The government shut-down resulted in Ted Cruz being characterized as a radical more akin to a terrorist than a patriot. In a variety of forums, liberals spewed their venom on Cruz. On Facebook, some liberals merely primed their readers with matter-of-fact comments, and then waited for their low-information, progressive commenters to vent. As an example, public radio’s David Martin Davies posted the following:
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who staged a 21-hour filibuster earlier in the process and had swore that he would do anything to stop Obamacare, now says he will not stand in the way of a last minute deal to re-open the government and avoid busting the debt. “Of course not, never had any intention to delay this vote,” he told reporters as he exited the meeting. “Delaying this vote would not accomplish anything.”
Among the reader comments to this entry:
- Carmela Garcia – Idiot!
- Suzy Bianchi-Barrett – Everything I want to say would get me permanently banned.
After I read the entry, it occurred to me that Cruz was being vilified for employing tactics that just a few weeks earlier Wendy Davis had used to rise to folk-hero status. So I posted the following comment:
- Michael Alyn Kueber – That is an interesting quote – “Delaying this vote would not accomplish anything.” Democratic folk hero Wendy Davis apparently felt otherwise with her battle.
My comment elicited a response for David Martin Davies, and the back-and-forth chatter was on:
- David Martin Davies – Michael Alyn Kueber, do you have some sort of off-the-rightwing-wall-nonsense-quote-generator app for your Facebook account? It coughs up comments that mean nothing and aren’t even related to what the topic is.
- Michael Alyn Kueber – David Martin Davies, the point is that the liberal media lionized Wendy Davis for waging a quixotic battle in favor of abortion rights while demonizing Ted Cruz for waging a losing battle against ObamaCare.
- David McLemore – Except that Sen. Davis’ filibuster came close to killing a pointless bill, was a real filibuster and Cruz’ long speech was a sham that did nothing. Context is king.
- David Martin Davies – Michael Alyn Kueber, that’s not a direct point – that’s a lot of unpacking to get from point A to point B. Y R U bringing that up?
- Michael Alyn Kueber – I assume that the point of your post was to ridicule Cruz, and I don’t recall any such ridicule directed toward Davis after the Texas legislature ultimately passed the anti-abortion bill. Seems like a double standard. Although forcing a special session was not as damaging as shutting down the government, the two strategies have some similarities. Yet, according to the media, one created a lion and the other created a devil. Contrary to David’s comment above, I don’t recall anyone thinking that Davis’s filibuster would do anything other than force a special session. And I certainly don’t recall anyone characterizing the anti-abortion bill as pointless.
- David McLemore – Perhaps I was too kind to call the Texas anti-abortion bill ‘pointless.’ Closing down Planned Parenthood clinics across the state, cutting out needful non-abortion health services for women in poor and rural areas is not pointless. Nice catch.
- David Martin Davies – The post was reporting the facts – there was no ridicule – Cruz wasn’t called a hero or a cry baby. But it seemed to have hit a raw nerve with you. You don’t have to be so defensive. I understand that it’s tough having to stick up for Cruz after all the damage that he’s done to the country and to the Republican party. And I know it would have been better for the GOP had he not done his talkathon since it took away from the messed up rollout of the ACA, drove up Obama’s poll numbers, distracted the public from Syria, united the Dems and could cost the GOP the House. But look on the bright side – I don’t know what the bright side is for the GOP – but it’s there somewhere.
- Michael Alyn Kueber – Not to go off on a tangent, but since you mentioned Obama’s rising poll numbers, Rush Limbaugh did a segment last week where he pointed out the Wolf Blitzer of CNN had gone apoplectic a few years ago when Bush’43’s approval rate dropped to 36%, yet last week when Obama’s approval numbers dropped to a record low of 37% in an AP poll, there was hardly a peep in the mainstream press. According to Rush, this was further evidence of the media’s double standard.
- David Martin Davies – I heard that segment on Rush – and the way that he presented it one would get that impression. And I found it to be a great example of how Rush will cherry pick facts to support his argument with him expecting that most of his listeners will not look any deeper into the facts. So when GWBush hit rock bottom numbers 36% that was news because it was the first time that a president had such low numbers. And when Obama hit 37% there wasn’t much said in the media. Lots of reasons for that – the main reason is that GOP popularity numbers are about 25%. They wish they had Obama’s 37% – which has gone up about 10% since that poll. I would tell anyone listening to Rush to think for yourself.
- Conni Brenner – “do you have some sort of off-the-rightwing-wall-nonsense-quote-generator app for your Facebook account?” Hilarious! Would make a great meme.
- Judy Greenberg – Sorry but my first thought was “Asshole!”
- Marianne Kestenbaum – While Michael Alyn Kueber and I have strongly disagreed many times in the past in workplace committees or task forces, I never found him to be a knee-jerk opponent or proponent of anything–just someone who also held strong beliefs that often were more nuanced, less simplistic, and more worthy of thoughtful analysis than I originally felt, once I fairly considered them. In the same light, I felt he always respectfully listened to me, and the outcome of the discussion that of course involved more than the two of us was decided in the marketplace of ideas in the committee, even though he actually chaired one of those committees, I believe. The points being, first and foremost, as with all of us who stick our necks out in forums where it’s quite possible we represent a minority perspective, he deserves not to be labeled, and second, opposing ideas can build a larger umbrella and perhaps a broader perspective in which the two ideas can actually be compatible and lead to solutions and learning. So now it is time for me to take some time to analyze his remarks and validate for myself that my intense initial response that Davis’s and Cruz’s tactics were indeed dramatically different from one another, or look at things from a different angle that might accommodate both perspectives, though I don’t want to cause Michael too much discomfort in doing so.
- Michael Alyn Kueber – Thanks for the testimonial, Marianne Kestenbaum. I look forward to your analysis.
Unfortunately, Marianne never disclosed her analysis, so I will formalize mine:
- As I stated in my earlier comment, I agree that forcing a government shut-down is more significant that forcing a special session of the legislature, but neither is an earth-shattering event. Although liberals/progressives were primed to blame all subsequent negative economic developments on the shut-down, there have been no such developments thus far. In fact, the stock market has rebounded to new record highs, which is the best indicator that no significant damage was done. Also, as I said earlier, both Cruz and Davis waged a partisan battle that was doomed to fail, but that energized their partisan base. Unless someone can provide me with something significant that distinguishes these gambits, I will continue to believe Cruz and Davis used the same playbook.
With respect to David’s initial charge – As someone who has been a burr in the saddle of a bunch of leftwing, nonsense quote generators on Facebook, I can attest to the fact that the rightwing does not have a monopoly on low-information, non-thinking partisans.