I can kind of sympathize with passionate conservatives at the moment. Since the Democrats hold both the Presidency and the majority in the Senate, conservatives find themselves in the same position progressives like me have been in many times, valiantly struggling for the things they believe in without having the power to really make them happen, until that struggle turns into something a bit quixotic and silly.
There is no better example of this than the current conservative hero, Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Conservatives sing his praises for sticking to his right-wing principles, but…what has he actually been able to get done? So far, he is 0-to-11 in his Senate votes. He has introduced a bill to repeal healthcare reform (snort). He has voted against John Kerry’s confirmation for Secretary of State while attempting to smear him as anti-military, and lost that fight. He has participated in the Chuck Hagel hearings and tried to make the Secretary of Defense nominee look anti-Semitic by quoting out of context from an interview in which Hagel in fact criticized Iran and emphasized the importance of a strong relationship with Israel. When all else failed, Cruz threatened to filibuster Hagel’s nomination. But this turned out to be an idea which other, more sane, Republicans are backing away from. (And I’m using the word sane to refer to John McCain here, which feels like quite a stretch.)
I realize that when he does all this, Cruz is appealing to his conservative base. But he is also not accomplishing much of anything. His dramatic gestures may get attention, but that is all they are, gestures–like his letter to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel opposing gun control measures. I’m sure Emanuel cares deeply about that one. Again, as a liberal I feel some sympathy for Cruz here. He’s like one of those tree sitting anti-logging protesters. You know that tree will get cut down anyway, but good old Ted is gonna keep sitting up there.
But I guess I shouldn’t completely dismiss Ted–he proudly represents the red-blooded American values of a state like Texas. At least, until the demographics shift and Texas turns blue. Tee hee.