CNN’s Thursday night episode of Crossfire became a shootout as Former White House adviser Van Jones began grilling Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) about his responsibility for the government shutdown over Obamacare.
It is widely acknowledged, even by members of his own party, that Sen. Cruz was one of the engineers of the government shutdown. His 21 hour long pseudo-filibuster of Obamacare publicity stunt several weeks ago forced Republican hands and gave them no clear way to avoid a shutdown without appearing as if they lost something. He is now on the front lines of a contingent of Republicans who think they should not back down even after the shutdown has caused the Republican image to drop to its lowest point in the history of polling.
So it was that Thursday night Jones found himself trying to get inside the mind of the man. At one point Jones asks Cruz: “Do you feel like you owe your party an apology? Listen, you have people who believed in you, they believed that you were somehow going to be able to defund Obamacare, they believed the strategy of shutdown might have a chance. They followed you into a ditch. And now, there’s obviously no chance Obamacare will be defunded and we’re on the brink of a horrific default.”
Instead of answering, Sen. Cruz deferred to the usual GOP talking points of the “millions suffering under Obamacare” and anecdotes of people whose hours have been cut by corporations trying to avoid paying their worker’s basic healthcare.
Jones countered with the fact that in Sen. Cruz’s state of Texas alone there were millions of uninsured who were surely suffering more without Obamacare than with it. Also adding: ““You’re demagoguing the problems with the rollout,” Jones told Cruz. “In a couple of years, when this thing is a standard part of our country, when insurance companies can no longer dump people, can no longer deny people, are you going to acknowledge that you were on the wrong side of this thing?”
It is unlikely that Sen. Cruz will change his position on Obamacare, after all it is cause that has made him a Tea Party superstar and national figure). But, while Jones’ lament for facts instead of “demagogy” will probably go unheeded by the Texas Republican, it does lay bare just how shallow the argument is against insuring the millions of Americans whose previous options for healthcare have been “go bankrupt or die”. Ted Cruz tries to nitpick his way to justifying his opposition to universal healthcare, but in his never-ending hatred of the law there is the persistent strain of a fanatic being confronted by the question: “What if I’m wrong?”