The Rant 

"Tea Party" Ted Cruz and the Politics of Ignorance

Hi, kids. Uncle Randy checking in once again. Happy fall to all. Fall always reminds me of fresh starts and new beginnings.

This rapid weather change, however, makes me believe that we are going to pay for that reasonably mild summer we experienced in Memphis.

Which reminds me, I hope everyone gets their flu shot this year. That is, if you don't believe that the vaccine is a secret government conspiracy to make you sick enough to wish you had health insurance. In that case, you're in luck. Obamacare is due to kick in on October 1st, and, as I predicted in these pages, we are already seeing the insurance companies running competing advertisements for affordable policies. That's different. For someone like me, who went without health insurance for a decade because of the dreaded "preexisting condition," the Affordable Care Act is a long-awaited remedy. For a person who receives all their information from Fox News and right-wing websites, it's the worst thing to hit America since the influenza pandemic of 1918.

With only days before the law takes effect, the Republicans are scrambling around like cockroaches, attempting anything and everything to derail or delay Obamacare. The Tea Party-dominated House Republicans passed a bill to allot money to run the government, without funding Obamacare, technically a violation of the law. If the Tea Party began telling the American people to stop paying their income taxes or to ignore the speed limit, wouldn't they be aiding and abetting the commission of a crime? The Koch brothers have been running television ads that show a creepy looking Uncle Sam with a wicked smile preparing to perform a gynecological exam on an unsuspecting young woman. The grotesquery is supposed to convince younger people to opt out of Obamacare. This is where you younger folks come in. I understand that the Affordable Care Act is unpopular and that the right-wing hysteria has had its effect, but all the bill does is deliver 30 million new customers to the health insurance industry. The problem isn't Obamacare, it's the health insurance scam that the medical/pharmaceutical complex forced upon us in the first place. Now that we're all in this together, the first step out of this trap is to at least make health insurance more affordable and available to everyone.

Obamacare allows a young person to remain on their parents' insurance until age 26. I know you're feeling great now, but when you start getting close to 30, things begin to happen. You may be fit enough to play on a park commission basketball team, until you're diving for a loose ball and get your teeth knocked out, which actually happened to a friend of mine. Another friend was a teammate in a softball league until he tore out his knee sliding into home.

You'll be happy you have health care on these occasions, not to mention when you get illnesses that require a doctor's care. Young people's participation is necessary to make the law effective, despite the Koch brothers' efforts to convince them otherwise. Obamacare is the settled law of the land, yet the House bill to defund the act allows the "loyal opposition" to kick their 42nd attempt at killing the law over to the Senate, where it stands no chance of passing but every chance of becoming the partisan, political spectacle of the fall season.

All eyes will be on the man Sarah Palin refers to as "Tea Party Ted" — Texas senator Ted Cruz. The first-term senator, whose presidential ambitions are embarrassing, has vowed to do "everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare," including a promise to filibuster any spending bill that does not defund the health care law. Majority leader Harry Reid responded, "Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead. Dead."

Cruz is living proof that a degree from Harvard ain't what it used to be. He may possess a rich intellect, but he displays poor judgment. That leftist rag, The Wall Street Journal, called Cruz's idea of using the continuing resolution to defund Obamacare "crazy." John McCain said it was a "bad idea." Before "Tea Party Ted" was to appear on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said he was "stunned" to receive opposition research on the senator "from other Republicans." Cruz, the neo-Joe McCarthy, has labeled Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and said that "sharia law is an enormous problem in this country." Oh yeah, he voted against the Violence Against Women Act too.

Even fellow conservatives despise him. Right-wing representative Peter King of New York said, "He should stay in the Senate, keep quiet. If he can deliver on this, fine. If he can't, he should keep quiet from now on, and we shouldn't listen to him." Harry Reid will merely strip any language about defunding Obamacare from the spending bill and send it back to the House. Then it's up to "Crying John" Boehner to find the votes to pass the Senate bill and prevent a government shutdown or stand with the Tea Party and go down with the ship.

If you recall, the last government shutdown was a disaster that led to the fellating of President Clinton. The deadline is September 30th, and if you think this is exciting, just wait until next month's self-inflicted crisis over the damned debt ceiling, when the Tea Party lunatics attempt to delay the implementation of Obamacare for another year. I'm not a lawyer, but I watch a lot of television. Isn't this legal grounds for obstruction of justice?

Randy Haspel writes the "Born-Again Hippies" blog, where a version of this column first appeared.

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