well above their heads.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:32 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


On a completely superficial note: The article mentions a similarity between Cruz and Joseph McCarthy with regard to the disruptive effect they each had on senate collegiality, but has anyone pointed out how eerily similar they are to each other in physical appearance?
Cruz vs. McCarthy.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:35 PM on September 23, 2013


The same cannot be said about many birthers/tea partiers/randroids who wouldn't even have to duck as your clever argument sails past, well above their heads.

The tragedy is my argument isn't even clever.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:36 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"a lonely conservative"

When did I ever say I was a conservative, comrade?
posted by BlerpityBloop at 3:41 PM on September 23, 2013


After days of Cruz headlines I was wondering where McConnell would land. Boehner caved to 46 Congressmen because of the Hastert rule, would Mitch do the same because of 2 thorns?

Apparently made of sterner stuff.


Nope. Up for reelection.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:49 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, I'm beginning to think you might be Ted Cruz.
posted by box at 3:50 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Peter] King is also a potential White House contender

Thanks, I needed a good laugh.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:51 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


When did I ever say I was a conservative, comrade?

As this is a political discussion and you are offering criticisms of multiple political groups, I would be interested if you could briefly explain where you personally fall on the political spectrum.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:56 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


so it was that my father sat me down and attempted to explain to me through my tears what, precisely, a newt gingrich was - thus initiating my life-long loathing on the GOP.

As Joanie Caucus memorably said in Doonesbury, "Sounds like a creature from Dune."
posted by Gelatin at 4:00 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


As this is a political discussion and you are offering criticisms of multiple political groups, I would be interested if you could briefly explain where you personally fall on the political spectrum.

What possible purpose would this serve? This is the epitome of an ad hominem attack AND guilt by association AND possibly the no true Scotsman as well.

If he (or her, not sure) says he is a republican or conservative or some other group no generally liked here on metafilter you get to discount everything he says and make some kind of pithy comment seeking to totally discount his viewpoint (like maybe calling him a racist or priviliged or some such)

If he says he is a democrat or marxist or some group that generally has a large sympathetic following here than you get to attack him on grounds of not being pure enough or a poor example of such a group.

And what connection (i.e. party affiliation) does his feelings on say gun control, the pledge of allegiance or what ever wedge issue that ISN'T being discussed here have on this discussion? His ideas (or lack thereof) stand or fall on their merits, not on where he self identifies on the political map.
posted by bartonlong at 4:18 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"As this is a political discussion and you are offering criticisms of multiple political groups, I would be interested if you could briefly explain where you personally fall on the political spectrum."

WTF? Are you trying to see if we can be friends or if I would fit in here?
posted by BlerpityBloop at 4:22 PM on September 23, 2013


I would ask that the explanation I offered, that I am interested in how your own political views may inform the criticisms of both sides of the spectrum you have offered in this thread, be accepted in good faith.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:41 PM on September 23, 2013


There’s much less time to avoid a government shutdown than you think
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:55 PM on September 23, 2013


DrinkyDie,

All you need to know is what I've said in this thread:

- Not a fan of Ted Cruz
- Not a fan of the PPACA
- Sometimes Democrats do things for political reasons
- Sometimes Republicans do things for political reasons
- Both parties are often backed by corporate interests.

So yes, I'm a Bourbon Democrat who thinks dogs should be declawed.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 5:11 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bob: You wanted to be Krusty's sidekick since you were five! What about the buffoon lessons, the four years at clown college.
Cecil: I'll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:19 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks for sharing Blerp. I think we can be friends, but I will expect the Bourbon part of this to be literal. :P
posted by Drinky Die at 5:19 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


@Ironmouth Yes, and getting primaried from the right. Do you think his challenger from the Tea Party fringes will paint this in a positive light?

McConnell has just wiggled out of a tight spot while putting an upstart in his place.

Part of running the government IS actually running it. Something that may be dawning on some more experienced Republicans.
posted by Max Power at 5:22 PM on September 23, 2013


Well, the important thing is that you've found a way to feel superior to both.
posted by Ndwright at 5:46 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


All you need to know is what I've said in this thread

Which so far has been "Let me tell you about Ted Cruz: I hate that guy, he's so darn clever. He'll go far that clever guy I hate so much."
posted by octobersurprise at 5:47 PM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Which so far has been "Let me tell you about Ted Cruz: I hate that guy, he's so darn clever. He'll go far that clever guy I hate so much."

That seems to pretty much be everyone's opinion about him according to that TPM article. Let's all agree that smart assholes are still assholes and we should keep them away from elected offices from here on out.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:51 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


[just wanted to say hooray for Pater Aletheias]
posted by fleetmouse at 7:29 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


@Ironmouth Yes, and getting primaried from the right. Do you think his challenger from the Tea Party fringes will paint this in a positive light?

McConnell has just wiggled out of a tight spot while putting an upstart in his place.

Part of running the government IS actually running it. Something that may be dawning on some more experienced Republicans.


Checked the polling on the McConnell primary?

McConnell's crushing Bevin, 59-20. Bevin's approval -6 with 64% undecided.

Don't think McConnell's got too much to worry about.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:17 PM on September 23, 2013


Clay Bennet hits it out of the park on the regular: "Ayn Rand Ackbar!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:19 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Which Dem has questioned Cruz's citizenship? Or even his eligibility for President?

To be clear, I don't think this has happened publicly in a political fashion - I just didn't like the talk about it here. I understand it's probably meant as a counter to the birthers, but when you counter people by saying the exact same things, but about their candidate, it doesn't exactly raise the discourse and prevent it in future.
posted by corb at 5:18 AM on September 24, 2013


Are you referring to this comment? Because it's not "saying the exact same things," it's mocking the birthers, especially those who suddenly find themselves nitpicking over an actual foreign-born American to make him more acceptable than one born here.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:39 AM on September 24, 2013


McConnell shoots down Ted Cruz's plan to risk shutdown over Obamacare

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) broke with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday, revealing that he won't filibuster legislation to fund the government in service of conservative goals to defund Obamacare.

The Republican leader's decision is a major blow to the push by Cruz and powerful conservative activist groups, who wanted Republicans to unite and filibuster a continuing resolution until Democrats caved agreed to gut funding for the Affordable Care Act...

posted by Comrade_robot at 5:57 AM on September 24, 2013


Because it's not "saying the exact same things," it's mocking the birthers, especially those who suddenly find themselves nitpicking over an actual foreign-born American to make him more acceptable than one born here.

There's a thin line between mockery and using the same rhetoric, and a thin line between making fun of whiplash-birthers and making fun of Cruz (who I don't believe deserves it, unless he was part of the "secret Kenyan" brigade, which I've never personally seen (nor sought out) evidence of). Several of the commenters in this thread have leaned more toward the latter.
posted by Etrigan at 6:24 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps I'm just not seeing it, could you point it out to me? The closest I've seen anyone come is Joey Michael's comments, which are specifically and explicitly aimed at birthers.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:02 AM on September 24, 2013


Joey Michaels' comment was the one I was thinking of, in fact. "Are we talking about Calgary Cruz here?" is scarcely different from someone who overhears someone talking about Obama and butts in with "You mean Barack HUSSEIN Obama?" It's a cheap shot and a derail, and the small-text "Not that there's anything wrong with that" justification doesn't make it much better. Joey Michaels came back later in this same thread and admitted, "It was shitty when people did it to Obama, its shitty if people do it to Cruz." Being the first person to raise the topic only to come back and admit how shitty the entire topic is takes away some of the moral high ground.
posted by Etrigan at 7:20 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If that's the case, then blowing up one joking comment into the evidence-free generalizations like BlerpityBloop's "I love how the Democrats defense of their sides attempts to question someones citizenship boils down to, 'well, your guys did it too!'" were a pretty shitty attempt to escalate.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:34 AM on September 24, 2013


Shitty, yes, but that particular comment came well after a lot of discussion, so I don't think it was an attempt to escalate so much as it was an attempt to derail. And I didn't feel the need to pile on to the seven responses to a shitty derail attempt.

So, to sum up: I think Joey Michaels was wrong in raising it in this thread, especially the hamburgery way he did it. The attempts by BlerpityBloop and corb to refashion it into evidence of ill will on the anti-Cruz side were all the fruit of that poisoned tree.
posted by Etrigan at 7:45 AM on September 24, 2013


Which Dem has questioned Cruz's citizenship? Or even his eligibility for President?

To be clear, I don't think this has happened publicly in a political fashion - I just didn't like the talk about it here. I understand it's probably meant as a counter to the birthers, but when you counter people by saying the exact same things, but about their candidate, it doesn't exactly raise the discourse and prevent it in future


so sarcasm is out? I think its plenty fine to make fun of the incredibly stupid positions the birthers took.

More importantly, I'm supposed to believe that a Princeton undergrad who then went to Harvard Law, clerked for the Chief Justice of the United States and was an Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States had no idea whatsoever he was a citizen of a foreign country? You do realize he filled out security clearance forms and was interviewed for a security clearance, don't you? A person born in a foreign state who has dual citizenship must disclose this fact. Guideline C of the Security Clearance guidelines details foreign preference:
9. The Concern. When an individual acts in such a way as to indicate a preference for a foreign country over the United States, then he or she may be prone to provide information or make decisions that are harmful to the interests of the United States.
10. Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying include:

(a) exercise of any right, privilege or obligation of foreign citizenship after becoming a U.S. citizen or through the foreign citizenship of a family member. This includes but is not limited to:

(1) possession of a current foreign passport;

(2) military service or a willingness to bear arms for a foreign country;
(3) accepting educational, medical,
retirement, social welfare, or other such benefits from a foreign country;
(4) residence in a foreign country to meet citizenship requirements;
(5) using foreign citizenship to protect financial or business interests in another country;
(6) seeking or holding political office in a foreign country;
(7) voting in a foreign election;

(b) action to acquire or obtain recognition of a foreign citizenship by an American citizen;

(c) performing or attempting to perform duties, or otherwise acting, so as to serve the interests of a foreign person, group, organization, or government in conflict with the national security interest;
(d) any statement or action that shows allegiance to a country other than the United States: for example, declaration of intent to renounce United States citizenship; renunciation of United States citizenship.
Ted Cruz sure as shit better have disclosed his holding of foreign citizenship on his security clearance and suitability forms when he was a U.S. Government Employee.

Cruz had the unmitigated gall to then tell the Dallas Morning News the following:

“The Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” Cruz, a freshman Republican from Texas, said in a statement. “Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American.”

So, I'm supposed to believe that a person who served as a Deputy Attorney General of the United States and clerked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States had no idea he was a citizen of another country? Bullshit. Cruz is lying. Or nowhere near as smart as he says he is.

This is why it is relevant. Not because he might not be eligible for the Presidency (although that issue has never been decided by any court and he may not be eligible).
posted by Ironmouth at 8:39 AM on September 24, 2013 [13 favorites]


"Are we talking about Calgary Cruz here?" is scarcely different from someone who overhears someone talking about Obama and butts in with "You mean Barack HUSSEIN Obama?"

What happened? Did the significant fraction of the US right—including elected officials—who've spent the last five or six years interjecting "You mean Barack HUSSEIN Obama?" into every discussion suck up all the crazy? None left to so much as mention Ted Cruz's perfectly ironic birthplace? Is Ted Cruz ashamed of being born in CANADA?

More to the point, as Noam Scheiber has pointed out, while Americans have usually viewed candidates born on foreign soil generously, that's largely because Americans have tended to interpret Constitutional definitions of citizenship rather, um, liberally. Given that Cruz has always insisted on his dedication to exceedingly literal interpretations of the Constitution, his place of birth is worth raising if only out of interest in how he would answer the question of his own legitimacy.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:41 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, I'm supposed to believe that a person who served as a Deputy Attorney General of the United States and clerked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States had no idea he was a citizen of another country? Bullshit. Cruz is lying. Or nowhere near as smart as he says he is.

I'm not saying that this is definitely what happened, but it's entirely possible that Cruz was told by his parents or someone else unofficial along the line that Canada didn't automatically offer birthright citizenship (recall that many, many countries don't) or that he couldn't be a dual citizen (per the State Department, "U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another."), and he just accepted that explanation, because why wouldn't he? He may even have had a conversation with the investigator of his security clearance to the following effect:
"Hey, you were born in Canada -- are you a Canadian citizen?"
"No, I was born a U.S. citizen -- see, here's my passport."
"Okay, then."

As we've seen in the news recently, security investigators aren't immune from mistakes, especially when there's no real question of whether an Associate Deputy Attorney General is going to get his clearance.
posted by Etrigan at 9:02 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying that this is definitely what happened, but it's entirely possible that Cruz was told by his parents or someone else unofficial along the line that Canada didn't automatically offer birthright citizenship (recall that many, many countries don't) or that he couldn't be a dual citizen (per the State Department, "U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another."), and he just accepted that explanation, because why wouldn't he? He may even have had a conversation with the investigator of his security clearance to the following effect:

A top lawyer* checks out the actual facts regarding their legal status in any situation. I am a lawyer. It is inconceivable that someone of Cruz's education and experience would "just accept" an explanation without going into the actual facts and law of the matter. He could have easily checked the relevant Canadian law. He either did not or he lied to the Dallas Morning News.

*Frankly, even a mediocre lawyer checks out the actual facts.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:12 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


A top lawyer* checks out the actual facts regarding their legal status in any situation.

Any situation that is up for argument, sure. What I'm saying is that until the Dallas Morning News brought it up to him, Cruz may have never been challenged about his Canadian citizenship. "He had a security clearance!" is not evidence that anyone had ever challenged him about it. I have three active security clearances and been through half a dozen investigations, and no investigator has ever put the screws to me in a way that would make me really wonder about anything I'd told them. And I wasn't a political appointee whose clearance was a pro forma measure, either.

You want to dislike Ted Cruz. That's fine. I don't like him either. But you're saying that he absolutely did know ("Ted Cruz sure as shit better have disclosed his holding of foreign citizenship"), and that assumes that people are a lot more introspective than any experience with the human animal bears out.
posted by Etrigan at 9:31 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: you're saying that he absolutely did know ("Ted Cruz sure as shit better have disclosed his holding of foreign citizenship"), and that assumes that people are a lot more introspective than any experience with the human animal bears out.

Seriously? I've filled out residency paperwork in two countries now, and I absolutely did spend hours agonizing over every detail. When they said "List every country you've been to in the last ten years, with dates" you bet I dug out details of every foreign conference I'd ever been to. It took %$^$%#$ing HOURS.

And you're saying that just forgetting about a foreign citizenship while filling out a security clearance form (under penalty of perjury, I expect?) is really no biggie?

Without snark - I don't think this can be right. (Or I have been severely deluded about the sanctity of paperwork.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


But you're saying that he absolutely did know ("Ted Cruz sure as shit better have disclosed his holding of foreign citizenship"), and that assumes that people are a lot more introspective than any experience with the human animal bears out.

What I said was he's either a bad lawyer and way dumber than he is supposed to be or lying. My money is on lying. Especially the part about "technically" being a Canadian citizen. He either is or he is not. I do clearance law for federal employees. They are supposed to ask.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:22 AM on September 24, 2013


And you're saying that just forgetting about a foreign citizenship while filling out a security clearance form (under penalty of perjury, I expect?) is really no biggie?

I'm saying that it's entirely possible that he never knew that he was a Canadian citizen. As I noted earlier, lots of countries don't offer birthright citizenship -- General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, became a U.S. citizen at the age of 22 and had never been a citizen of any country before that; until 1991, there were ethnic Turks who had been born in Germany to parents who were born in Germany to grandparents who had legally emigrated to Germany who were not German citizens. It is not entirely outside the realm of possibility that Cruz's parents had told him when he was a child that he was a U.S. citizen and it didn't matter that he was born in Canada, and he believed that person, because no one ever challenged it until the Dallas Morning News brought it up.

I do clearance law for federal employees. They are supposed to ask.

There's a pretty substantial gap between "supposed to" and "sure as shit."
posted by Etrigan at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Canadians were not permitted to hold more than one citizenship prior to February 15, 1977, by which time Ted Cruz had already moved to Texas. The Canadian government may not have actually considered Cruz to be Canadian prior to April 17, 2009, when "lost Canadians" had their citizenship automatically restored.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:50 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm saying that it's entirely possible that he never knew that he was a Canadian citizen.

I also find it very hard to believe that a Harvard law graduate in a high-level position would simply assume that his birth in Canada didn't make him a dual national and never make the slightest inquiry to find out.

I agree that it's far more probable that Cruz knew he was also a Canadian citizen, indicated that during security clearance investigations, and was simply lying about it to the public.

that assumes that people are a lot more introspective than any experience with the human animal bears out

How many Deputy Attorneys General do you have experience with? How many Supreme Court clerks? How many people who were solicitor general for a state? You should expect people like this to be just a wee bit more aware of the legalities surrounding their lives than the average schlub.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:13 AM on September 24, 2013


I also find it very hard to believe that a Harvard law graduate in a high-level position would simply assume that his birth in Canada didn't make him a dual national and never make the slightest inquiry to find out.

Per the comment right above yours, Cruz wasn't a Canadian citizen until 2009. He was 38 years old, and he hadn't lived in Canada for 35 years. That's after he went to Princeton, after he went to Harvard, after he was a clerk to the Chief Justice of the United States, after he was Associate Deputy Attorney General... how many times do you expect someone to check the citizenship laws of a country where he does not live and does not intend to live?
posted by Etrigan at 11:47 AM on September 24, 2013


For those still invested in this thread, Cruz is on the floor now.
posted by butterstick at 11:54 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those still invested in this thread, Cruz is on the floor now.

Mr. Smith He Ain't
posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do clearance law for federal employees. They are supposed to ask.

There's a pretty substantial gap between "supposed to" and "sure as shit."


I mean the investigators are supposed to ask, not Cruz.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:16 PM on September 24, 2013


I do clearance law for federal employees. They are supposed to ask.

There's a pretty substantial gap between "supposed to" and "sure as shit."

I mean the investigators are supposed to ask, not Cruz.


You said, "Ted Cruz sure as shit better have disclosed his holding of foreign citizenship on his security clearance and suitability forms when he was a U.S. Government Employee." I outlined a scenario where he might not have known. Hence the difference between what the investigators are "supposed to ask" and something he "sure as shit better have disclosed". As has been brought into stark relief in the last eight days, security clearance investigators aren't necessarily perfect.

And as one more dead town's last parade's comment points out, he wasn't a Canadian citizen at any time he would have been investigated for a clearance. Your certainty of what a good lawyer should know betrays your own argument.
posted by Etrigan at 12:26 PM on September 24, 2013


Per the comment right above yours, Cruz wasn't a Canadian citizen until 2009. He was 38 years old, and he hadn't lived in Canada for 35 years. That's after he went to Princeton, after he went to Harvard, after he was a clerk to the Chief Justice of the United States, after he was Associate Deputy Attorney General... how many times do you expect someone to check the citizenship laws of a country where he does not live and does not intend to live?

Incorrect. the 2009 amendments applied to persons born outside of Canada of at least one Canadian parent. Cruz has birthright citizenship in Canada.

Every person born outside Canada after 15 February 1977, who has a Canadian parent at the time of birth, is automatically a Canadian citizen by descent. Every such person whose Canadian parent or parents were also not born in Canada and obtained their citizenship at birth by descent (second generation born abroad) must have successfully applied to maintain their Canadian citizenship before their 28th birthday, that is, if their 28th birthday took place before 17 April 2009. People falling into that category who did not take steps to maintain their citizenship lost their citizenship on that birthday. With Bill C-37[6] coming into effect on 17 April 2009, there is no longer a requirement or any allowance to apply to maintain citizenship.

Canadian law contains a similar principle. Ever since Canadian citizenship was first granted on January 1, 1947, an individual has been considered to be a Canadian citizen if he/she was born in Canada.

Ted Cruz has been a citizen of Canada since the day he was born, December 22, 1970.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:27 PM on September 24, 2013


Ted Cruz has been a citizen of Canada since the day he was born, December 22, 1970.

So he wasn't a citizen of the United States until 1977?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:36 PM on September 24, 2013


And as one more dead town's last parade's comment points out, he wasn't a Canadian citizen at any time he would have been investigated for a clearance. Your certainty of what a good lawyer should know betrays your own argument.

The link was to a youtube video that said nothing about the state of Canadian law.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:37 PM on September 24, 2013


Per the comment right above yours, Cruz wasn't a Canadian citizen until 2009

But that comment is wrong. If you were born in Canada (and not to foreign diplomats), under the old law you were a Canadian citizen from birth and up until the point you performed an expatriating act. The list of expatriating acts does not include "moved to Texas." Naturalizing in some other country would have expatriated him from Canada, but he didn't need to naturalize because he was already a US citizen through his mother.

Even under the old act, there were dual nationals in Canada. Natural-born Canadians like Cruz who also had citizenship-by-descent from some other country, and naturalized Canadians who had not fully renounced their original citizenships to officials from their original countries (which can be a lot of work).

So Cruz was born Canadian and will continue to be Canadian until actually renounces his Canadian citizenship to Canadian officials, unless the high positions he's held with the US government count as expatriating acts.

And he would have to be thick as mud not to even investigate this given his training and positions.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:37 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ted Cruz has been a citizen of Canada since the day he was born, December 22, 1970.

So he wasn't a citizen of the United States until 1977?


He was a dual citizen. See s. 16 of the Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946.

Here's a link to a Canadian government website explaining it.

the Lost Canadians were persons who were born-abroad descendants of Canadian citizens as that link from the Canadian government shows. It has zero to do with Ted Cruz, who was a birthright citizen of Canada.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:41 PM on September 24, 2013


Cruz may actually be a triple national if he acquired Cuban citizenship through his father.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:45 PM on September 24, 2013


he would have to be thick as mud not to even investigate this given his training and positions.

That's the sticking point here. Whether he is or isn't a Canadian citizen, he's had 42 years to figure it out. That someone with aspirations to a career in law and politics, should have never bothered to reflect on his own status vis–à–vis the country of his birth doesn't speak too highly of this cleverness everyone thinks he's so possessed of.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:47 PM on September 24, 2013


Cruz may actually be a triple national if he acquired Cuban citizenship through his father.

this is the best I could do looking that up

Oh for inline images!
posted by Ironmouth at 12:50 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


He was a dual citizen.

Canadian law did not permit dual citizenship until 1977 (not permitting dual citizenship is not the same thing as not recognizing dual citizenship, as the U.S. does), so while he may have been able to exercise the rights of both citizenships before 1977, this wasn't actually legal for Canadians to do.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:55 PM on September 24, 2013


He was a dual citizen. See s. 16 of the Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946.

Here's a link to a Canadian government website explaining it.


From your link (emphasis added):
C. People who Lost their Citizenship Between 1 January 1947 and 14 February 1977 Because they or their Parent Acquired the Nationality or Citizenship of Another Country

A third group of “lost Canadians” ceased to be citizens between 1947 and 1977 because, in general, dual citizenship was not permitted during this period. Under the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act, Canadian citizens who voluntarily acquired the nationality or citizenship of another country lost their Canadian citizenship.(13) In addition, the minor children of such persons could also lose their citizenship if the children were, or also became, a citizen of another country.(14)
posted by Etrigan at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2013


C. People who Lost their Citizenship Between 1 January 1947 and 14 February 1977 Because they or their Parent Acquired the Nationality or Citizenship of Another Country

A third group of “lost Canadians” ceased to be citizens between 1947 and 1977 because, in general, dual citizenship was not permitted during this period. Under the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act, Canadian citizens who voluntarily acquired the nationality or citizenship of another country lost their Canadian citizenship.(13) In addition, the minor children of such persons could also lose their citizenship if the children were, or also became, a citizen of another country.(14)


Read "because, in general." Read the entire document. It explains who is and who is not a lost Canadian. Ted Cruz does not fit in that category. He had both Canadian and U.S. citizenship the moment he was born. Therefore, he could not have later acquired other citizenship. This is basic logic. I've provided link after link. All I've seen arguing the opposite is a youtube video that does not discuss who the new law applied to. If I find the full text of the 1946 act, I will continue to contribute on this particular issue. If not, well we are all entitled to believe what we want about when Ted Cruz gained his citizenship.

But let's read the Dallas Morning News and see what they say:
WASHINGTON — Today’s front page story explores what it means to be born in Canada to an American parent in 1970, as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was. Bottom line, Canadian legal experts say: dual citizenship, a conclusion that Cruz thus far has not taken Iissue with.

Curious about whether you’re a Canadian citizen? The country’s immigration ministry, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, offers a user friendly online tool. Take the “See if you may already be a Canadian Citizen” quiz here.

Cruz was kind enough to release a copy of his Canadian birth certificate to The Dallas Morning News.

He has never formally renounced Canadian citizenship, aides tell us. With the information on his birth certificate, that leads to this result on the CIC quiz: “Based on your answers, you are likely a Canadian citizen.”

Question 1: Have you ever renounced your Canadian citizenship with Canadian authorities? (No)

Question 2: Was your Canadian citizenship ever revoked for fraud? (No)

Question 3: Where were you born? (In Canada)

Question 4: When were you born? (Between Jan. 1, 1947, and Feb. 14, 1977)

Question 5: At the time of your birth, was one of your parents employed in Canada by a foreign government or international organization and did that parent have diplomatic status in Canada? (No)

CIC’s website then offers this:

WHAT DO I NEED TO PROVE MY CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP?
If you were born in Canada, a birth certificate issued by the province or territory where you were born is often enough to prove that you are a Canadian citizen. You can also use a citizenship certificate (Certificate of Canadian Citizenship), issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, as your proof of citizenship.
You'll see ol' Ted's Canadian Birth certificate printed at the top of the page, indicating, according to the Canadian lawyers the Dallas Morning News checked with, that Teddy "I will speak until I can no longer stand" Cruz is no longer secretly Canadian.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:13 PM on September 24, 2013


Cruz was not the minor child of a Canadian citizen who later acquired a foreign nationality. He wasn't the child of Canadian citizens at all. He was the child of foreigners (a Cuban, possibly traveling on US refugee papers, and an American) who were in Canada at the time.

I don't know why this is such a sticking point for you. Cruz was born a Canadian citizen, and any diligent person of his education, training, and employment would have known that he was still a Canadian citizen.

Sure, some random schmuck in a similar position might reasonably have not known. Cruz wasn't a randomly selected person; he was at the pinnacle of the US legal profession and a highly-placed member of the US government. Either he knew he was a Canadian citizen or he is deeply, uncharacteristically, unprofessionally cavalier about his employment, *and* nobody bothered to ask him about it or otherwise check when he was being cleared.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:14 PM on September 24, 2013


All I've seen arguing the opposite is a youtube video that does not discuss who the new law applied to.

If you're going to be so dismissive, at least be correct.

I happen to know somebody born in Canada to one American parent and one foreign parent and who subsequently moved to the U.S. This person was advised over many years, by a family member who was an immigration lawyer, not to do anything which could appear to be exercising U.S. citizenship (i.e., voting, applying for a passport) because Canadians were not allowed to have dual citizenship. That restriction no longer applies, but the risk of losing your Canadian citizenship by exercising the rights provided by another was not zero back then.

Cruz exercised his right as a U.S. citizen to live in the U.S. prior to February 15, 1977, and has apparently not tried to exercise Canadian citizenship rights since he left Canada. It's certainly a reasonable assumption that he lost one citizenship by choosing the other at a time when it was illegal to have both. He may have officially lost it if it had come to the attention of the Canadian government.

But feel free to continue to make guesses about the prevailing legal opinion at the time.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:38 PM on September 24, 2013


In addition, the minor children of such persons could also lose their citizenship if the children were, or also became, a citizen of another country.(14)

Read "because, in general." Read the entire document.


I've read the entire thing. I see no further description of when dual citizenship might be allowed.

He had both Canadian and U.S. citizenship the moment he was born. Therefore, he could not have later acquired other citizenship.

Doesn't "were... a citizen of another country" mean that he didn't have to "acquire" other citizenship?

All of the legal experts you quote were asked whether Cruz is a Canadian citizen. Has anyone asked whether he was one before the latest amendments took effect in 2009? As I've pointed out, he may well have been told -- possibly even officially -- that he wasn't a Canadian citizen at any point between the ages of 6 and 38.

You claim not to care whether he is a Canadian citizen at all, but only whether he knew that he was. The fact that he might not in fact have been one at all speaks to the confusion around the issue and the possibility that he simply, and with some level of justification, believed that he wasn't one.
posted by Etrigan at 1:45 PM on September 24, 2013


If he had previously been told by someone whose legal advice he respected, "you are not a Canadian citizen," I'd think his response to the Morning News would have been something other than "Canadian citizenship? I've never heard about that before."

Assuming that response is honest, of course.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:47 PM on September 24, 2013


I was actually coming in here to apologize to zombieflanders for not looking closely enough at Joey Michael's smalltext. Then I found twenty comments of whether or not Cruz should have known he was a Canadian citizen. So now I am not sure what to do. But I still think, man, can't everyone get back to hating or not hating his politics?
posted by corb at 3:26 PM on September 24, 2013


But there's a plate of beans right there.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:34 PM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Fair point, sir. Fair point indeed.
posted by corb at 3:37 PM on September 24, 2013


And -- intending no offense -- someone was wrong. On the internet.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:18 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


corb: " was actually coming in here to apologize to zombieflanders ... Then I found twenty comments ... So now I am not sure what to do."

Might I suggest apologizing, and then adding something to the thread on the topics you wish we were all focusing on?

corb: "man, can't everyone get back to hating or not hating his politics?"

Sure!

Cruz's politics are odious, but on policy grounds, I don't think he really distinguishes himself from any of the other hucksters vying to be America's Next Top Palin. Former GWB White House aide Nicolle Wallace agrees, saying on MSNBC last night that Cruz is "far less interesting than everyone else thinks" and "...just a guy" (among other things.)

The only things that really separate Cruz from the other Tea Party types are (a) that the rest of them all seem to hate him, and, (b) the citizenship issue, which, beanplate-y as it may be, is an intriguing topic for many, especially considering how so many Republicans (even establishment ones) anointed Cruz the standard-bearer of the party, and possible Presidential material. Of course, that was back before they realized he was a pompous dick -- it becomes less interesting as we realize Cruz is just another run-of-the-mill zealot trying to throw himself upon the gears of the federal government.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:28 PM on September 24, 2013


So apparently he's been talking non-stop this whole time.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:39 PM on September 24, 2013


Which is hilarious because he's not actually filibustering anything; the vote is on a schedule and not subject to cloture. All he's doing is using up all the time that would otherwise be devoted to other Senators' equally pointless speeches.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:17 PM on September 24, 2013


It's a shame he can't just act like every other Canadian senator and do absolutely nothing of consequence.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:12 PM on September 24, 2013


How Conservatives Win In The Government Shutdown Fight Anyway
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:38 PM on September 24, 2013


Former GWB White House aide Nicolle Wallace agrees, saying on MSNBC last night that Cruz is "far less interesting than everyone else thinks" and "...just a guy" (among other things.)

True. If the GOP had 2 brain cells they would basically go all women, all the time.

First, women have the, shall we say, "cultural range" to be more supportive, advocate for families and push compromise more than confrontation.

Second, gender roles have put male GOP politicians in a box they can't escape. They must be implacable. They can never compromise with a black man.

There is a double standard that prevents GOP men from compromising. Its a double standard that their own electorate enforces. That's why they have to have a lot of women candidates if they are to survive.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:19 PM on September 24, 2013


How Conservatives Win In The Government Shutdown Fight Anyway

Yeah, pretty much. I better never hear anyone suggesting triggers as a good idea in the future.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:25 PM on September 24, 2013


That's why they have to have a lot of women candidates if they are to survive.

Candidates aren't being chosen because they specifically profess not wanting to compromise, regardless of gender. The idea of holding fast is the Republican watchword, and the women who are showing up as big names in the media - Michelle Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Sarah Palin, (perhaps) Liz Cheney, Phyllis Schlafly - none of them are being / have been touted because of their suggestion that folks should get along. (Where are the Olympia Snowes of yesteryear? Susana Martinez is probably going to keep her head nice & low for a cycle or two.)

(Counterpoint: Condoleeza Rice?)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:34 PM on September 24, 2013


The idea of holding fast is the Republican watchword, and the women who are showing up as big names in the media - Michelle Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Sarah Palin, (perhaps) Liz Cheney, Phyllis Schlafly - none of them are being / have been touted because of their suggestion that folks should get along.

Very good point. I guess what I'm saying is the GOP needs to soften its image, compromise and start pushing women forward to bring that message.

They won't and Rand Paul's ilk will inherit the rump.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:24 AM on September 25, 2013


Wait, so he spent 21 hours pretend filibustering and then voted for the thing he was speaking against? The mind boggles.
posted by Big_B at 11:27 AM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Big_B: "Wait, so he spent 21 hours pretend filibustering and then voted for the thing he was speaking against? The mind boggles."

Legislative Dadaism.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:52 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, so he spent 21 hours pretend filibustering and then voted for the thing he was speaking against? The mind boggles.

What an epic walkdown. Bet you the Senate bill sails through the House.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:59 AM on September 25, 2013


Don't worry, they will schedule an Obamacare defunding vote before and after to soften the blow.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:05 PM on September 25, 2013


If Obama endorses his own impeachment, GOP will agree not to destroy the U.S. economy
So let’s say it again: This is not a standard Washington negotiation, in which each side is demanding concessions from the other. Democrats are not asking Republicans to make any concessions. They are asking Republicans to join them in not destroying the U.S. economy. House Republican leaders — who have themselves conceded not raising the debt limit would jeopardize the full faith and credit of the U.S. government — are asking Democrats to make a series of concessions in exchange for not unleashing widespread economic havoc that will hurt all of us. But agreeing not to destroy the economy doesn’t count as a concession on the part of Republicans, and no one should expect it to be rewarded with anything in return. Just because Republicans are trying to frame this as a conventional negotiation doesn’t mean folks have to play along with it.

To be sure, there’s been some legitimate debate over whether lawmakers have ever tried to attach extraneous items to debt limit hikes. Glenn Kessler did a deep dive into the history and found a few examples of this. But they are rare, and in any case, as Kessler himself notes, that is separate from the question of whether lawmakers have ever explicitly threatened default in order to extract a long list of concessions, which is even more rare and may be unprecedented, particularly the way Republicans are doing so here.

At any rate, the grab bag of demands Republicans intend to make this time is almost comically extensive and off point, and as such, should be enough to get folks to recognize the basic absurdity of what’s happening here. I say “should” because you’d think the basic absurdity of demanding multiple concessions in exchange for not destroying the economy would be apparent enough on its face. But thus far, it’s been mostly treated as business as usual. Hopefully the outsized and buffoonish nature of this round of GOP demands will change that. Hopefully.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading that link and considering potential replies to the Republican demands, I am reminded of the wise words of Drew Curtis in regards to a patent troll: "I paraphrased our best one-time settlement offer as "how about jack sh*t and go f*ck yourself."
posted by Drinky Die at 12:52 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


‘You’re F*cking With Us, Right?’ Jon Stewart Delivers Stinging Takedown of Ted Cruz Filibuster
posted by homunculus at 10:27 PM on September 25, 2013


"Wait, so he spent 21 hours pretend filibustering and then voted for the thing he was speaking against? The mind boggles."

Well, he did get to read Green Eggs And Ham on the Senate floor, so he can cross that off his bucket list. I think the nadir of this charade was the point at which one of the FOX news pin-up girls analyzed the Senator's choice of bedtime reading. "I like Green Eggs And Ham," she said. "It makes him seem like a dad."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:06 AM on September 26, 2013


What Ted Cruz Doesn't Understand About Green Eggs and Ham
In broad strokes, it's a book advocating openness to experience—one of the key moral dimensions on which liberals and conservatives differ.

In the specific context of the health care debate, though, I'm reminded of Nancy Pelosi's much-mocked remark that "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

What she was expressing was the idea that while the health reform bill may not have been popular, the health reform law would prove popular in practice once it was in effect. People would like their subsidies and their regulatory protections, and wouldn't want to see them repealed. She was making, specificaly, a kind of Green Eggs and Ham argument. The narrator keeps insisting that he hates green eggs and ham, but he's never had green eggs and ham. When he finally tries them—he likes them!

The Democrats' bet on the Affordable Care Act is that it's like green eggs and ham—they're convinced the public will like it when they try it.

Conservatives like Cruz claim that this is wrong. That Americans will taste the green eggs and ham and they're going to hate it. But their actions speak otherwise. They're desperate to repeal the law before it's implemented. And in terms of the 2012 elections, that was fair enough. But they lost in 2012. Now instead of acting like they're confident that the voter backlash to the green eggs and ham will power them to victories in 2014 and 2016, they're engaging in flailing desperate tactics to make sure nobody tries the green eggs and ham. Because deep down they fear that Dr. Seuss was right.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:09 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


House Republicans Issue Ransom Demand: Implement Romney Plan or the Economy Gets It
That’s their opening demand: implement Romney’s economic plan or melt down the economy.

Now, everybody realizes that the Republicans won’t stick to this demand in the end. The strategy is to begin by demanding everything they want, so that when they “compromise” to merely destroying Obamacare, it seems reasonable. But two aspects of this approach are immediately striking. The first is its tactical wisdom. John Boehner seems to believe that the way out of the shutdown problem is to make extravagant promises for the debt ceiling crisis, which is a much more dire threat, and on which Obama has committed himself not to negotiate. Why would making more extensive promises make this easier for Boehner in the end? Won't it make conservatives that much angrier when he ultimately has to give up the things he promised?

The second point is a normative one. The fact that a major party could even propose anything like this is a display of astonishing contempt for democratic norms. Republicans ran on this plan and lost by 5 million votes. They also lost the Senate and received a million fewer votes in the House but held control owing to favorable district lines. Is there an example in American history of a losing party issuing threats to force the majority party to implement its rejected agenda?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:51 AM on September 26, 2013


The honest truth, really, is probably a mixture of the two.

Some people will hate it. I'm going to hate the ACA, personally, because it raises, rather than lowers, my premiums, and does not give me even a tiny bit more coverage than it did before. People with generous employer-based health plans (called "cadillac plans" disparagingly, because man, if there's anyone to mock, it's people with good health care!) are probably going to dislike it, as those plans go away and their premiums rise. Young, healthy people who are not getting sick and suddenly getting penalized are going to hate it. People who notice that it raises their taxes are going to hate it. Fiscal conservatives are going to hate it.

People who are terminally sick or have major disabilities are going to love it. Poor people with families are going to love it. People with pre-existing serious conditions are going to love it. People who don't worry about their taxes anyway are going to love it. Social justice folks are going to love it.

We don't know which way will be the majority of the population. If I were to bet, I'd say there will be more people who love it than hate it, simply because there are more poor people than middle class and rich people in the country.

However, because a majority of people love something, doesn't mean it's an inherent good - and that's what is behind the push to fight Obamacare. I don't care that much myself, but if I did, I'd fight it too - because it is a small evil, and because once it's put in place it will be very difficult to dislodge, while costing the government a great deal of money. Much like Social Security and Medicare, it will spur large expenditures, without asking - are these expenditures even good things? There have been very interesting commentaries and even science fiction about what happens when a small, aging population keeps itself alive while bankrupting everyone else for their care, as medical science extends life past its usual boundaries. These are real concerns, and I think there's no need to be really dismissive of them just because Ted Cruz likes to grandstand.
posted by corb at 7:55 AM on September 26, 2013


When I saw "the Romney plan" I thought, oh, you mean like the universal health care plan he instituted as governor of Massachusetts?
posted by rtha at 8:04 AM on September 26, 2013


(And yes, this isn't a hypothetical for me, the Obama administration is trying to raise my insurance premiums an additional 345% because of the ACA)
posted by corb at 8:06 AM on September 26, 2013


Wait, the source for that is unnamed congressional aides, likely of the Republican congressman quoted in the story? And it's a speculation that they're increasing costs just to move people to Obamacare? Man, that seems like a case of people believing what they want to believe.

In any event, if the Republicans in the House don't like the effects of the sequester budget cuts on the military, they could always pass a real fucking budget that isn't steeped in bitter insanity, rather than blaming Obama for something that they're constitutionally responsible for.

(And in the particular, Corb, maybe it's a move to get you off of the socialist teat of Tricare. Surely, the market will save you.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:16 AM on September 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


corb- this jumped out at me when I read the article you linked:

According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048.

$460 a YEAR for family coverage for tricare?? That is less than my husband pays a month for family coverage through his employer. I realize that it's a huge jump in premium, but it's not out of line for people in the private sector.
posted by hollygoheavy at 8:23 AM on September 26, 2013


Much like Social Security and Medicare, it will spur large expenditures, without asking - are these expenditures even good things?

Yes, because providing care for those who are in need of that care and cannot help themselves is an integral part of a just and humane society.
posted by elizardbits at 8:25 AM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't care that much myself, but if I did, I'd fight it too - because it is a small evil, and because once it's put in place it will be very difficult to dislodge, while costing the government a great deal of money.

The private health care industry has been a far greater evil and cost Americans and their government a great deal of money (often times much, much more).

Much like Social Security and Medicare, it will spur large expenditures, without asking - are these expenditures even good things?

They are good things, even in the compromised forms they have in comparison to proper social safety nets in other countries. The only things making them "bad" ideas is that the logical solutions for improving them (like more progressive taxes and more efficient subsidization) have become anathema to a shrinking number of Americans who happen to vote regularly, despite the fact that 50 years ago they were conservative ideas. It's clear from countries with much firmer safety nets and better taxation that these are, in fact, good things. It doesn't help that the opposition to this has basically come down to "BUT SOCIALISM!"

There have been very interesting commentaries and even science fiction about what happens when a small, aging population keeps itself alive while bankrupting everyone else for their care, as medical science extends life past its usual boundaries.

The point of single-payer is to make sure that everybody gets to keep itself alive longer. We are currently 33rd in doing so. Countries with healthcare as a safety net for everyone, such as the UK, are near the top. They also beat the US in pretty much every single health metric, sometimes by enormous margins: infant mortality, per capita costs, percent of GDP, percentage of taxes paid. I don;t know how you can argue that this is "science fiction" when actual science fact proves you wrong.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:35 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Watching someone denounce Social Security and Medicare and complain about the cost of their government-funded health care in the same breath is wicked fun.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:44 AM on September 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Watching someone denounce Social Security and Medicare and complain about the cost of their government-funded health care in the same breath is wicked fun.

Yes, because health care that you got through your employer and dodged bullets for is totally the same as Medicare. I mean, I understand the whole "Get gov't hands off my Medicare LOLZ" stuff, but this is actually a defined pension plan benefit, not a social service.

$460 a YEAR for family coverage for tricare?? That is less than my husband pays a month for family coverage through his employer. I realize that it's a huge jump in premium, but it's not out of line for people in the private sector.

Yes, I recognize that it's not out of line for most people and it's a much lower premium than some - but at the same time, a lot of the reason many people in the military stayed to retirement was because of the pension plan. In that sense, it's no different than any other employer-provided pension plan, and one of the selling points was that it would never be more than a very minor amount, and would come directly out of your retirement money so you would have good, inexpensive health care for life.
posted by corb at 8:50 AM on September 26, 2013


corb: " Yes, because health care that you got through your employer and dodged bullets for is totally the same as Medicare. I mean, I understand the whole "Get gov't hands off my Medicare LOLZ" stuff, but this is actually a defined pension plan benefit, not a social service. "

What distinguishes the two, other than your assessment of who deserves the socialized medicine and who doesn't?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:53 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


A lot of Detroit autoworkers stayed through to retirement to collect the benefits their employers agreed to give them, and they've gotten well screwed out of them. They worked hard for umpteen years for their pension plans and health care coverage and now get called greedy. But fuck 'em, I guess, since they didn't earn them the exact way some people think you should have to earn them in order to deserve them.
posted by rtha at 8:56 AM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


A lot of Detroit autoworkers stayed through to retirement to collect the benefits their employers agreed to give them, and they've gotten well screwed out of them. They worked hard for umpteen years for their pension plans and health care coverage and now get called greedy.

I think there's a difference between saying "New people should not be hired at this pension plan" and saying "Those with the existing pension plans are greedy." I think that is more a function of the way we allow bankruptcies in this country than anything else. In my view, people who were contractually guaranteed a pension plan of a certain type should have it, and if the city or company doesn't have the funds for it, they should have to sell all of their assets to provide it. But that's not the way this country handles bankruptcy, which generally discharges your debts.
posted by corb at 9:02 AM on September 26, 2013


Yes, because health care that you got through your employer and dodged bullets for is totally the same as Medicare.

If you want to make the case that soldiers are the only people entitled to taxpayer-funded aid, then make it. Otherwise, it is totally the same as Medicare.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:08 AM on September 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes, because health care that you got through your employer and dodged bullets for is totally the same as Medicare.

If you want to make the case that soldiers are the only people entitled to taxpayer-funded aid, then make it. Otherwise, it is totally the same as Medicare.


Defining any benefit derived from service (of any sort) to the government as "taxpayer-funded aid" is pretty disingenuous.
posted by Etrigan at 9:39 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why?
posted by rtha at 9:47 AM on September 26, 2013


"I think there's a difference between saying "New people should not be hired at this pension plan" and saying "Those with the existing pension plans are greedy." I think that is more a function of the way we allow bankruptcies in this country than anything else. In my view, people who were contractually guaranteed a pension plan of a certain type should have it, and if the city or company doesn't have the funds for it, they should have to sell all of their assets to provide it. But that's not the way this country handles bankruptcy, which generally discharges your debts."

Yeah, sorry, I'd have more respect for these complaints if they came when it wasn't just your ox being gored.

People like Gov. Scott Walker, in their attacks on public unions, are very much telling people who bought in to pensions and deferred cash for retirement benefits that they will take a haircut and get less.

That this is the way the country discharges debts is mainly true because of Republicans setting the laws that way; they're not a fiat from heaven. Every time there's been an attempt to reform bankruptcy laws, the specter of union pension plans are used as a justification for not requiring those debts to be protected.

Coincidentally, this is one of those things that helps prop up the aristocratic class you aspire to — the very ideals you espouse are screwing you, because you're not rich.
posted by klangklangston at 9:48 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who notice that it raises their taxes are going to hate it. Fiscal conservatives are going to hate it.abolishing healthcare reform would raise the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years."

You know who said that? The head of the Congressional Budget Office. He's Doug Elmendorf, a Republican appointed by John Boehner. He used to work for Reagan.

This debate doesn't work unless the facts are in it.

Defining any benefit derived from service (of any sort) to the government as "taxpayer-funded aid" is pretty disingenuous.

Why, exactly? Is it funded by the taxpayers? Yes. Therefore it is taxpayer funded. It has an impact on the federal budget. If it goes up or down, the cost to the taxpayer goes up or down.

Please explain how it is not tax-payer funded and why it isn't truthful to call it that.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:54 AM on September 26, 2013


Etrigan: " Defining any benefit derived from service (of any sort) to the government as "taxpayer-funded aid" is pretty disingenuous."

I think most of us would agree that we as taxpayers have an obligation to provide care for service members while they're serving, and to care for any health problems resulting directly from their service.

Those of us who favor socialized medicine (and, apparently, some people who favor socialized medicine as long as it benefits them) also, for for the most part, think that it's worth continuing to provide coverage long after the service members retire, and even for health conditions not related to their service.

The former is something that, like you, I wouldn't put into the category of "taxpayer-funded aid." I'd call it a basic obligation to those who serve. The latter, which I totally support, is definitely in the category of "taxpayer-funded aid." We've fulfilled our basic obligation, but we think veterans deserve extra.

You seem to be implying there's something special about working or "the government" that makes veterans' entitlement to benefits stronger than someone else's. If so, what about civilian government workers?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:55 AM on September 26, 2013


Put another way, Tricare applies to a lot of people who did not enter the millitary when it existed, so it cannot be "for service" in the sense that it was an expected payout for serving. Contrast this with US Government personnel, everyone of which knows which post-service plan they are on because it is defined by statute.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:57 AM on September 26, 2013


Defining any benefit derived from service (of any sort) to the government as "taxpayer-funded aid" is pretty disingenuous.

Why, exactly? Is it funded by the taxpayers? Yes. Therefore it is taxpayer funded. It has an impact on the federal budget. If it goes up or down, the cost to the taxpayer goes up or down.

Please explain how it is not tax-payer funded and why it isn't truthful to call it that.


I'd love to, if you can point out where I called it untruthful. "Aid" is not typically a word that is applied to salaries or other benefits associated with performance of a job.
posted by Etrigan at 9:57 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those of us who favor socialized medicine (and, apparently, some people who favor socialized medicine as long as it benefits them) also, for for the most part, think that it's worth continuing to provide coverage long after the service members retire, and even for health conditions not related to their service.

The former is something that, like you, I wouldn't put into the category of "taxpayer-funded aid." I'd call it a basic obligation to those who serve. The latter, which I totally support, is definitely in the category of "taxpayer-funded aid." We've fulfilled our basic obligation, but we think veterans deserve extra.


That "extra" was a defined benefit during their service -- "health care for life" is a major draw for recruiters. It's "taxpayer-funded aid" in the same way that any pension or other deferred benefit is.

You seem to be implying there's something special about working or "the government" that makes veterans' entitlement to benefits stronger than someone else's.

I'm not implying that at all, and I apologize if anyone inferred it. I was attempting to point out that if we're going to call deferred benefits "taxpayer-funded aid" for service members, then we're essentially lumping salaries (military or civilian) into "taxpayer-funded aid" as well. Calling any of these "totally the same as Medicare" because they're all paid by the government is ridiculous.
posted by Etrigan at 10:04 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd love to, if you can point out where I called it untruthful. "Aid" is not typically a word that is applied to salaries or other benefits associated with performance of a job.

dis·in·gen·u·ous
ˌdisinˈjenyo͞oəs/Submit
adjective
1.
not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.
synonyms: insincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious;

It means untruthful. Look it up.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:05 AM on September 26, 2013


It also means "not candid or sincere" and "deceitful," none of which is actually "untruthful." If you candidly or sincerely believe that the salary of government workers is "taxpayer-funded aid," then we are functioning on entirely different levels and will never come to an agreement.
posted by Etrigan at 10:09 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: " It's "taxpayer-funded aid" in the same way that any pension or other deferred benefit is."

A pension or deferred benefit is only taxpayer-funded for public sector employees. There are federal backstops behind some private sector pension plans, but they're a lot more limited than defined-benefit plans for service members.

Would expanding Tricare to civilian government employees be taxpayer-funded aid in the same way that Tricare itself is today?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:09 AM on September 26, 2013


Just because use of the phrase "taxpayer-funded aid" is disengenuous doesn't mean it's the words "taxpayer-funded" that make it so.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:09 AM on September 26, 2013


Etrigan: " It's "taxpayer-funded aid" in the same way that any pension or other deferred benefit is."

A pension or deferred benefit is only taxpayer-funded for public sector employees.


Hence my use of the word "government" the first time, which you seemed to get hung up on. I apologize yet again for not making it totally clear in every sentence of my follow-up that I was talking about public sector employees.

Would expanding Tricare to civilian government employees be taxpayer-funded aid in the same way that Tricare itself is today?

If by "in the same way that Tricare itself is today," you mean "if you think of any pension or other deferred benefit for public sector employees 'taxpayer-funded aid,'" then yes.
posted by Etrigan at 10:15 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: " If by "in the same way that Tricare itself is today," you mean "if you think of any pension or other deferred benefit for public sector employees 'taxpayer-funded aid,'" then yes."

Tricare today is a program that covers service members for life at deeply-discounted, taxpayer-subsidized rates. I favor this, and want it to continue, but it's definitely in the "taxpayer-funded" category, and it's definitely in the "aid" category. There is nothing disingenuous about calling it what it is.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:24 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd love to, if you can point out where I called it untruthful. "Aid" is not typically a word that is applied to salaries or other benefits associated with performance of a job.

Well, typically, "aid" is a word that is often applied by some of certain political stripes (not necessarily you, here, to be clear, but to me it does have a dog-whistle quality in some contexts) as a way to signal that those benefits are somehow undeserved.

Would it be better if we called Tricare "taxpayer-funded benefits"? That's what they are. Like salaries, pensions, and retiree healthcare of non-military public-sector employees. Veterans and their non-serving family members are eligible for healthcare that is available at a steep discount from open-market rates, and those discounts are because of taxpayer funding. I don't think that's wrong or bad. I just wish more people than those willing or able to join the military were eligible for similar benefits.
posted by rtha at 11:13 AM on September 26, 2013


Yes, I recognize that it's not out of line for most people and it's a much lower premium than some - but at the same time, a lot of the reason many people in the military stayed to retirement was because of the pension plan.

I think the sticking point you're seeing here is that most people don't understand how generous military retirement pensions are, or how high pay packages are (at least for officers, and once you include the pay that isn't "pay"). If that colonel who might have to pay $2400 just retired at 45, he or she is getting a pension of about $54K/year, along with most of the benefits that active-duty servicemembers get (ie health care and cheap shit at the commissary and BX/PX if they live near a base).

Which isn't to say that they should be lower -- another thing Average Joe is unlikely to get is the degree of responsibility associated with those jobs, or how few people there are O-5 and up, or how few people in the military actually serve their 20, and people should get what they contracted for -- but seeing the numbers can shock people.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:14 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Put another way, Tricare applies to a lot of people who did not enter the millitary when it existed, so it cannot be "for service" in the sense that it was an expected payout for serving.

That's pretty disingenuous, Ironmouth, since those people had CHAMPUS as an expected retirement benefit. Except for the few older-than-dirt people who entered the military in the 1940s or 1950s.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:19 PM on September 26, 2013


Argh. "CHAMPUS or just getting treated on base."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:22 PM on September 26, 2013


Defining any benefit derived from service (of any sort) to the government as "taxpayer-funded aid" is pretty disingenuous.

Given that the topic at hand was healthcare, "aid" seemed to be apropos, but since it sticks in your craw so much, say "benefit" or "payment." It doesn't change the larger point at all, which is that as a publicly-administered, publicly-subsidized healthcare plan, there's no difference between Tricare and Medicare and no grounds to condemn one and praise the other in the very same breath.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:40 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, as near as I can tell Obama had Kenyan citizenship upon Kenyan independence, and then lost it later.

Did you just "well-actually" me? Jesus.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:22 PM on September 26, 2013


More "Isn't it kinda funny that Obama may actually have been a Kenyan citizen, at least for a while, even though he was totally born in Hawaii?" But hey, feel free to get super pissed off about it if that's your thing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:35 PM on September 26, 2013


ROU_Xenophobe: "Obama has imagined foreign citizenship.

Actually, as near as I can tell Obama had Kenyan citizenship upon Kenyan independence, and then lost it later.
"

Any discussion of Obama's supposed Kenyan citizenship should be prefaced with a statement that "I'm about to say something so ridiculously irrelevant that people might as well ignore what I have to say."
posted by IAmBroom at 1:52 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Put another way, Tricare applies to a lot of people who did not enter the millitary when it existed, so it cannot be "for service" in the sense that it was an expected payout for serving.

That's pretty disingenuous, Ironmouth, since those people had CHAMPUS as an expected retirement benefit. Except for the few older-than-dirt people who entered the military in the 1940s or 1950s.


few? Try at minimum 1,462,809. Not including persons in the military between 1941 and 1956 when CHAMPUS was passed.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:01 PM on September 26, 2013


Sorry, I meant to say 1946-56. So its 1.5 million plus all persons entering the military between Aug, 1945 and 1956.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:04 PM on September 26, 2013


re: Was Karl Marx a Satanist?

This is apparently the Spanish translation of Marx & Satan by Richard Wurmbrand. (In Wurmbrand's defense, he was imprisoned and tortured multiple times by the Communist regime in Romania, which may explain his antipathy to Marx...)
posted by dhens at 2:34 PM on September 26, 2013


So its 1.5 million plus all persons entering the military between Aug, 1945 and 1956.

No, it's whatever small fraction of those people served 20 years and retired instead of being discharged.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:33 PM on September 26, 2013


Wow. McCain. Calling out own party, saying we lost the election.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:15 PM on September 26, 2013


It doesn't change the larger point at all, which is that as a publicly-administered, publicly-subsidized healthcare plan, there's no difference between Tricare and Medicare and no grounds to condemn one and praise the other in the very same breath.

One is a pension plan you choose through service - and "publicly-subsidized" is definitely a dog whistle if there ever were one. Do you call other people's pensions "employer-subsidized"? Or is it something they earned?

Medicare can, for some people, be something they earned through working, and thus you could call it a form of a pension plan - but it is certainly not always. Anyone over 65 has some Medicare eligibility, whether they worked a day in their life or not. Some people under 65 have automatic Medicare eligibility, whether they worked a day in their life or not, simply for having certain diseases. It's the same with Social Security, which provides SSI for people who have never worked, because these are not pension plans, but aid plans. And that's not even going into Medicaid.

People like Gov. Scott Walker, in their attacks on public unions, are very much telling people who bought in to pensions and deferred cash for retirement benefits that they will take a haircut and get less.

That's generally not actually true - generally, when people talk about changing plans, they mean either for employees who have not yet retired, or for people who are not employees yet. And wanting to get unions out of government jobs may be viewed positively or negatively, but it doesn't necessitate contract breaking.
posted by corb at 5:51 AM on September 27, 2013


People like Gov. Scott Walker, in their attacks on public unions, are very much telling people who bought in to pensions and deferred cash for retirement benefits that they will take a haircut and get less.

That's generally not actually true - generally, when people talk about changing plans, they mean either for employees who have not yet retired, or for people who are not employees yet.


Its not a haircut to be working for a period of time and for them to change your benefits? Weren't you just complaining that Obamacare was doing that to your highly subsidized plan in this thread?
posted by Ironmouth at 5:55 AM on September 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do you call other people's pensions "employer-subsidized"?

I would if the pensions were subsidized by their employer. Are you telling me that the US military health care system is not publicly subsidized?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:16 AM on September 27, 2013


corb: " One is a pension plan you choose through service - and "publicly-subsidized" is definitely a dog whistle if there ever were one. Do you call other people's pensions "employer-subsidized"? Or is it something they earned?"

The term "dog whistle" implies that the term is used deceptively, but I see public subsidy as a good thing, and it looks to me like others using the term to describe both Medicare and Tricare see things the same way. Where's the deception?

Unless you have a magic formula to constrain rapidly-rising healthcare provider costs, your premiums would be going up under any program -- Tricare, Medicare, other public sector program, private sector, whatever. If premiums were held constant, the cost to the taxpayer would go up. Someone has to pay the bill -- this isn't rocket science.

People like me don't want your Tricare premiums to go up, but unfortunately, many of your "small government" fellow travelers do, because doing so reduces the size of the public sector. You can keep trying to split hairs about why it is you support this particular brand of socialism when its benefits redound to you, but you're going to have to do better than accusing others who are basically shouting from the rooftops "PLEASE MAKE GOVERNMENT BIGGER" of "dog whistling" about publicly-subsidized programs.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:11 AM on September 27, 2013


Do you call other people's pensions "employer-subsidized"?

Dunno I've every heard the term applied to pensions specifically, but health care plans? Hell yes. "Employer-subsidized" and "employer-sponsored" are terms I hear most commonly. If it makes you feel better to call Tricare "employer-subsidized" go right ahead. But don't be surprised when people point out that those subsidies are via the taxpayer.

And some googling tells me that there are in fact a lot of places - investment firms and the like, as well as public policy organizations - that call pensions that are subsidized by employers "employer sponsored/subsidized retirement plans." So now we know.
posted by rtha at 10:14 AM on September 27, 2013


Do you call other people's pensions "employer-subsidized"?

The better question is whether anyone calls them "investor-subsidized" or "customer-subsidized."
posted by Etrigan at 10:18 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you call other people's pensions "employer-subsidized"?

The better question is whether anyone calls them "investor-subsidized" or "customer-subsidized."


As if no benefit inures to the company to pay to have its workers healthy and on the job.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:34 AM on September 27, 2013


Do you call other people's pensions "employer-subsidized"?

The better question is whether anyone calls them "investor-subsidized" or "customer-subsidized."

As if no benefit inures to the company to pay to have its workers healthy and on the job.


What does that have to do with pensions?
posted by Etrigan at 12:04 PM on September 27, 2013


Student Cited By Ted Cruz As Proof Of Obama's Failure Is Actually Grateful For Obamacare
Connelly isn't the biggest fan of Cruz. What's more, he is actually a beneficiary of the very health care law that Cruz was protesting during his speech. And in an appearance on MSNBC Friday morning, Connelly explained just how ironic it was that the senator would use his story to bludgeon the president and the Affordable Care Act.

"A friend of mine called me the next morning as I was on the way to an optometrist appointment .... [and said], 'While Ted Cruz was talking about why the ACA's bad, he mentioned your name.' And I said, 'Well, that's funny. I'm heading to an appointment I can only go to because of Obamacare.'"

Cruz had apparently gotten Connelly's story from a recent Wall Street Journal article that focused primarily on student debt, not on health care reform.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:23 PM on September 27, 2013


Etrigan: " The better question is whether anyone calls them "investor-subsidized" or "customer-subsidized.""

What is it that you're trying to prove with this relentless line of grammar lawyering? The conversation isn't being helped by these vague insinuations of bad faith. If you think someone is using the term in a loaded, dog-whistle-y way, then say so, so we can have the debate with all of our cards on the table, instead of having each description of each type of taxpayer subsidy questioned because it doesn't meet your precise definition, or because you think someone else was using the words in a loaded way that you don't agree with.

On the substance of Medicare/Tricare/Obamacare, etc. I think the focus on whether benefits were promised as part of an employer/employee relationship is a red herring. Let me explain why.

Employees, whether they work in the public or private sector, make decisions on their employment choices based on (a) the cash compensation, (b) a menu of non-cash benefits available to them at the time they join, and (c) squishier attributes like the type of work, how personally fulfilling it is to them, etc. Let's leave (c) alone for now, and just focus on cash vs. non-cash compensation, with retirement/pension benefits falling into the latter category, even though they may at some point in the future become cash.

Taking non-cash benefits in lieu of salary results from a cost/benefit analysis for both employer and employee, with the employer often preferring to pay in benefits rather than cash for reasons having to do with the tax code treatment of cash versus benefits compensation, the possibility that they'll never really have to pay out those pensions in the future, etc. Likewise, employees are often willing to forego, say, $1,000 in compensation to get benefits that only cost the employer $700, because the employee would have to pay much more to get insurance on the open market, or would not get the tax advantages of a 401k/403b plan, etc.

The key insights here are:
1. Both parties are looking to gain an advantage from the taxpayer, and in most situations, they both come out ahead (at least in the short to medium term, which is about as far as either party looks into the future in making these decisions) compared to if employment was a cash-only arrangement.
2. Shrinking the size of the private sector will put downward pressure on the generosity of these non-cash benefits that accrue to both parties. To be for "small government" and want specific forms of subsidy to be expanded (especially when the product being purchased with that subsidy is increasing in cost) is the height of hypocrisy.

In any event, whether we're talking about employment in the public or private sector, we're dealing with a very fluid, multivariate situation, where federal policy changes can make decisions that were very good ideas at the time suddenly become very bad decisions. Pension plans get watered down, health benefits start covering less and charging more in premiums, etc. These kind of changes can happen at any time, and they create winners and losers.

Now, enter the prospective service member. Suddenly, the "employer" is Uncle Sam himself, and boy howdy, does Comrade Sam take care of his employees! The cash compensation is generally terrible compared to contractors working on the same jobs, but the lifetime healthcare, education, pension, and other non-cash benefits have historically compared favorably to anything available in the private sector, all other things being equal.

There are historical factors for why the military compensation mix skews toward the non-cash side, but from a normative standpoint, should it be so? Well, we know that putting a large number of people in front of enemy fire is going to make providing healthcare for them more expensive, and this problem only gets worse as we've gotten better at turning fallen warriors into wounded warriors. I think everyone realizes that letting service members sink or swim in the public health insurance market is not in the best interests of anyone involved, so it makes sense to have the taxpayers on the hook to care for active duty service members, veterans, etc. for all medical care resulting from their service to the country. If you're out there serving us, you should never want for medical care pertaining to that service.

This should, in my opinion be non-negotiable, and permanent -- never something that can be taken or traded away in exchange for other kinds of compensation, though I'm sure some of the libertarian persuasion would disagree, on the basis that someone who can get what they think is a better deal should be free to do so, and not be restricted by the government's monopoly ownership of the armed forces. Nonetheless, I suspect there's pretty wide (perhaps unanimous?) agreement around the table here that this level of benefits -- which I will refer to as "Level 1" benefits here -- is a good thing, and that veterans earned these benefits by doing dangerous and difficult jobs. So let's take that as a given.

Beyond care for injuries directly related to the performance of the job, we taxpayers also provide a generous lifetime subsidy for the veteran's healthcare, above and beyond that required to care for medical conditions resulting from their dangerous line of work. There are many obvious reasons why this extra level of subsidy (which I'll call "Level 2" benefits) makes sense from a macro perspective, starting with the fact that the judgement of what falls under "work-related" isn't always rendered properly, sometimes due to stinginess on the part of the guarantor, sometimes due to the inherently fuzzy nature of finding the root causes of medical conditions, and sometimes because of "fog of war" circumstances where someone may not be able to prove that they were exposed to harm (e.g. agent orange, Gulf War Syndrome, etc.) Probably a combination of all of these, really, and probably some other factors I'm not considering.

It's this second category where I think the benefits go from "non-negotiable basic responsibility of the taxpayers" to the kind of thing where we have to, through public policy, arrive at an agreement on the correct size and scope of that subsidy. I strongly believe that it's important to fund this category of benefits generously, but on the question of whether they're benefits that the veterans have "earned" by virtue of the nature of their work, I would say no. Because, really, if you start making arguments based on who "dodged bullets" for a public subsidy versus who didn't, that opens up the discussion for whether soldier A dodged more bullets than soldier B, and therefore deserves a more generous subsidy. Should today's drone pilots in Utah get the same subsidy as airmen who few missions over Iraq in Desert Storm?

That way lies madness -- we don't dare get into these distinctions. Instead, I think we've decide that there is something special about military service that entitles veterans to get a baseline level of subsidy from the taxpayers for their lifetime healthcare costs, not just coverage for their work-related injuries. One might even call it an entitlement -- that word's been hijacked by the right wing so that it has an almost exclusively pejorative connotation, but, really, we're no longer talking about anything that was strictly earned in the sense that some are using it here.

Instead, we're back to that employer/employee cost/benefit analysis, where the generous benefits (compared to those available at other jobs they might qualify for) were part of the employee's decision to join. Yes, the service member "earned" them in the sense that they accepted them in lieu of cash, but so to do many other public and private sector workers, and those benefits are rarely considered sacrosanct in the way that some are trying to characterize this same type of subsidy to service members.

This is why I've been trying to defend the use of the phrase "taxpayer-funded aid." Nobody's talking about taking away any care for the veterans for anything resulting from their service, and, furthermore, nobody is suggesting that we stop subsidizing the extra level of benefits we've historically given them. But I strongly disagree with the notion that all public subsidy given to service members must automatically be given a higher priority than subsidies we give to people in other categories. Above a certain level (we can argue over what that level is), extra generosity toward veterans is no more beneficial to society and no more inherently virtuous than extra generosity toward the indigent or the elderly. You can't just answer the question of why your aid should be considered above other types of aid with "I dodged bullets."


There is, of course, a fly in the ointment of the military/employer analogy, that of conscription. The U.S. Military is unique among employers in its ability to, under what are supposed to be rare and exigent circumstances, "hire" employees against their will. The calculus for people who weren't given a free choice to take a different job is obviously quite different, and I think this is evidence that we ought to err on the side of caution and make sure that these Level 2 benefits are particularly generous.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:30 PM on September 27, 2013


CBS: Addressing an Austin conference via video feed Friday evening, Cruz said he hoped there wouldn't be a government shutdown. He said he hadn't given much thought to what effect it could have on his Senate pay.

But when pressed he said he "had no intention" of giving up his paycheck.

posted by Drinky Die at 7:52 PM on September 27, 2013


Now, enter the prospective service member. Suddenly, the "employer" is Uncle Sam himself, and boy howdy, does Comrade Sam take care of his employees! The cash compensation is generally terrible compared to contractors working on the same jobs, but the lifetime healthcare, education, pension, and other non-cash benefits have historically compared favorably to anything available in the private sector, all other things being equal.

So I read your entire comment, and one thing that became abundantly clear to me pretty early in is that most people, not just you, have no real idea about how military and veteran pay, benefits, and healthcare, actually work - which may actually explain why there's such a disconnect.

You talked about how many employers do a cost-benefit analysis in terms of whether to offer generous benefits later or generous pay now, and you're absolutely right - but it is important to note that the US military is no exception. It offers extremely generous pension benefits - but most people are not able to stay long enough to receive that pension. So it's something people are lured by, but they generally don't have to pay out for.

Veterans do not generally get free health care for life. Veterans that meet a variety of categories usually get free health care for life, but they must meet those categories and get their health care only from one provider - the government.

You do note one thing that actually is impacting the costs in a way not previously anticipated - and that's the "fallen warriors into wounded warriors" thing. No one anticipated the kind of medical techniques that are available now - that are being developed specifically because of the war. No one anticipated that a lot of the current veterans getting care would live. And no one anticipated that the veterans would start living so long. Being in the military really breaks down your body in various and sundry ways that used to mean a comparatively short life - but do no longer.

The other factor you correctly allude to is that government is under far less pressure to be profitable than your average company. They want to save money, because it makes them look good, but it's not viewed as necessary in the same way.
posted by corb at 3:51 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those would be reasonable objections, had I said or implied that any particular number of veterans stay long enough to get their pensions, or that they get "free health care for life."

Read my comment again, and if you want me to take your objections seriously, please point out where I said any of these things. Thanks.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2013


Actually, let me take my last comment back -- those wouldn't even be reasonable objections against your straw man of what I said. I'll explain:

corb: "You talked about how many employers do a cost-benefit analysis in terms of whether to offer generous benefits later or generous pay now, and you're absolutely right - but it is important to note that the US military is no exception. It offers extremely generous pension benefits - but most people are not able to stay long enough to receive that pension. So it's something people are lured by, but they generally don't have to pay out for."

Considering that I was making a direct comparison between private sector employees and the military, I'm not sure how you saying that "the US military is no exception" in any way undermines my point. That was my point -- the military, like any employer, tries to recruit its employees in part based on the promise of future benefits, and the employees must weigh their options knowing that benefits that may seem generous now might not actually be as generous as they think. If someone enlists in part because they hope they get a pension, it's their responsibility to know that they won't get one unless they serve 20 years, and I frankly don't think there are a lot of enlisted men and women out there thinking they'll get a massive pension just because they do a 4-6 year enlistment. Certainly none of my friends/family in the military would ever think that.

corb: " Veterans do not generally get free health care for life. Veterans that meet a variety of categories usually get free health care for life, but they must meet those categories and get their health care only from one provider - the government. "

To reiterate: I never said veterans get free health care for life. I said they get lifetime health benefits, which as I explained, means a generous subsidy, not complementary care.

corb: "No one anticipated that a lot of the current veterans getting care would live. And no one anticipated that the veterans would start living so long. Being in the military really breaks down your body in various and sundry ways that used to mean a comparatively short life - but do no longer."

We agree on this -- it's more expensive to care for veterans now because they're living longer. Do we also agree that the only correct response is to increase funding to care for those injuries?

corb: " The other factor you correctly allude to is that government is under far less pressure to be profitable than your average company. They want to save money, because it makes them look good, but it's not viewed as necessary in the same way."

Where did I allude to this, and what does it have to do with anything we're talking about here? A profit motive has never led to good outcomes in healthcare. It's preposterous to think that asking people to shop around for the best deal when they're sick is a good idea.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:36 AM on September 28, 2013


It is a mistake for Obama to propose changes to Tricare, but it wouldn't be the first time Obama made the mistake of adopting Republican promoted cost-cutting measures for benefits. These Tricare cuts have been heavily promoted by the American Enterprise Institute. And it wouldn't be the first time Republicans tried to cut military benefits. For example Dick Cheney advocated drastically cutting GI bill benefits because he said it made it too easy for military personnel to leave.

I'm not sure why you dragged Tricare into the the ACA discussion since they have nothing to do with each other. The ACA was passed in 2010. The proposed changes to Tricare have not even been passed by Congress. They are part of paring back the military budget and part of Republican deficit-cutting. Republicans have never hesitated to cut spending on personnel. They just don't want spending cut on their military-industrial hardware patrons.

This idea that Obama is trying to force the military onto the ACA exchanges is pure nutbaggery. Tricare will always be significantly cheaper than the exchanges even if the proposals are adopted.

>I'm going to hate the ACA, personally, because it raises, rather than lowers, my premiums.

>The Obama administration is trying to raise my insurance premiums [Tricare] an additional 345% because of the ACA.


Something isn't right here. Either you are in the private insurance market subject to the ACA exchanges or you are a 20-year military retired person under Tricare. You can't be both. Which is it?

The Tricare article you linked is typical right-wing fear-mongering and has most of the facts wrong.

For example, the numbers cited only apply to Tricare Prime, the most expensive option for Tricare. Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra will still be essentially free, with the annual fee rising to a maximum of $125 for an individual and $250 for a family in 2018.

And the number cited for the retired colonel is wrong. The maximum Tricare Prime annual fee for a family will be capped at $750 in 2014 and gradually rising to $1226 in 2018, not the $2048 in the article. And that increase is only for a retired colonel. A retired E8 would see a much smaller increase.

These are only proposals. They haven't been implemented yet.

And again, what does Tricare have to do with the ACA?
posted by JackFlash at 1:37 PM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


What is it that you're trying to prove with this relentless line of grammar lawyering? The conversation isn't being helped by these vague insinuations of bad faith. If you think someone is using the term in a loaded, dog-whistle-y way, then say so, so we can have the debate with all of our cards on the table, instead of having each description of each type of taxpayer subsidy questioned because it doesn't meet your precise definition, or because you think someone else was using the words in a loaded way that you don't agree with.

Okay, I'll make it more obvious: calling post-service health care "taxpayer-funded aid" and saying it is "totally the same as Medicare" is ridiculous.

I'm not saying this because I disapprove of Medicare or think that Tricare (or the entire idea of post-service health care benefits) is morally superior to it -- frankly, I'm about 90 percent in agreement with the idea that we should just make Medicare available to everyone. But it's still ridiculous to pretend that Tricare is "totally the same as Medicare."

I object to the use of a phrase that's clearly an attempt to make Tricare sound less like a deferred benefit, which is what it is for the vast majority of people who use it. That is a loaded, dog-whistle-y, bad faith attempt to win a "Gotcha!", just like your relentless line of "It's socialism, therefore you have to hate it! You're being intellectually inconsistent! Hypocrite! Hyyypocriiite!"
posted by Etrigan at 3:37 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The argument being put forth is that (a) Tricare premiums are going up because Obama, and (b) that's unacceptable, because service members earned their benefits.

Leaving aside that the factual case for (a) is exceedingly weak, the issue at hand is not whether Tricare is a deferred benefit (of course it is) but whether service members have some unique, special claim to having "earned" their deferred benefit that others do not have, such that it's unacceptable to weaken Tricare, while it's totally okay to weaken other taxpayer-funded subsidies and benefits.

Serving in the armed forces gives you a valid claim to benefits in the future, but not any more valid a claim than seniors have for Medicare, or than the uninsured have for their subsidies under Obamacare. Calling one taxpayer-funded subsidy "aid" and another "deferred benefits" without a valid justification absolutely is hypocritical, and there is no bad faith at all involved in pointing that out.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:54 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, so he spent 21 hours pretend filibustering and then voted for the thing he was speaking against? The mind boggles.

What an epic walkdown. Bet you the Senate bill sails through the House.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:59 PM on September 25 [+] [!]

Don't worry, they will schedule an Obamacare defunding vote before and after to soften the blow.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:05 PM on September 25 [+] [!]


Ironmouth, we need to stop making the mistake of assuming Republican grasp of sound politics and sanity.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:09 PM on September 28, 2013


The last government shutdowns (under Clinton) cost the taxpayers around a billion dollars, just to stop and start the machinery of government. The Republicans have been saying they're fighting to save money in the long term, but then they go and stick a "conscience clause" provision that has nothing to do with spending into the bill.

We already know Boehner lost control a long time ago, but I don't even think the Tea Party faction has a game plan at this point. If they really wanted to make this a big showy "we're fighting for John Q. Taxpayer" stunt, there wouldn't be all of these open-mikers chucking in Christmas wishes.

The only explanation, of course, is politics, but I don't know that this "standing athwart history yelling 'STOP'" business is going to resonate with voters anymore -- it seems so 2010 to me. Even voters who really do believe in restraining spending have to be looking at these buffoons and wondering if the blue team has any better ideas.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:28 PM on September 28, 2013


I don't know that this "standing athwart history yelling 'STOP'" business is going to resonate with voters anymore

Someone on my twitter stream posted a graphic in the last couple of days showing where these tea partiers all are and what portion of the electorate they represent numberwise (about 18%). The gerrymandering of congressional districts into extreme safe seats means that, given their locations, they're in safe seats and (sadly) probably actually reflecting the wishes of their constituents by behaving this way.
posted by immlass at 11:06 PM on September 28, 2013


I should be clear -- I get why the TPers themselves are doing it, but I don't understand why the rank-and-file GOP is going along. In the event of a shutdown, a lot of them will have to go back to purple districts and explain why some of their constituents are being furloughed, losing factory orders from federal spending projects, etc.

I know Boehner would have lost his gavel if he'd let let the Democrats in on a "clean" spending bill, but I can't imagine he's having any fun helming the U.S.S. Wackadoo these days, and given the ugly record of recent GOP speakers, going down fighting to keep the party out of the wilderness for decades doesn't sound like a bad ending to me.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:20 PM on September 28, 2013


In a Republican primary, just about anywhere can become Tea Party land.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:22 PM on September 28, 2013


Calling one taxpayer-funded subsidy "aid" and another "deferred benefits" without a valid justification absolutely is hypocritical, and there is no bad faith at all involved in pointing that out.

For the record, I'm not arguing anything else that you said above this line (in that comment, at least) -- my issue is with trying to define Tricare as "aid" that is "totally the same as Medicare." I'm not drawing a moral argument, merely pointing out that if you're defining Tricare as "aid," then you're essentially including salaries in "aid" as well. I think it's disingenuous to label Tricare as functionally identical to Medicare just so you can continue your "Socialism for me but not for thee" line of debate. The two things are different -- that doesn't mean that one must be morally inferior to the other.
posted by Etrigan at 11:31 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: "my issue is with trying to define Tricare as "aid" that is "totally the same as Medicare.""

Well then you'd be well-served to note that I never used that phrasing, which was corb's originally. I simply responded to her asking what distinguishes the two programs. This of course implies that I believe they have a lot in common, but in no way suggests that I believe they're exactly the same, or even functionally identical.

I do, however, very much believe this is a textbook case of "socialism for me but not for thee", and I don't need to show that the programs are identical to demonstrate that. It's enough to show that the claimed differences aren't a reasonable answer to the question of why certain uses of government funds to cover health benefits are sacrosanct, but others must be eliminated.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:05 AM on September 29, 2013


"my issue is with trying to define Tricare as "aid" that is "totally the same as Medicare.""

Well then you'd be well-served to note that I never used that phrasing, which was corb's originally.


And you'd be well-served to note that I am not the one who's calling you out by name half a dozen times in this thread, specifically defending the usage that I have a problem with -- a usage whose original poster in this thread immediately backed away from.

It's enough to show that the claimed differences aren't a reasonable answer to the question of why certain uses of government funds to cover health benefits are sacrosanct, but others must be eliminated.

Which, for the third time now, I am not doing. But my specifically pointing that out hasn't yet managed to keep you from posting many times as many words returning to that point that you spend addressing anything I actually bring up, so I await your next explanation of why Tricare isn't any morally better than Medicare -- a point with which I agree.
posted by Etrigan at 5:03 AM on September 29, 2013


I should be clear -- I get why the TPers themselves are doing it, but I don't understand why the rank-and-file GOP is going along.

Because the Tea Partiers are the most active and noisy faction of the party. If you piss them off, they'll primary you and replace you with one of their own. Opposing them with any but the most honeyed and careful words is political suicide for elected Republicans right now.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:27 AM on September 29, 2013


If you piss them off, they'll primary you and replace you with one of their own.

Agreed. I'm from Texas and everybody on the R side of the aisle seems Tea Partier than thou except John Cornyn, and he's getting primaried, probably by Louie Gohmert or one of Ron Paul's other sons. And it'll be a walk, most likely, since we don't even have a Dem lined up yet (Wendy Davis is certainly running for Governor, and Bill White apparently begged off). When Big John starts looking good, you know the crazy train is off the rails.

But then you think about David Dewhurst vs Ted Cruz, where Cruz whipped Dewhurst for not being crazy enough, and you can see why they're all running scared.
posted by immlass at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2013


Etrigan: " And you'd be well-served to note that I am not the one who's calling you out by name half a dozen times in this thread, specifically defending the usage that I have a problem with -- a usage whose original poster in this thread immediately backed away from."

You might not be calling me out by name, but you did accuse me of trying to use a particular phrasing to score points. I take that allegation seriously.

Let me go back to one of your earlier comments to see if we can get this back on the rails:

I'm not implying that at all, and I apologize if anyone inferred it. I was attempting to point out that if we're going to call deferred benefits "taxpayer-funded aid" for service members, then we're essentially lumping salaries (military or civilian) into "taxpayer-funded aid" as well. Calling any of these "totally the same as Medicare" because they're all paid by the government is ridiculous.

Here, you are switching back and forth between the two phrasings you don't like: "taxpayer-funded aid" and "totally the same as Medicare." Later, you'd go on (in a response to me) to say that:

I think it's disingenuous to label Tricare as functionally identical to Medicare just so you can continue your "Socialism for me but not for thee" line of debate

Do you see why I might start to get the wrong idea about what you're trying to say, and to whom? You've now connected me (the guy who made the now-deleted "Socialism for me but not for thee" comment) to the argument that the two are the same.

It's enough to show that the claimed differences aren't a reasonable answer to the question of why certain uses of government funds to cover health benefits are sacrosanct, but others must be eliminated.
...
Which, for the third time now, I am not doing. But my specifically pointing that out..


You're not making that argument, but you went after me for making a counter-argument to it. ("just so you can continue your "Socialism for me but not for thee" line of debate.") If you're going to make very nuanced arguments against specific phrasing, and then connect those arguments to other arguments made by other people, I don't think you can blame the respondent for defending against both arguments in their response to you.

I totally understand (and have since you first said it) that you agree on the substance of the two programs being on equal moral footing, but you can't blame me for wanting to refute the other arguments you brought into the conversation by way of a deleted comment I made way up-thread.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:17 AM on September 29, 2013


Pope Guilty: " Because the Tea Partiers are the most active and noisy faction of the party. If you piss them off, they'll primary you and replace you with one of their own. Opposing them with any but the most honeyed and careful words is political suicide for elected Republicans right now."

I get this, but the establishment coin (Koch Brothers, etc.) has only been behind them because they've been politically useful, and there's strong evidence in these numerous hostage incidents that they aren't anymore.

I'm not saying I expect the GOP big money boys to stop funding insurgent candidates, but I did expect them to start modulating the message a bit more heading into the mid-terms. I know the gerrymandering gives them a natural advantage (I would be *stunned* if the Democrats hold the house gavel before 2022) but at some point, some of these candidates in purple-ish districts are going to get dragged down by these challenges from the far-right.

I think that's why we're seeing a lot of top Republicans distancing themselves from Ted Cruz. Rand Paul seems to have a better sense of timing on these things -- he knows when to make a Tea Party style attack, but he also knows when to stay mum to not get in the way of the party's message.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:32 AM on September 29, 2013


You Can have Obamacare, or You can have Cruzcare
posted by homunculus at 3:31 PM on September 29, 2013


And again, what does Tricare have to do with the ACA?

Tricare has to do with the ACA insofar as various staffers have talked about how the Obama administration wants to make Tricare more costly in order to force retirees out of it onto the exchanges. You dismiss the idea as "nutbaggery", but there have been numerous instances when aides and other sources have stated that Obama wants Tricare to be more in line with more expensive private insurance.

On a sidenote, I'm not sure how you have Tricare Prime as the most expensive - Tricare Standard has extremely high co-pays if you were actually going to be using it.
posted by corb at 6:23 AM on October 1, 2013


Link to 12-page PDF from the Congressional Research Service about the effects of the ACA on TRICARE.

It does not address the allegations of unknown people who are claiming that these unnamed staffers (White House staffers? Hill staffers? VA staffers?). I'm willing to at least consider that it might could be nutbaggery since we don't have any idea who these staffers are, who is claiming that these unknown staffers are saying this, and so on. It's not as if it would be weird for Obama/Obamacare haters to just flat out make shit up - that's been the norm since day one. Remember death panels? Nutbaggery is par for the course.
posted by rtha at 6:37 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tricare has to do with the ACA insofar as various staffers have talked about how the Obama administration wants to make Tricare more costly in order to force retirees out of it onto the exchanges. You dismiss the idea as "nutbaggery", but there have been numerous instances when aides and other sources have stated that Obama wants Tricare to be more in line with more expensive private insurance.

The idea is dismissed as "nutbaggery" because the only definitive source we have is a Congressman who actually is a nutbag. Everything else is from unnamed Congressional aides with an obvious grudge on, reported in a paper run by William Kristol's son-in-law and a history of being lax on the facts if not outright lying.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:42 AM on October 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


A little amusing (I hope) thing: Part of my job involves going through emails from one of our Contact Us links and forwarding them on to the appropriate staffers. We've been getting a ton of action at this particular email address lately because we have a very popular subsidy calculator, which - of course - shit the bed for a couple hours yesterday because the load was so heavy (the calculator has been embedded by a number of other sites).

One email late yesterday came from a .mil address. The sender wrote to tell us that the calculator wasn't working, and that this was an obvious sign that that the Federal government should not be running health care.

So many layers of "um, dude?" I don't even know where to start.
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


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