WASHINGTON, October 17, 2013 — A deal has been reached. The 17 percent of government that was closed is being reopened, and the debt ceiling has been increased.
The details are clear: the GOP has caved and sold us down the river. Yet, in the midst of the anger from the betrayal Americans have been dealt, there is a great victory for conservatives going unreported, or perhaps unrealized. It must not go unharnessed, however.
After two weeks of believing that the Republicans were standing up for what the American people wanted, the deal that passed Wednesday evening allows President Obama to increase the debt ceiling in February without Congressional approval. While Congress may deny the increase through legislation, the president may veto the bill. The two-thirds vote necessary to overturn the veto would likely not be possible.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his sudden willingness to work with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) perplexed some, until it was reported that the deal included a $3 billion earmark for McConnell’s home state. When you need a Senator or Representative to cast an otherwise suicidal vote, the traditional tactic is to throw in a sweetheart offer. McConnell got his, and he may get his again in the primary in Kentucky next year as a result of his part in this disastrous legislation.
At the last House GOP caucus meeting before the vote, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told the conference, “We all agree on these fundamental conservative principles. … We must not confuse tactics with principles. The differences between us are dwarfed by the differences we have with the Democratic party, and we can do more for the American people united.” But united to do what? Simply taking Democrat legislation and spicing it up a bit is a conundrum, not a victorious path.
Even the Republicans were falling for the argument that the nation would default if the debt ceiling was not raised. Simple math proves that to be false. Yet the GOP never even attempted to explain to the American people that ample revenue would come in to the treasury to cover our debts, assuming that the president would abide by the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution.
Only 13 percent think this nation is going in the right direction. While moderate Republicans and Democrats continue to quote a faulty poll that oversampled Democrats and federal workers showing that the Republicans were falling in the polls, President Obama’s approval rating is only 37 percent. The latter is a statistic that moderates in the GOP and Democrats alike leave off their talking point lists, almost as if they’re colluding to defeat the conservative cause against the status quo. They certainly made sure to repeat former President George W. Bush’s numbers when they fell.
But then there is Ted Cruz.
Through this entire fight, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been the consistent voice against everything that is wrong with Washington. Only when he recognized that nothing more could be accomplished right now did he decide not to block the bill passed Wednesday. Despite the left’s claim, this is not a defeat for Cruz. In fact, he won.
While it may be difficult to see the victory through the dust left behind, Sen. Cruz has accomplished three things: informing the nation of the trainwreck that is Obamacare; separating the spines of steel in Congress from the skeletons of mush; and, demonstrating that conservatives will staunchly support a fellow conservative when he or she acts like a conservative.
The attention on Obamacare from the past few weeks, since Oct. 1, has perhaps been muted from the shutdown news. But Cruz was able to give a voice to Americans hurting from the impact from this unfair, devastating law. Through his push for senators to defund Obamacare and vote against cloture, he provided a priceless service to American conservatives by forcing the moderates to make a decision. Many of them aligned with the Democrats on a vote they cannot explain away, especially in their upcoming primaries.
Perhaps most importantly, Cruz has demonstrated that when an elected official says he is a conservative, is elected as a conservative, acts like a conservative and then leads others to be conservative, he is respected, appreciated and supported. In late September, Cruz led in a Public Policy Poll for president in the 2016 Republican primary, and recently he overwhelmingly won the straw poll at the Values Voter Summit. Americans even stayed up with him all night long during his Senate floor speech to defund Obamacare because many wanted to not only show solidarity, but to watch Cruz’s leadership on full display.
On the other hand, the GOP’s favorability has fallen through this fight. But if Republicans and conservatives are of the same party, why would this be? The answer is simple: Republicans are not winning big elections at the federal level and are not well-supported as a party because conservatives are unable to identify with the GOP. Until the Republican party provides the opportunity for conservatives to support it through nominating steadfast conservatives, we will continue to see conservatives stay home or support an alternative candidate. Republicans who Democrat-lite might as well just be Democrats.
Through the GOP’s losses in recent days, conservatives have achieved a great victory. It is evident now more than ever that when a Republican elected official is truly a conservative, he or she has an opportunity to be supported by not only Republicans but conservatives alike. This is the majority necessary for victory. Mitt Romney and John McCain were unable to harness the conservative vote because, while they are Republicans, neither is actually a conservative.
Interestingly, the media cannot stop swooning over Ted Cruz. Whether the coverage is positive or negative, news networks would rather tune in to Cruz than McConnell or Reid or Boehner. People watch him, and listen, because he wields the conviction of his principles and a fighting spirit that Americans are yearning to see from more of their representatives on Capitol Hill.
Conservatives owe Ted Cruz a debt of gratitude, but not just for his 21 hour floor speech. He has shown Republicans, conservatives and even Democrats that conservatives who hold to their principles can be supported. That support leads to votes and to victorious elections. If nothing else, we can exit this shutdown knowing that while the GOP has failed to uphold its principles, we must be aware that conservatives have given the Republican party its recipe for victory.
The GOP may have lost this round of negotiations, but regardless of what leftist spin-doctors say, Ted Cruz won this battle.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.