If you look up the word “obstruction” in the dictionary you see a picture of Congressional Republicans.
I kid, of course. However, something TEApublican Senator Ted Cruz said recently made me laugh extremely hard, and also realize that he has absolutely no sense of self-awareness. While it’s true that in no dictionary will you find “obstruction” defined as Congressional Republicans, the truth of the matter is that Republicans in Congress have been obstructing the president’s agenda, and therefore the country’s economic recovery, in earnest for the last three years at least. They don’t even try to hide it, and sometimes you can catch them being honest and they’ll admit to their obstruction, even revel in it.
Republicans have been obstructing everything from the President’s jobs bill to his judicial nominees. In the states, Republican governors have tried to block the implementation of Obamacare by refusing to set up insurance exchanges or by not taking the Medicaid expansion in the ACA. What I’m trying to paint here is a very clear picture that Republicans have been obstacles to progress in every way, shape and form since Obama took office. Which means that when Senator Cruz calls President Obama an obstacle to anything — much less immigration reform as the McCarthyite Senator claims — I get to laugh profusely, and I’m giving us all permission to laugh together.
Said Cruz recently, “The biggest obstacle to passing common sense immigration reform is President Barack Obama. A path to citizenship is the most divisive aspect of this bill and the White House is insisting on it.” Clearly Senator Cruz doesn’t have any compunction to help his party regain any footing on the national stage. 2012 was a wake-up call for Republicans and Cruz obviously slept-in. What possible good does it do to reform our immigration system and then not give the eleven million undocumented people living in the country now a pathway to citizenship? Would Cruz prefer deportation — a solution that is both cost prohibitive and morally reprehensible?
Ted Cruz is the archetypal TEApublican. He was only sworn in back in January, yet he’s managed to make enemies on both sides of the aisle. What makes Cruz’ comments about President Obama being an obstacle to the immigration reform bill is the fact that Cruz has been obstructing nearly every single bill brought to the Senate floor. Cruz voted to block John Kerr’s nomination for Secretary of State; he’s voted to block the background check amendment that 90% of Americans want. Senator Cruz voted against renewing the Violence against Women Act, and if that wasn’t bad enough he even voted against Hurricane Sandy Relief.
Cruz has been the proverbial square peg every step of the way. He revels in it, you can tell. He’s the maverick from the Lone Star State, sent to clean up Washington. Which basically gets translated into something like this — Ted Cruz sees his job in the Senate as a mission to block any government spending on any level, despite the fact that all the focus on deficit reduction has gotten the country is a booming stock market but a still-struggling middle class. Ted Cruz is about the biggest metaphorical road block to real progress that you could possibly hope for. Every single issue that has come before the Senate has seen him take the hardest right tack that he can possibly take, and this day and age moving hard right means being anti-progress.
Ultimately it’s Cruz — and any other TEApublican that insists on blocking a path to citizenship — that are blocking progress on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. That’s not really any surprise because for years the Republicans have been the party of blocking everything and anything. What Cruz’ recent comments underscore though is the notion that we might just live in two separate countries, the Red and Blue United States of America. Cruz knows that in Red America he’ll never be chastised for making such a patently hypocritical claim against the president. He also knows that even if some of his supporters happen to read criticism of him on this issue, they’ll simply chalk it up to liberal media bias. He’s playing to the cheapest seats, and that’s all he has to do.
What’s going to make this all very interesting is the simple fact that the Hispanic voting bloc is the one that is growing the most and the fastest. Texas, Cruz’ state, is said to be headed in a more purple direction — which is to say that the increase in Hispanic voters in that state might start tipping it leftward. How much longer Cruz and the other TEAPublicans can afford to be anti-immigrant is anyone’s guess, but one thing is definitely for sure. Ted Cruz calling anyone an obstacle to progress is like Ted Cruz calling someone a self-aggrandizing attention whore.