Sen. Ted Cruz followed through Tuesday on his promise to filibuster a spending bill in an effort to defund Obamacare, which is due to take effect within days.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed that the Senate will kill any effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, which polls show is now opposed by 77 percent of Americans.
The House has already passed a bill to defund Obamacare, which even before it takes effect has resulted in more unemployment and fewer working hours for employees across the land. Estimates are that Obamacare will cost a family of four more than $7,000 on average.
Key senators in the Republican leadership, such as John McCain and Mitch McConnell, have opposed efforts to defund Obamacare, despite the well-known and easily predicted outcome of the omnibus cluster screwup of a law, which will raise health care and other costs, hurt working families’ income potential and still leave millions of Americans without any appreciable health coverage.
Cruz’s long speech on the floor of the Senate isn’t technically a filibuster because he has until noon Wednesday to speak, but Cruz isn’t really trying to delay a vote later this week, either.
Cruz’s strategy is twofold. First, he hopes to shame crusty RINOs like McCain into listening to their constituents instead of going along with the good-ol’-boy power politics of Washington and trying to profit off the country’s misery.
Second, Cruz and his supporters favor the House bill, which funds all of the government except Obamacare, and they hope to force Democrats to choose between allowing the defunding of Obamacare or shutting down the government.
“I sincerely hope that Sen. Reid and President Obama did not force a government shutdown simply to force Obamacare on the American people,” Cruz said.
It’s a gamble whether the strategy will pay off, and the odds are against Cruz winning the defunding battle.
The Democrats had a lot invested in the enactment of Obamacare. It was supposed to be the vehicle of massive government expansion, payoffs to union supporters, favors to lobbyists and contractors, and bribes to pharmaceutical companies for years to come. About the last thing Obamacare was meant to do was to improve anybody’s health, lower premiums or expand coverage.
But as the reality of what they created draws nearer, many former supporters are running for cover because they expect voters to blame them for the heavy burden of Obamacare falling on their heads.
The real turning point in the defunding debate will depend on whether enough Democrats listen to their constituents and finally do the right thing on Obamacare, or whether they will again close their eyes like they did in voting for the law, plug their noses and march once more in goose step with their party.