Posts Tagged ‘Dodge’

Cruz Objection Looks Like Political Dodge (Updated)

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

Real Objection?

Those of you watching the developments over the weekend may be aware that Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) has introduced an effort to raise an objection on January 6th, with the stated objective of creating an emergency audit and commission to examine the election results. Lindsey Graham(R-SC) tweeted about this, and while I never trust Lindsey Graham, because he’s frankly a political dogpile, the truth is that in this assessment, I think he may be correct. He called the Cruz effort a political dodge:

 

While I have no doubt that Graham would just as soon torch President Trump as help him, I think there is also truth in what he says here. If you go on to read the remainder of the tweets in Graham’s thread, he lays out his case in subsequent tweets.  Like Graham, I don’t see much of a chance that Cruz’s effort will succeed, because it would appear to require a majority in both houses of Congress to accomplish. That’s extraordinarily unlikely to succeed, and despite the fact that Cruz has the support of at least ten other senators, that’s a long way from a majority. What’s the point of the effort, if it ostensibly cannot succeed? The answer is pure politics. The people signing on to this effort all wish to avoid the wrath of voters in their states, and all of them wish to likewise avoid the vengeance of Mitch McConnell. They all want to continue to receive cash from the big fund-raisers, but they don’t want to anger the people back home. How do they straddle that particular fence? Naturally, in any such situation, a politician will launch an effort of some sort that is meant to placate voters while accomplishing nothing. Big-money contributors likely know what’s afoot, and indeed, some of the senators may tell them so explicitly, though never in public view. Cruz, who undoubtedly imagines himself as his party’s nominee in 2024, also seeks the notoriety among conservatives for having been seen to “lead” an effort to do something.

One might consider this assessment to be quite cynical, but I think when it comes to politicians, we’re not nearly cynical enough. I also know that Graham hasn’t given up his fantasy of seeking the GOP nomination, but I’ve got news for Graham, and for Cruz, and for the bulk of the others who pursued the GOP nomination in 2016: It isn’t happening. There isn’t a single one among the crowd who I would support for the nomination. Not even one. There is still a large number of CruzCrew people out there who imagine putting the band back together in 2024, although I think that’s a fantasy – one in which Senator Cruz is all too willing to engage. I say this because while Cruz appears to be conservative on many issues, he’s also shown a healthy ability to do in Washington DC that which would not be popular at home in Texas when he thinks Texans aren’t looking. I also think he’s given only half-hearted support to Donald Trump, and while I think after the primary campaign of 2016, that’s at least somewhat understandable, I also know that when he failed to give full, activist support to the president, he was doing so mostly in ways that harmed his own constituents. Most won’t have noticed, but a few of us did.

Among all those being talked about for 2024, the only ones I see as plausible(so far) are Senator Tom Cotton(R-AR,) Governor Ron DeSantis(R-FL,) SecState Mike Pompeo(R-KS,) and Governor Kristi Noem(R-SD.) Vice President Pence is widely seen as a nice guy(are we sure?) but also widely panned as too stiff and too wooden. At present, I see no prospects that any of the competitors of 2016 have even a small chance of winning the nomination, because they’ll all be viewed as retreads at best, who were all soundly demolished by Donald Trump. Cruz, amongst the 2016 also-rans, has the most credible chance to make a comeback, but I think a few of his actions over the past few years and his stunning near-loss to Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke in Texas should give you a sense of just how damaged he really is, even in his own state. Senator Cruz has shown a distinct propensity to put on a political show on Capitol hill, but he’s not produced many tangible results, even when Republican still held the House. Why wasn’t he leading significant legislative efforts in support of Donald Trump’s agenda then, when they could have been enacted? He also likes to put on a show in committee hearings, which are mostly opportunities for member grandstanding, and the question of big-tech CEOs, while entertaining, wasn’t followed-up with any significant legislative efforts. It’s easier to fund-raise off of conservative discontent over social media censorship than to actually do anything about it.

This is the problem all Americans face in electoral politics: Most of the people who run or hold office are just playing political games to further their ambitions, to feather their own nests, or both. While this effort by Cruz will get a lot of attention, I also think it was offered as a way to get people to overlook the intended objection by Senator Josh Hawley(R-MO) that focuses specifically on the grounds that the election in at least one of the states was carried out in contravention of that state’s own laws. I also think it was offered as a path to seek cover for Republicans who face angry conservatives at home if they do nothing at all, while permitting senators to avoid signing-on to Hawley’s objection.  Readers will have no idea how thoroughly I hate writing it, but in this case, Lindsey Graham is probably correct in his characterization of the Cruz motive, but indeed, I think we’re being played.

Rather than pursue that line of objection, I think conservatives should insist that their senators sign-on to Hawley’s effort. I think it’s more direct, and doesn’t rely on some commission to absolve legislators of their own duty to use their own judgment in ascertaining the legitimacy of the election. This is another widespread scam: When politicians or other government officials call for a “blue ribbon panel(or commission)” to examine this thing or that, it’s for the explicit purpose of sloughing-off responsibility on others, to get the invariably hot potato out of their hands. It’s almost as bad as the tendency of government bodies to rely on consultants, to whom they pay exorbitant fees, upon which those bodies inevitably shift blame if things go wrong. I think it ought to be a crime for government(s) to hire consultants or appoint commissions. It’s far too easy for the elected set to avoid culpability and the responsibility of definitive judgments.

 

Editors Note: There is no doubt in my mind that this election is being stolen, and that President Donald J. Trump was re-elected in a landslide if only legitimate ballots from properly registered and legally voting citizens are counted. That said, my issue here is with this particular objection and its form as well as the motive driving it. I find it less than forthright, and objectionable on its own. I think members of both houses of Congress should raise serious objections to the legitimacy of this entire #ElectionCoup, and I also think that there is little stomach in the Republican caucus is either house  of Congress to actually do so. We all know Republicans like to be good losers, but they also like to put on a good show for we deplorables and hobbits and flyover people who elect them. Trump is nearly the only elected Republican who actually fights, and it’s disgusting that every last one of them hasn’t rallied to his side.

Update: As if to buttress my point, the following quote from Cruz:

Look, we’ve got to vote on January 6 on certification and every member of Congress faces a dilemma. Frankly, two pretty lousy choices: one, we can vote to certify by not considering any objection. If we do that that will be heard by a lot of Americans as saying, ‘We don’t think voter fraud is a real concern. We don’t think these claims should be investigated thoroughly,

I know that’s not what most of us believe. But, secondly, and I think all of us, rightly, don’t want to be in a position where we’re suggesting setting aside the results of an election just because the candidate that we supported didn’t happen to prevail. That’s not a principled constitutional position,” he continued. “That’s why, in assembling this group of 11 senators, I was looking for a third option, an option that was really moored in the law.(Emphasis added.)

Well, there you have it: Senator Cruz was looking for a political option that permits him to object without the necessity of actually doing what’s needed.

 

 

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