“This is like taking a history class from Abbott and Costello.”
– Charles P. Pierce, watching Ted Cruz on the Senate floor
Green Eggs and Ham.
A sitting Senator with degrees from Princeton and Harvard, who once announced to his law school classmates that he would only study with graduates of Princeton, Harvard and Yale, came within a hair’s breadth of creating a quantum singularity of irony on national television by comprehensively failing to comprehend the moral of a very simple children’s story.
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Green Eggs and Ham is not a dense tome. Its moral is not impenetrable. One assumes Mr. Cruz grappled with knottier themes and theories during his foray through the Ivy League. And yet there he was, standing on his hind legs like an actual human, thoroughly blowing it for all to see. Americans, he said, “did not like green eggs and ham, and they did not like Obamacare either. They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse.”
No. No, no, no, no, no. The point of the story is simplicity refined: how do you know you don’t like something if you have not even tried it? That’s it, that’s all. Since this Dr. Seuss story was first published in 1960, four-year-olds all across the nation and the world have managed to apprehend the depth and breadth of the theory after one single reading. Yet despite all the fancy East Coast learnin’ he enjoyed, the world watched the point sail over Mr. Cruz’s head, rebound off the far wall, ricochet off Corner Guy, and sail out the window to die a sad, lonely death by drowning in the reflecting pool.
No one has tried Obamacare yet. It rolls out next week. “They did not like Obamacare,” he said, presumably after dusting himself off from a jaunt to the future.
And P.S., from Peter Dreier of Truthout from February:
What few Americans know is that, despite his popular image as a kindly cartoonist for kids, Dr. Seuss was also a moralist and political progressive whose views suffuse his stories. Some of his books use ridicule, satire, wordplay, nonsense words and wild drawings to take aim at bullies, hypocrites and demagogues. He believed that children’s books should be both entertaining and educational. His most popular children’s books included parables about racism, anti-Semitism, the arms race, and the environment. His books consistently reveal his sympathy with the weak and the powerless and his fury against tyrants and oppressors.
Many Dr. Seuss books are about the misuse of power – by despots, kings, or other rulers, including parents who arbitrarily wield authority. His books teach children to think about how to deal with an unfair world. Rather than telling them what to do, Geisel invites his young readers to consider what they should do when faced with injustice. Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy, brilliant genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power.
Green Eggs and fa-chrissakes Ham.
Yeah, that happened.
But that was not all that happened.
Defunding the Affordable Care Act, if accomplished, would enjoy the same level of achievement as landing men on the moon. Also, anyone who doubts it can be done, or does not want it to be done, is on the same moral level as the Nazi appeasers in Europe before World War II. Also, Star Wars, for some reason. And White Castle hamburgers, Duck Dynasty, Hobby Lobby and Toby Keith, and “Find your opportunities and always be sexy” being a message he salutes and hopes all young people in America hear.
He stopped talking after 21 hours, and our short national nightmare was finally over. In the aftermath of the Ted Cruz “filibuster” that wasn’t a filibuster – he went to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hat in hand to get permission to do his little verbal lapdance on himself – absolutely, positively nothing had changed. The votes are still scheduled for later this week, cloture passed 100-0 with Ted’s vote included, and you will find a piece of the One True Cross before you find a Senate Democrat willing to defund the president’s health care law or give Mr. Cruz the 60-vote threshold he seeks.
It was, in the end, nothing more or less than a day-long fundraising pitch to the wing of the Republican Party that vacuums quarters up from between their couch cushions to send to any officeholder who feeds their rabid anti-Obama jones. These are the same people who have been getting pumped by the party for their pocket change for decades with images of Hillary Clinton and fetuses, brown people crossing the border, Jesus, and ATF agents grabbing guns. These people have been the useful idiots of the GOP for years now, a reliable cash cow so long as they hear what they want to hear within their Fox-fed bubble, and Ted Cruz is now their new avatar.
Yet for that same Republican Party that has done so very well for so very long feeding the ignorance and hatred of its base, the Ted Cruz fraudabuster has become a moment of truth. No one in their right mind thinks that speech was anything other than a colossal humiliation of not only the speech-giver, but of the party he purports to represent. It is not every day that the troll under the bridge broaches the broad daylight and sprays his derangement into the air for all to see and hear, but there was Ted with his bare face hanging out, giving a clinic on just how preposterous the modern Republican Party has allowed itself to become.
If the GOP has any interest whatsoever in saving itself from the crashing ignominy rushing toward them due to the efforts of members like Mr. Cruz, they would be wise to harken to the wrecking-ball wisdom offered by the gloriously-named MSNBC commentator Krystall Ball, and take the nutbags within the party in hand.
The GOP is saying to young people: we would like to have the government stick an unnecessary trans-vaginal probe if you want an abortion, but when it comes to health insurance, don’t take any government help. Don’t go to the state or federal government-operated insurance exchanges to buy private insurance. Stay away. Stay uninsured. Skip that pap smear. Skip that tetanus shot. Skip that prenatal care. Skip that cholesterol test. And if you die an agonizing death and unnecessary death, one that could have been prevented by the health insurance reform that bears the President’s name, at least you know your death would have not been in vain. You would have died to serve the noble and patriotic cause, not of conservatism, but of hurting this President.
They (Republicans) are willing to destroy themselves, their political future. That they would also encourage young people to go uninsured and risk financial catastrophe and death from preventable disease means that they aren’t just willing to sacrifice their own careers to hurt this President. They would sacrifice the lives of young people if it helped them score political points. That is not conservative, it is a national disgrace. Republicans, conservative of conscience, if there was ever a time to take back your party from the forces of anarchy, chaos and insanity, and self-destruction, now is that time.
There it is.