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Ted Cruz as Performance Art

Ted Cruz has finally concluded his fake filibuster of a bill he hopes will pass.

If I did not know better I would swear Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was executing some Sacha Baron Cohen-style performance art meant to hold a mirror up to the absurdity of the Senate.

Cruz has just completed a roughly 20 hour fake filibuster. It kinda looked like the old fashioned filibuster you see in movies, but it truly was a meaningless show. A true filibuster means holding the Senate floor to stop the Senate from taking any further actions. This is not what Cruz did. All Cruz was doing was consuming the time until the scheduled procedure vote at which point he was forced to stop. It was time that no one was really planning to do anything else on the Senate floor, because the Senate has idiotic rules that require huge blocs of time be wasted on nothing.

What really brings Cruz’s fake filibuster to the next level as a piece of art is that he is pretended to filibuster the bill he wants. Democrats are actually trying to bring to the floor the continuing resolution which defunds Obamacare. A bill Cruz would vote for, but Cruz doesn’t want this bill to be debated because he knows Democrats could then take a vote stripping out the defunding measure.


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Cruz is effectively demanding the Senate not debate the bill he wants until the Democrats agree to effectively forfeit the control over the Senate they won in the last election. Cruz claims the only way to advance the real will of the people is to stop the people who were elected from voting. Even if Cruz got his way, though, it would not fix the problem that Obama could still veto any bill.

Unlike almost every real filibuster in history which was meant to try to stop something from passing, Cruz’s fake filibuster was an attempt to extort the chamber into letting a bill pass. It is a pretend attempt at a fun house mirror version of how filibusters were meant to work.

I must thank Cruz for one thing. He has done a better job exposing how idiotic the arcane rules governing the Senate are than I could do with a hundred posts.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker is political writer and blogger for FireDogLake. He is an expert on health care policy and the politics of health care reform.

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