The chances of Republicans taking back the White House are looking slimmer by the day. Even while candidates like John Kasich or Jeb Bush try hard to avoid acting like members of the “stupid party” Bobby Jindal warned about shortly before he ignored his own advice, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are proving to potential voters that the party has plunged headlong over the cliff into insanity.
The latest news further illustrates how the fringe has seized control of the GOP, instead of taking lip service and token legislation in exchange for their votes like they used to do back when I was growing up as a Republican.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now trying to avoid a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood, a move led by none other than presidential candidate and fellow senator Ted Cruz.
Staring down the possibility of another government shutdown at the end of the month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) went on the record with Politico to tamp down fears that there would be a shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.
“Shutting down the government, it doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood any more than shutting down the government two years ago would have defunded Obamacare,” McConnell said in the interview, referring to the 2013 shutdown that was led by some of the same cast of characters floating a shutdown now. (Source)
According to Politico, Mitch McConnell has the votes in the Senate to keep the shutdown from happening. While many Republican members of the Senate would likely have no problems with defunding Planned Parenthood, they’re not willing to shut down the government to do so, especially so close to a very important election.
Ted Cruz draws his support from the very fringes of the Republican Party. To them, a government shutdown is a perfectly acceptable way of doing business and gaining votes. The people he’s hoping for support from in the primaries aren’t the “Country Club Republicans” who really could care less about Planned Parenthood; he’s going for the “Duck Dynasty Republicans” who see the federal government (and any program it funds that they don’t like) as an enemy. They didn’t send Ted Cruz or Louie Gohmert to Washington to fix it, they sent Ted Cruz and other Tea Party Republicans to Washington as a demolition crew.
Ted Cruz is going to have a much harder time shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood than he did regarding Obamacare. The lawmakers who joined him then aren’t so likely to do so now, considering the fact that despite the heavily-edited videos, Planned Parenthood is more popular than anyone who is running for president. While Cruz has promised to ‘prosecute and defund‘ the organization, Mitch McConnell and other establishment Republicans know that it would be disastrous for the GOP to do so at this time, and blaming it on President Obama wouldn’t work either.
In order to move up in the polls, Ted Cruz has to rally a lot of support from evangelical Christians who are critical to winning in early states like Iowa and South Carolina. He’s been doing a lot of that behind the scenes, including recruiting thousands of pastors to join his campaign against Planned Parenthood, which is really little more than making a power play for evangelical voters who are currently enamored with Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Whether it is attempting to hijack another candidate’s “religious freedom rally” as he did with Mike Huckabee in Kentucky, or proposing shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, Ted Cruz is a candidate with nothing to lose.
Ted Cruz is The Joker of Republican politics right now because he has just enough support from the far right to stay in office for as long as he wants. He has alienated himself from many other Republican lawmakers, especially in the Senate after calling Mitch McConnell a liar, but he can remain a constant thorn in their side – which further endears him to the fringe base. That’s why he will try to shut down the federal government, just to send a message.
“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
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