For the last few days, cable news has been all Ted Cruz all the time. His 23-hour rant about Obamacare on the floor of the Senate? He wants you to think it was a filibuster to sound all grand and champion-like, but under the rules of the Senate, it wasn’t. He was not up against any extreme restrictions like his fellow Texan Wendy Davis was during her actual filibuster and his speech did nothing to prevent a vote on a bill, as Davis’ efforts did.
His effort really served only two purposes: (1) his own self-aggrandizement; and (2) to have his tea party fans focus on his Green Eggs and Ham moment in order to keep attention off some other things about him:
1. He wants you to forget he was born in Canada. Yes, Cruz is an American citizen because his mother is and was at time of his birth. But he wants his fans to think he is a “natural born” citizen, just in case he ever decides to run for president. But conservatives can’t have it both ways — they can’t keep stirring the pot of whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S. (which he was) and keep insisting that to be eligible to run for President a candidate must be born on U.S. soil. Being born in Canada, makes Cruz a Canadian citizen, as well, though Cruz claims he’s “renounced” that. Officialy, though, he apparently he is still a Canadian unless he’s completed the official paperwork.
2. Odds are his health insurance is a “Cadillac plan” from Goldman Sachs. While the junior Senator from Texas is trying to prevent more Americans from getting any sort of health plan at all, some have wondered — how can U.S. Senators be against a government-backed health insurance plan when they benefit from one themselves? Good question in the hypocrisy department, but Cruz may have even better coverage than his Senate colleagues. Cruz’s wife is the head of a regional Goldman Sachs office (yes, THAT Goldman Sachs), and according to a 2009 New York Times report, top executive officers and managing directors there “are eligible to participate in a health care program that costs Goldman more than $40,000 in premiums for each particpant’s family annually.” Apparently Cruz hasn’t answered questions about which insurance plan his family uses, but if you had a choice between premiere coverage or something that covered less, and neither was going to cost you anything, which would you choose?
3. His aunt was a counter-revolutionary against Fidel Castro. While Cruz’s father fought alongside Castro before fleeing Cuba, the elder Cruz’s sister fought against the Communist regime. How many people can say they’re related to revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries? His aunt’s role will probably play with the very politically influential Florida Cuban voting bloc if he really has presidential aspirations. His dad’s pro-Castro past? Not so much.
4. Cruz clerked for two extreme judicial conservatives. If you have any question about just how conservative Cruz is, look no further than two far-right jurists he clerked for, the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and J. Michael Luttig, formerly a judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, well known as an extremely conservative bench (though that has been changing in recent years).
5. He doesn’t like fact-checkers. Facts? We don’t need no stinking facts! As least that’s what Cruz seems to think when it comes to his statements. Reporters have been fact-checking assertions Cruz made in his Obamacare super-speech, and he is outraged! Cruz claims that fact-checking is “a particularly pernicious bit of yellow journalism that has cropped up that lets journalists be editorial writers and pretend they are talking about objective facts.” So I guess he believes in the Chuck Todd method of reporting?
6. His real name is Rafael. That’s shouldn’t be a biggy. Many people who are named after their fathers go by a nickname. But as someone who seems to have an eye on the White House, surely Cruz knows what happens to candidates who have names that seem a little out of the ordinary to the tea party crowd?