Let's give the snarling, three-pointed Devils their due. Tea Party backers and insurgents found in Ted Cruz a slick, shiny face to dish out its latest rendition of raising Cain, that is, elevating gasbag demagoguery. I suspect this perverse 20% minority, thrilled at the duration of its chokehold, remains flummoxed such valor didn't crack Obamacare wide open. You know, just like those intrepid Texans who defeated Santa Ana at the Alamo. Oh, few Texans and a massacre.
Yet let us dwell not in easy gloating that patriotic rightwingers didn't just fail (though the sequester holds) but fell on their smug fat faces, triggering a deluge of disapproval. Instead, behold today's exceptionalism by "true Americans," with bragging rights unmatched by any other public entity. Who else would have traded mere gridlock (old stuff) for the drama of hostage-taking wherein the thugs, oddly enough, took themselves hostage? Now that's news, if not irony, even in Washington.
Name another gang that so fluidly uncovers new heroes to replace fallen champions for, like Halloween cemetery goblins, an inexhaustible parade of goons and buffoons marches on. Here finally is what the Tea Party does best: pinpointing pinheads of demagogic dogmatism, an army of toy Christian soldiers marching as to war, okay, the wrong time at the wrong time. No one is perfect, even God's chosen.
Let us also celebrate, if only for the record, the staying power of this temper tantrum. What else caused gobsmacked pundits to scour history for kinship, whether Confederate crusaders for slavery, racists fuming over civil rights, Bible-thumpers furious at gay, minority and women's right, or early, tin-ear cranks bemoaning Social Security and Medicare? This mayhem, alas, has silver linings: the extended TP third finger offended both the Union majority and its own party leaders. Bring it on, tea baggers, the sacred gospel of leaping first and falling on your heads.
Rightwing Messiah Catapult
Second only to Hollywood at clothing meager talents with instant celebrity, the vast Rightwing PR Catapult rushes witlings into national battles of wits without checking their armor. Stand aside Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, fatuous hustlers famous for being famous. Enter Senator Cruz, unready for prime time, the latest primitive dragged from the subterranean landscape of the heartless heartland. Look, guys: aren't Dubya and Rick Perry enough Texas gifts for one generation, let alone Tom DeLay and Dick Armey? Must Texas contribute more flashes in the pan that glow brightly, then descend to infamy and defeat, if not incarceration?
Of course, Tea Party recruitment reflects a wider geographic net, with instant stars like Palin and Bachmann, or Trump and Herman Cain. And every one a bona fide know-nothing magically turned know-it-all. However inexhaustible the TP Poseur Production line, how many have any staying power? Not one, not so far, with national appeal. True, no Texan has yet dislodged Ms. Palin as the least prepared, most bizarre nominee ever from a national party. But not from lack of trying. At least Cruz won't quit early: his ego revels in the improbably wide ripples from his adolescent mischief.
So far, Cruz falls short in turning this slapstick into Joe McCarthy rampages, mainly because the Texan achieved in months what McCarthy took years to earn: severe Senate condemnation and national disgrace. However Cruz razzle-dazzled the House, his Senate career as power broker is over, crash-landing after a single launch. His great sacrifice managed, in fact, to combine three huge negatives without a political positive: No! to government operation, No! to keeping our AAA credit, and No! to Obamacare, understandably more popular after feeble assaults. Three whiffs at his first at-bat is a bad strike-out, whatever the TP fundraising gains. That crippled maverick won't hunt.
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