When Meet the Press moderator David Gregory questioned Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX), about the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Cruz demolished the premise of Gregory’s question before returning to prosecuting the case against the Affordable Care Act. Here’s an example of one of their exchanges:
DAVID GREGORY: But Senator, even Republicans that I’ve spoken to, your colleagues, say, “Senator Cruz can’t blame Harry Reed for shutting down the government. Senator Reed acted. He passed a bill to keep the government open.”
SENATOR TED CRUZ: But let’s be clear. The House has twice–
DAVID GREGORY: Right.
SENATOR TED CRUZ: –now voted to keep the government open. And if we have a shutdown, it will only be because, when the Senate comes back, Harry Reed says, “I refuse even to talk.” And let’s be clear, also. President Obama has granted a delay for giant corporations. Every big company in America has gotten a one-year delay. If Harry Reed shuts the government down, what he will be saying is, “American families don’t get treated as well as we treat giant corporations.” Giant corporations get– don’t have to suffer, get a delay on the horns from Obamacare. But hardworking American families, he’s going to insist that they suffer now.
First, Sen. Cruz’s response was on point. He didn’t try evading the question. By comparison, Gregory’s question was typical DC too-clever-by-half. Sen. Cruz was just getting started. Here’s another spirited exchange between Gregory and Sen. Cruz:
DAVID GREGORY: It’s interesting. Democrats say, “You know, the problem with Senator Cruz’s position is that it’s a purist position.” There are problems with Obamacare. The White House admits that. We talked about polling in some quarters indicating great dissatisfaction with the law, as you’re talking about in Town Hall meetings. But you have to engaged in a debate about how they change the law. What you’ve gone out and said is, “Let’s kill the law all together. Let’s de-fund it.”
SENATOR TED CRUZ: Actually, with respect, David, I think the premise of your question is wrong. It is the Democrats who have taken the absolutist position. Look, I’ve engaged– I’d like to repeal every word of the law. But that wasn’t my position, even in this fight.
My position in this fight was we should de-fund it, which is different from repeal. And even now what the House of Representatives has done is a step removed from de-funding. It’s delaying it. Now that’s the essence of a compromise. For all of us who want to see it repealed, simply delaying it for American families on the same terms as is being done for big corporations, that’s a compromise.
Sen. Cruz’s argument is difficult to refute, especially considering the fact that he’s right about President Obama granting big corporations a 1-year delay in complying with the employer mandate. It’s apparent that Sen. Cruz’s fixation is on everyone getting treated equally. This exchange makes that exceptionally clear:
DAVID GREGORY: –you’re (UNINTEL) the voyeur (?). You’re making an argument. I asked you a specific question based on the facts on the ground. You’ve made all these arguments. My goodness, you went and spoke for 21 hours to make these arguments. You haven’t moved anyone.
SENATOR TED CRUZ: Oh, look. The American people overwhelming reject Obamacare. They understand it’s not working. The only people who aren’t listening to the argument are the career politicians in Washington. It’s Harry Reed, who wants to use brute political force.
And the great thing about the constitution is that it creates a system of checks and balances. And each branch has the ability to check another. President Obama, sadly, in implementing Obamacare, has, over and over again, disregarded the law. When he granted an exemption for giant corporations, that was contrary to law. When he granted an exemption to members of Congress, that was contrary to law.
Right now, we have a system where the rich and powerful, those with connections to the Obama administration, they get spared some of the burdens of Obamacare. But those who are struggling: single moms and young people and people who are just trying to make it, they don’t get–
That’s Sen. Cruz’s ‘checkmate moment’. Later, Sen. Cruz highlighted the fact that President Obama exempted Congress from the Affordable Care Act’s most onerous provisions. When President Obama decided that Congress would get subsidies that aren’t available to ordinary citizens making $100,000 or more, President Obama said that the ruling class shouldn’t play by the same rules that they impose on ordinary citizens.
That’s a difficult sell, especially during a campaign.
Sen. Cruz has been ridiculed for his talkathon. Harry Reid and John McCain delighted in criticizing him, with Sen. McCain giving the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement speech. To a growing number of people outside DC’s Beltway, though, Sen. Cruz sounds like a hero.
That’s because he keeps dragging the conversation away from conventional DC banter to insisting on a) listening to the American people and b) providing the best solutions to Americans’ problems.
At the end of the day, that will change lots of hearts and minds in America’s heartland.