Often, when a major crisis occurs, one figure emerges as the protagonist and another as the antagonist. In the recent showdown over the federal shutdown and impending debt default, the protagonist is clearly President Obama, who found his backbone -- one can only hope that he holds onto it, as he will surely need it for the remainder of his term of office. The antagonist is also clear: it is not any major leader in the United States House or Senate, but rather Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the darling of the Tea Party, whose claim to fame seems to be mainly a penchant for making incorrect and irrelevant statements at great length and with great vehemence. While that penchant does not make Senator Ted either correct or relevant, it does garner attention from his Far Right base, and will probably launch his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. If so, Senator Ted will be cruzing for a well-deserved bruising, and with luck the Democrats will hold onto the Presidency and the Senate, and win back control of the House of Representatives.
What Senator Ted and his colleagues do not seem to realize is just how fed up most Americans have become with their raving, ranting, posturing, and obstructing. The novelty of these tactics wore off some time ago, and their continued use merely highlights the drastic shortage of positive ideas and constructive proposals from the Republican Right Wing. The Party of No has become the Party of Never, with approval ratings sliding down towards zero.
While there are some Republican leaders, like Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who have proven the vitality of their recent contributions to national problem solving, such Republicans are in the minority -- and indeed seem to be loathed by the Far Right for even being willing to talk to the other side. Instead, the rabid rantings and rancid ravings of Senator Ted remain as the hallmark of a party which is increasingly out-of-touch with the American mainstream, and even out-of-touch with itself. Should Ted Cruz become the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, one can only hope that he picks half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin for his running mate -- now there is a dream ticket, for the Democrats!
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