Ersatz Politics

Ted Cruz’s marathon bloviating session is no filibuster — he’s going to have to sit down and shut up when the Senate convenes this afternoon, because he doesn’t have the power to stop the cloture vote. But this little charade provides us with a useful peek behind the curtain of our modern political establishment.

You have a powerless faction pretending to take a bold stand on an issue that’s already been decided — after first negotiating the terms of this piece of theater with the opposition ahead of time. Meanwhile the facts-be-damned news media winks and nods and plays along, and partisans on both sides of the aisle prepare to exploit this for donations.

This isn’t politics, this isn’t even the peoples’ business, it’s theater. Or, as Charles Pierce put it, just part of the never-ending campaign that has taken over our modern American political discourse:

As has been pointed out, this is something of a mock filibuster, but that’s because it isn’t an attempt to do serious legislative business. It’s an extended campaign commercial, B-Roll for the local stations in Ottumwa and Council Bluffs.

Eggg-zackly. Really, that’s all this is — that’s all anything coming out of Washington is these days. It’s all one giant PR campaign as both sides scramble to “define the issue” (any issue, it doesn’t matter) and prepare the flood of fundraising e-mails and direct mail requests. Washington has become one vast telemarketing and direct mail operation. Ted Cruz is merely the clip art for this week’s campaign. Next week it will be someone else.

This isn’t me being cynical, this is reality. This is how Washington works today and make no mistake: is feature not bug. This politics of dysfunctional is working exactly as intended for those on the inside. It’s the raison d’etre for that whole “politico-industrial complex” I wrote about a year ago. Nothing has really changed except now the star players are members of Congress themselves.

With all of this going on it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that what Ted Cruz’s theater is all about is denying people access to affordable private, for-profit health insurance. Because no one really hears that amid all of the other Kabuki. And that’s the biggest shame of all.


Filed under Congress, filibuster, healthcare, Media, media manipulation

9 responses to “Ersatz Politics

  1. My morning blog post:
    The Amazing Stupidity of Ted Cruz
    I haven’t been one of those glued to Ted Cruz’s grab for stardom so it wasn’t until this morning that I hear him distorting one of the greatest works of one of America’s greatest writers and artists, a long time and well known liberal-lefty, Dr Seuss.

    The idiot product of Harvard Law would have known how stupid and clueless using Green Eggs and Ham in his bid to stop Obamacare was if he’d done what we were all told to do in 1st grade READ EVERY WORD TO THE END OF THE BOOK.

    If the widely declared genius had done that he might have read what happens when Sam I Am finally talks the grouchy nay-sayer into trying what he spent the entire previous book saying he didn’t like.

    He found out that once he tried it, he liked it. (only it looks better in a 68 point font.)

  2. Ted Cruz does belong to the Party of Denial…

  3. democommie

    I’m not sure if Cruz is stupid or if just knows his audience. Smart or not, he’s a dangerous mofo and the sooner he gets consigned to the elephant’s scrapyard of marketplace idiots, the better.

  4. deep

    Wait… Beale… are you saying that “Both Sides Do It” ™???

    • LOL it would appear so…..

      • deep

        Admittedly, it’s the reason I haven’t been going to DailyKos lately. It seems like a lot of their posts lately have been “Look at this atrocity! This is why you need to donate to [candidate] now!” with a link to some fundraising site. Seems like it’s been getting out of hand lately.

        I’m happy to support candidates and I’m happy to read news about GOP shenanigans, but I really don’t want to be nagged about it.

      • Within minutes of Ted Cruz shutting his yap I had an email from Harry Reid with the subject line “Anarchy,” telling me to sign a petition against shutting down the government. These petition requests are nothing more than trolling for mailing lists.

  5. * sigh * I magine growing up, I mean, growing old with this kind of politicians.