The Conversation

So, When Does Ted Cruz Get His Apology?

That crazy Ted Cruz. The Texas freshman Senator (R-Tea Party) tried to defund Obamacare, then accepted a one-year delay in the individual mandate as a compromise position. But you can't govern from one House of Congress, and the one he's in is one the Republicans don't govern anyway. Obama and the Democrats held all the cards. So Cruz caved--it was only a matter of time, right?--and Republicans got blamed for everything.

Fast-forward a few weeks. President Barack Obama is trying to delay parts of Obamacare by administrative fiat. Democrats are rushing for the exits, ready to sign onto a bill that will essentially gut the entire policy by letting people keep their insurance (as promised). The website has not been fixed, and will not be fixed by the end of November. The media, Obama's core constituents, are wavering. Suddenly he looks desperate. 

What wouldn't Barack Obama give to be able to wind back the clock to late September and accept Ted Cruz's offer of a one-year delay--in exchange, say, for a promise not to block immigration reform? That would have been a trade worthy of Lyndon Johnson, who knew how to give a little to get what he wanted. It also would have saved Obama the hideous--and global--embarrassment of Obamacare's failure--for a while, anyway.

Yes, Cruz's strategy was flawed because defunding seemed nearly impossible, and because he struggled to unite the GOP (not least because he occasionally attacked would-be allies). But he made it absolutely clear that Republicans had zero ownership of Obamacare--a fact that would not have been as obvious had the GOP meekly funded the program. He set down a bright marker. And was mocked. When does he get his apology?


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