Patterico's Pontifications

3/27/2015

Jay Cost: Two Reasons Not To Leave The GOP (With Added Graphic Of Current GOP Field)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:58 am

[guest post by Dana]

In the past few years, an increasing number of commenters here at Patterico’s have expressed their disenchantment and frustration with the Republican party. Some have already reached their tipping point and made the decision to leave the party. After all, how long does one keep waiting…and waiting… and waiting to see promises be kept and conservative principles represented?

With that, last week Glenn Beck announced he was leaving the Republican party to become an Independent. Beck’s reasoning was not surprising:

They surrendered on the abortion bill, surrendered on executive orders on illegal immigration, common core. They helped push through $3.5 trillion in deficits this last year. They won’t fight Obamacare. They voted to confirm Katz Unstein (ph). They thwarted the bill on the NSA data collection. They’re still not doing anything on Benghazi. They haven’t done anything on the targeting of conservatives with the IRS. They haven’t done anything on the VA. They also threw an election against Chris McDaniels to Thad Cochran. They actually went to the Democrats and played the race card. I mean, I can get that from Hillary Clinton’s people….

We had to have the house. Then we had to the House. Then we had to have the House and the Senate. Now we have to have the White House. And then when they get the White House, the House, and the Senate then it becomes the Bush administration where it’s just as bad on deficits and everything else. They don’t have any intention of doing anything.

He also noted the establishment GOP’s disrespectful treatment of Tea Partiers like Sens. Mike Lee and Sen Ted Cruz.

His final word on the matter was one of futility:

“Four years ago I was with them. Four years ago I said ‘work from the inside: Let’s change it. Let’s get new guys in there.’ I think it’s too late.”

Days later, Jay Cost offered two reasons why Beck should reconsider his decision: the lack of a viable third party and the belief that party reform can happen.

[T]he Republican party is not going to let conservatives go anywhere else. There has never been a viable third party in the country, at least not one that has persisted over the long run. This has to do with the nature of our elections. Political theorist Maurice Duverger demonstrated fifty years ago that winner-take-all contests centered around discrete geographical areas typically produce a two-party system. There are exceptions, but they’re rare.

Moreover, third parties that do thrive temporarily are co-opted by one of the two major parties — usually to the detriment of the ideological movement that spawned the third party in the first place.

As if all that isn’t enough, even the seemingly easy task of forming a third party is a challenge. The two parties can be thought of as opponents in most respects, but they can also be understood to operate a cartel that restricts entry by competitors. A third party will thus have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get itself listed on the ballot, and even more to be included in presidential debates. None of this is coincidental. The two parties want us to have a choice … between the two parties!

Regarding a GOP reformation, Cost remains optimistic about the future in light of positive changes that have already taken place:

[T]he Republican party can be reformed. It may be very hard to do so, but the GOP is not a political machine. It is not a closed system, impervious to change. It’s open, and grassroots reformers have recourse — in the form of party primaries. They may be seriously out-financed in those contests. Still, it is one thing to be an underdog, and another to have no hope of change at all. And there is hope.

In fact, I’d argue that there has been an extraordinary amount of change within the GOP over the last generation. Reformers have made some real gains.

Further:

…The group of solid conservatives, meanwhile, has grown. The Senate already had many such members, like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Tim Scott. But now they are set to be joined by Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, and Joni Ernst. My back of the envelope calculations suggest that the number of solid conservative senators has risen from about a dozen in 1995 to 20 or so today.

Cost also notes changes in the House as well, observing that the “insurgent” class of House reformers is now large enough to make real noise.”

And yet, he makes an important distinction: while conservative reformers have won elections, there have been little to no actual breakthroughs. He believes this is by design:

That is one of Madison’s big points in Federalist #10 and #51; he wants our system to be responsive to changes in public mood, but — fearful of fractious majorities — he also promotes a system of checks and balances to slow change down. Moreover, the powers that be in the Republican party have been doing things a certain way for a century and a half. They are not going to give up just because conservatives have won a handful of elections.

Regardless, Cost believes conservative reformers should remain in the party, be inspired by recent conservative wins and continue to push the big rock uphill toward reform.

–Dana

NOTE: I’m adding Nate Silver’s “graphic conception of the GOP field” as I think it’s helpful to have a visual of the various divisions and overlaps of the current GOP field. Thanks to Kevin M. for the link.

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Does Ted Cruz’s Legislative Record Show Him to Be Confrontational?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Noah Rothman at Hot Air:

Cruz’s approach to legislating since he took a seat in the Senate 26 months ago has been confrontational, self-aggrandizing, and alienating to adversaries and allies alike.

Is that borne out by objective fact, or simply an impression fostered by Big Media and repeated by Rothman? The Hill cites an objective study of Cruz’s legislative record and shows that, applying a measure of bills introduced and votes cast, Cruz is hardly the loner that Big Media and Rothman claim:

Let’s look at bills passed by this Republican Senator in a Democrat-controlled Senate, comparing his record to other Senators:

Cruz has sponsored only one bill that was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama.

In April 2014, Cruz introduced legislation to prevent representatives to the United Nations who are believed to be spies or terrorists from entering the country. It was approved unanimously by the House and Senate and signed into law only weeks after having been introduced.

The legislation was provoked by Iran’s pick of Hamid Aboutalebi to act as ambassador to the U.S. In the late 1970s, Aboutalebi was a member of a group that seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held dozens of Americans hostage for more than a year.

. . . .

While it’s just one bill, Cruz is no outlier here. Only four Republican Senators in the 113th Congress had more than one bill signed into law, and another 16, like Cruz, had just a singular bill signed into law.

The piece also says that Cruz “has a history of breaking with GOP leadership on votes, although it’s not as extreme as one might suppose.”

In 684 votes spanning his entire time in the Senate, Cruz has bucked party leadership 73 times. His 82.8 percent rate of voting with the party in the 113th Congress ranks him 29th out of 45 Republicans.

Similarly: “The 65 amendments Cruz put forth in the 113th Congress ranks him 12th in his party and 13th overall.”

As a constitutionalist, I would measure Cruz’s success as a legislator more by what he can repeal than by what he can pass. And of course, with Barack Obama in the White House, he can’t pass a law to repeal much of anything. But he can lead an effort to try to repeal the worst legislation passed during Obama’s tenure. And he has — an effort that gave Republicans a black eye that led to their huge losses in 2014. (Eye roll.)

And it is this area and this area alone, as far as I can tell, where Cruz is seen as such a troublesome meddler. He has had friction with party leadership over his desire to repeal ObamaCare. He has risked his political reputation over his desire to repeal ObamaCare.

Or, you may think, he has taken these steps to stake out a position as the main opponent of ObamaCare. In other words, he isn’t being principled but rather opportunistic.

Let’s pretend that view is right. So what?

I don’t really care what Cruz’s internal motivations are, although he does a damned good job articulating them as flowing from a principled constitutionalist view. I just want him to act like a principled constitutionalist. It would be nice if that flowed from actual principle, as I suspect it does. But as long as he keeps acting that way, I don’t much care why he does it.

As for Rothman’s citation of “insiders” who say Cruz can’t win: I’m perfectly happy to listen to people’s electoral predictions. Please show me proof that they predicted Obama would win when he first announced, and I’ll listen to them even more closely. If you can’t show me that proof, then their predictions are just guesses, like anyone else’s.

Breaking News – Senator Hairy Reed To Retire In 2016

Filed under: General — JD @ 7:02 am

[guest post by JD]

Good riddance. 

Discuss. 

—-JD

3/26/2015

Flashback: CNN, 2013: Ted Cruz Sure Is a Hypocrite for Not Going on ObamaCare!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:13 pm

Yup. That was seriously their stance back then.

CNN, 10-24-13: Ted Cruz sure is a hypocrite for getting his health insurance through his wife instead of the ObamaCare exchange.

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who has repeatedly blasted fellow members of Congress and legislative staffers for accepting federal health insurance support, has revealed that his coverage is provided through his wife, a Goldman Sachs executive.

Cruz’s office told CNN Thursday that Cruz is covered by his wife’s policy. Heidi Nelson Cruz’s policy is worth at least $20,000 a year, according to the story as originally reported by the New York Times.

Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the senator, told CNN that “the senator is on his wife’s plan, which comes at no cost to the taxpayer and reflects a personal decision about what works best for their family.” Frazier had previously given the same statement to the Times.

Cruz was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans during the recent government shutdown debate for his calls to strip federal health care support from members of Congress and both legislative and executive branch staffers. Cruz’s critics argue that the support is no different from what other large employers provide for their workers.

Their anger has been magnified by suspicions that the senator does not have to rely on his employer – the U.S. Senate – to get coverage.

Cruz and other Republicans argue that ending the subsidy is only a matter of fairness, and that public officials should be required to get coverage through the Obamacare exchanges with no financial assistance.

CNN, 3-24-15: Ted Cruz sure is a hypocrite for getting his health insurance through the ObamaCare exchange instead of through his wife.

Ted Cruz is going on Obamacare.

The newly announced Republican presidential candidate told CNN’s Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act — a law he has been on a crusade to kill.

“We’ll be getting new health insurance and we’ll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we’ll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange,” Cruz said.

. . . .

Under the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress and some designated congressional staffers are required to obtain health care coverage through the D.C. Health Link Small Business Market. The Office of Personnel Management’s guidelines state that lawmakers and their staff receive a “government contribution” if they get health care coverage through the ACA.

But some lawmakers have declined to accept the contribution, saying they do not want to get special treatment. After the interview, a Cruz spokesperson clarified that he wouldn’t take the contribution.

Cruz’s admission comes one day after CNN first reported that the senator would no longer have access to health benefits through his wife’s employer, Goldman Sachs. Heidi Cruz, a managing director at the firm’s Houston office, has gone on unpaid leave for the duration of the senator’s presidential campaign and will not have access to the company’s benefits during that time.

See what’s going on? When he was getting insurance through his wife, he wanted to end special payments for Congressmen that the rest of the country wasn’t allowed to get. CNN said: HYPOCRITE!!!! You wouldn’t be saying that if you didn’t get insurance through your wife!!!

Now, he can no longer get insurance through his wife, so he will start getting it through his job. He could have done that before ObamaCare and he can still do it now. But, because he opposed the special payments, he declined to take them — the honorable and principled stand. And CNN said: HYPOCRITE!!!! Why don’t you get insurance on your own, like through your wife’s COBRA or something!!!

They will find a way to cackle and fling monkey poo no matter what he does.

(H/t Bridget F.)

Some Bergdahl Flashbacks

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:54 pm

I have been collecting some Bergdahl flashbacks and sharing them on Twitter, and I thought I might share a few of them with you here.

Dana already noted the first two of these:

  • A White House official said that soldiers accusing Bergdahl of desertion were “swift-boating” him.

  • A White House official said that the platoon members accusing Bergdahl of desertion might be “psychopaths.”
  • Eric Boehlert said Fox News smeared Bergdahl:

  • A lefty cartoonist portrayed Fox News as executing Bergdahl:

    Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 8.45.03 PM

  • Justin Baragona at PoliticusUSA assured his readers in June 2014 that Bergdahl-as-deserter was a “made-up scandal.”
  • Heather Digby Parton denounced “hysterical screeching over Bowe Bergdahl the traitor” in June 2014.

Also, for some reason I found this interesting. In a June 2014 article, the L.A. Times chose one Eugene Fidell to consult as an independent expert for a quote about Bergdahl:

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 8.27.28 PM

Yeah, so guess who Bergdahl’s lawyer is today? Eugene Fidell. Man, the L.A. Times sure can pick ‘em.

A Round-Up Of Tangible Commitments And A Pinky-Swear Agreement With Iran

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

With the March 31 deadline looming for an agreement with Iran and with a comprehensive finalized version due June 30, the US is making concessions in order to reach an agreement.

Facing demands by President Rouhani to lift all sanctions in order to reach a “final solution” as opposed to the gradual lifting of sanctions the West prefers, the Obama administration appears willing to make whatever concessions necessary to close the deal:

The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations.

U.S. negotiators are said to have given up ground on demands that Iran be forced to disclose the full range of its nuclear activities at the outset of a nuclear deal, a concession experts say would gut the verification the Obama administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran.

Concern from sources familiar with U.S. concessions in the talks comes amid reports that Iran could be permitted to continue running nuclear centrifuges at an underground site once suspected of housing illicit activities.

This type of concession would allow Iran to continue work related to its nuclear weapons program, even under the eye of international inspectors. If Iran removes inspectors—as it has in the past—it would be left with a nuclear infrastructure immune from a strike by Western forces.

The risk of such a concession:

“Once again, in the face of Iran’s intransigence, the U.S. is leading an effort to cave even more toward Iran—this time by whitewashing Tehran’s decades of lying about nuclear weapons work and current lack of cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy Agency],” said one Western source briefed on the talks but who was not permitted to speak on record.

With the White House pressing to finalize a deal, U.S. diplomats have moved further away from their demands that Iran be subjected to oversight over its nuclear infrastructure.

“Instead of ensuring that Iran answers all the outstanding questions about the past and current military dimensions of their nuclear work in order to obtain sanctions relief, the U.S. is now revising down what they need to do,” said the source. “That is a terrible mistake—if we don’t have a baseline to judge their past work, we can’t tell if they are cheating in the future, and if they won’t answer now, before getting rewarded, why would they come clean in the future?”

Further, as if ensuring Iran’s “nuclear privacy” wasn’t enough, Josh Earnest refused to confirm that there will be a written agreement signed by the Iranians. Three times White House news correspondent Jon Karl pressed Earnest for confirmation of a written deal, and three times Earnest offered non-answers:

Well, Jon, when the President was asked to talk about our ongoing efforts to reach a diplomatic political agreement with the Iranians before the end of March, the President made reference to the fact that we would see and that we, meaning the American people and Congress, would be able to take a close look at the terms of that agreement.

Now, the terms of that agreement are going to be — it’s a political agreement, right, so they’re making certain commitments to do certain things. The details of those commitments are extraordinarily important and there will be a process for hammering out those details. But the President was clear that the kinds of commitments that we seek from the Iranians are the kinds of things that we would be able to show to members of Congress and show publicly to share with our allies, including Israel, about what kind of commitments Iran has made.

So I don’t want to prejudge the process here at all, or to prejudge sort of the outcome of the talks because there’s the chance that a deal is not reached. But we certainly would want and expect that if a deal is completed, it will include tangible, specific commitments that have been made by the Iranians.

Pressing Earnest again:

Well, again, Jon, we’re going to seek very tangible commitments from the Iranians, and the President made a commitment to sharing those tangible commitments with members of Congress and with our allies.

When asked to clarify “tangible commitments”:

“And what I’m saying is that you can — that as we move through this process of negotiating with the Iranians and our P5+1 partners, we hope to be able to elicit tangible commitments that the Iranians have made that we can then share with our P5+1 partners, with our allies, and with the United States Congress, all of whom have a legitimate claim to understand exactly what kind of commitments Iran has made in this process, if they make them.”

Rush pointed out the obvious:

If there is a nuclear deal with Iran, it may not be committed to paper. It may not be written down. And if it isn’t written down, obviously there’s no way anybody can verify what it actually says. And if it isn’t written down, any signature that is said to accompany it is meaningless.

If a deal is reached, “the United States and its five negotiating partners may find themselves in the uncomfortable position of describing the accord as they understand it while the Iranians go home to offer their own version.”

So, in other words, folks, the Iranians might tell their people that they’re still gonna continue to pursue nuclear weapons, but the Regime, the Obama Regime will probably explain that they’re only saying that for domestic consumption. It isn’t gonna be written down. The Iranians can go home and tell their people whatever they want.

[W]e’re gonna have two different characterizations of the deal, or we likely could. Nothing’s gonna be written down. So we’re gonna have to take somebody’s word for what it is. The Obama administration, do they really think they can make a gentleman’s agreement with these lunatics in Iran? Do they really think they can take the mullahs at their word? I think Obama does.

And although there is not yet a deal secured, the White House already has their strategy in place on how to sell one to Congress and the American people:

The White House is gearing up to unleash an unprecedented campaign to sell a nuclear deal with Iran, should President Obama secure it, in a bid to win over divided Americans, skeptical lawmakers and wary Middle Eastern allies.

The blueprint for defending the legacy-defining agreement was described to Yahoo News by current and former officials from the administration and Congress.

Obama and his top national security and foreign policy aides will defend the deal forcefully to the public and in private talks with wavering senators and representatives. They will emphasize the deal’s intrusive monitoring and verification of Iranian nuclear facilities, an approach national security adviser Susan Rice recently summarized in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as “distrust and verify.” They will defend the easing of crippling economic sanctions in return for steps Iran is taking to assure the world that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

We’re in good hands.

–Dana

Ignorant Parents Encourage Children To Use Vietnam Memorial As A Jungle Gym – In Front Of Veterans

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]

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This is The Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington D.C. As you can see, it is also doubling as a jungle gym for children.

[Matthew Munson] was taking photos when girls showed up, and says at first he didn’t think anything of it. He says he was waiting for them to move so he could take more pictures when their parents showed up and told the girls “to get on for pictures.” He says the kids were treating the memorial like a jungle gym.

“The parents were laughing while trying to get their kids to pose,” Munson wrote on Reddit. “There was a crowd of tourists forming around the parents just glaring at them. It was all pretty brutal to watch.”

Veterans watched the antics:

“They looked hurt more than angry. They were quiet. That’s when I noticed a big group around the parents glaring at them, the pressure was intense and the kids blissfully ignorant. That’s when I snapped the picture.”

Reaction to the children playing on the memorial was what you would expect – outrage over the disrespectful behavior being encouraged by parents. However, there are also those who see this as anything but disrespectful:

Some saw the carefree children as the very thing veterans fought to enable. One user told of how his grandfather, a World War II veteran, loved watching kids play on a local memorial that had names of lost friends — including his brother — on it.

“He saw it as a way for the next generation to take some joy out of something so terrible and at the same time gave them a link to the past,” the commenter wrote, noting that some kids would stop to read names or be prompted to read up on the history.

Another said his grandfather, also a World War II vet, let him play on local memorials in town, adding “I think they fought so kids can freely be kids.”

Parents encouraging their children to behave rudely and disrespectfully at a war memorial? If I had been there, I would not have been able to remain silent. Not for one second.

–Dana

Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:23 am

First he locked the main pilot out of the cockpit — which pilots can do, thanks to 9/11 — and then deliberately crashed the plane.

The co-pilot’s name: Andreas Lubitz. Religion: unknown.

Hmmmmm. One gets the feeling that there will be a lot of interest in Mr. Lubitz’s life in the weeks and months leading up to this crash. For now, let’s call it what it was: mass murder.

3/25/2015

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl To Face Charges (Added: Administration Comments On Bergdahl)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:11 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Army is charging Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy”:

The charges were announced by the service at Fort Bragg, N.C., hours after the 28-year-old was handed a charge sheet, according to one of his attorneys. Bergdahl will next face a preliminary Article 32 hearing, which is frequently compared to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court.

If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison.

The Army’s decision comes after nearly 10 months of debate about whether Bergdahl should face charges and about the circumstances of his recovery. Critics — and an independent review by the Government Accountability Office — said President Obama broke the law in authorizing the release of five Taliban detainees held by the United States in exchange for Bergdahl without consulting Congress. Others have insisted that Washington had a responsibility to bring Bergdahl home by any means necessary.

As you recall, in 2014, the administration released five high-risk and dangerous Taliban leaders in exchange for Bergdahl.

The five Taliban leaders have been living the good life in an exclusive neighborhood in Doha, Qatar with their families as part of the agreement with the United States. They are to remain there for one year.

Sadly for us, not all five are happy with their lot in life:

Reports are circulating among senior Taliban commanders that at least two of them are eager to leave Qatar and return to the war zone. The reunion could get ugly. One of the reputed malcontents, Mullah Fazl Akhund, was head of the Taliban regime’s army until his capture during the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Senior Taliban members say he’s convinced he should lead the insurgency. He regards Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the current chief of the group’s ruling council, as a usurper. One senior commander says members of Mansour’s circle, trying to head off a power struggle, have warned Western intelligence that Fazl is likely to join ISIS if he’s allowed to leave Qatar.

For some reason, tonight when the major broadcast networks were reporting on the Bergdahl charges, they chose not to mention that back in June, 2014, Susan Rice insisted that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction” and told Americans not to worry about the five Taliban members being a threat to the Unite States:

“assurances relating to the movement, the activities, the monitoring of those detainees [released in exchange for Bergdahl] give us confidence that they cannot and, in all likelihood, will not pose a significant risk to the United States. And that it is in our national interests that this transfer had been made.”

(Formal apologies should be offered immediately to Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers who were accused of lying and being psychopaths when they claimed Bergdahl had deserted. The White House should go first, leading by example.)

ADDED: Megyn Kelly asked Jen Psaki tonight whether the Bergdahl exchange had been worth it:

“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” Jen Psaki told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.” “We have a commitment to our men and women serving in the military, defending our national security every day, that we’re going to do everything to bring them home if we can, and that’s what we did in this case.”

I was disappointed that Kelly did not point-blank ask Psaki when Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers can expect an apology from the White House for smearing them. I hope in the next few days we see media outlets boldly put the question to the White House. After all, don’t those who really do “serve with honor and distinction” deserve that respect from their Commander in Chief?

–Dana

Hacks Still Pushing the “Ted Cruz Is a Hypocrite” Line

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 pm

Some guy named Igor Something or Other has a post at ThinkProgress titled Ted Cruz Wants You To Believe He’s Legally Required To Sign Up For Obamacare. He’s Not.

Yes, he is.

If I were to str-e-e-e-tch to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, I guess I would say that it depends on what you mean by “sign up for ObamaCare.” Cruz is legally required to obtain an insurance plan that meets the ridiculous one-size-fits-all “minimum” standards of an ObamaCare plan, or pay a penalty. Sorry: a “tax.”

He doesn’t have to do this on an exchange, but apparently, he will (while getting zero benefit from the exchange). So what?

If he complies with this law, which he hates (as I do), and which he wants to repeal (as I do), that does not mean that he is endorsing ObamaCare because he is signing up for a plan that he is legally required to buy. And nobody is denying that he is legally required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty (sorry: “tax”). They just seem to think he is a hypocrite for doing so on one of the exchanges. What the holy f[vowel deleted]ck does it matter whether he gets his overpriced plan on an exchange or not? He is getting no subsidy. He is entitled to one under a Harry Reid “don’t make us follow our own law” provision and is rejecting it. How in the name of all that is holy does this make him a hypocrite???

A guy called James Downie at the WaPo says Cruz is a hypocrite for “going on ObamaCare,” which also implies that the real problem is Cruz’s plan to use an exchange. Downie at least admits that Cruz must “purchase a plan that meets minimum standards established under Obamacare” and that he will “reject the 75 percent employer contribution that the federal government decided to continue offering to all members and their staffs.” Yet Downie finds “hypocrisy” in the simple fact that “[t]he law does not require Cruz to get health insurance on the exchanges.” Downie’s position implies that Cruz’s Big Issue with ObamaCare is the exchanges, use of which is the only thing Cruz is doing that he is not required to do.

Wrong, Downie. Cruz’s problem is not the exchanges. It is the law itself. It is the requirement that people buy something Congress has no constitutional authority to make them buy. It is the interference with the operation of the free market, which causes distortions in the marketplace, leading to inefficiency, waste, higher costs, and eventually to rationing. Find me a clip of Cruz saying: “Hey, I’m cool with the President forcing people to buy insurance with federally mandated minimum coverage standards; I just don’t like the exchanges” and I will quit blogging tomorrow.

The ridiculous arguments don’t end there. A guy calling himself David Ferguson at Raw Story has a deceptive headline titled Ted Cruz wasn’t forced to sign up for Obamacare — no matter what he says. Ferguson tells the following whopper:

In other words, under Obamacare, Ted Cruz can insure his family any way he likes, but if he wants the government to shoulder part of the burden, he will have to use the exchanges.

Well, first of all, he doesn’t want the government to shoulder part of the burden. Again: Cruz has explicitly said he will reject any Harry Reid “exempt us from our own law” contribution from the government.

But, more fundamentally, how stupid and/or dishonest do you have to be so say that “Ted Cruz can insure his family any way he likes”?? Oh, really? So all of a sudden, Ted Cruz can buy a non-approved plan that does not meet the ObamaCare standards? And he doesn’t have to pay a penalty (sorry, “tax”)? Is that what you are saying, David Ferguson? Or are you saying that he is free to get no health insurance and pay a penalty — just as you are free to rob liquor stores “any way you like” as long as you pay the penalty of going to prison for the legally specified amount of time? Just what are you saying??

But what really takes the cake is the way CNN took a quote from Cruz on this issue and sliced it up to make it mean the precise opposite of what he intended. Here is the original quote:

It is one of the good things about Obamacare, is that the statute provided that members of Congress would be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans, so there wouldn’t be a double standard.

The bold part of that statement makes it clear that he is saying it is good that the idiots in Congress who passed this crap sandwich are going to be forced to personally take a bite.

Watch how, at :50 in this clip, they cut off the part of the quote I have placed in bold, to suggest that Cruz is actually saying that it’s a “good thing” that ObamaCare lets Congressman get that good ObamaCare health insurance:

Make sure and keep watching to enjoy the media hyenas yukking it up at old Ted’s “hypocrisy.” Yuk yuk yuk! If I were physically in the room with them, I’m not sure I’d be able to restrain myself from walking over and slapping them.

They act as if, absent ObamaCare, Ted Cruz would be unable to obtain health insurance at all.

There is a “good thing” about the chuckling morons on CNN: they illustrate a common fallacy about government-arranged programs. Namely, people seem to think that, without the thing the government is providing, the good would not exist at all.

If government didn’t provide welfare, then the people collecting welfare would get zero help from society and would all starve! (But we used to have things called “charities” that did this; there are rumors some of them still exist.) If government didn’t have federal money for education, local school districts would all go broke! (How did children ever get educated before Jimmy Carter’s presidency?)

And if the government didn’t provide health insurance through ObamaCare, there would be no such thing as health insurance!

So Ted Cruz wants health insurance, and health insurance is now provided through ObamaCare? Well then he is a hypocrite! I explained this fallacy to my daughter and showed her the CNN clip above, and she said: “Did they really forget that health insurance was around before four years ago?” (My answer, as it often is, is that it’s tough to say for sure whether certain people are liars or idiots.)

The hypocrisy doesn’t end there, folks! Did you know Ted Cruz wants to abolish the IRS, yet he still pays his taxes???!!! (H/t Allahpundit.) Well then he is a hypocrite!!!! Yuk yuk yuk, I mean it’s just so deeply ironic, gosh, I just don’t know what to say, ha, ha!

Keep me out of the same room as these people. Please.

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