Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and his loyal minion from our state, fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee, are garnering loud cheers from Tea Party enthusiasts, and other conservatives, for their efforts to stop implementation of Obamacare, which starts today. In our opinion, Cruz, Lee and others remind us of chickens with their heads cut off, running blindly into a battle they cannot win.
Cruz and Lee have failed in the Senate. On Friday a strong majority, with lots of Republicans voted for a measure to continue funding the U.S. government. However, Cruz, Lee and others have set their sights on the House of Representatives, which still has a measure in its funding bill that mandates Obamacare be delayed. In the House, Senator Cruz is far more powerful than Speaker of the House John Boehner. If the House offers its Obamacare defunding mandate, or keeps the provision that would delay the individual mandate for a year, there will be a stalemate with the Senate. The result will be a government shutdown, set to occur at the end of Monday.
By the time this editorial reaches readers, we hope that a shutdown has been averted, and that regular operations, such as funding for national parks, have not ceased. But if there is a shutdown, it will be the fault of Senators Cruz and Lee, as well as their allies in Congress. Trying to hijack Obamacare, to use it as a political weapon in a budget battle, is reckless and frankly, egomaniacal.
There's a reason that more mature Republican members of Congress are fed up with the antics of Cruz and Lee. Obamacare is the law of the land. It deserves to be implemented. Once it begins, its success, glitches, or failure will be the responsibility of President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, who passed the law without Republicans' input.
The 21-plus hour "filibuster" that Cruz, Lee and other Republicans conducted last week was harmless political theater. But shutting down the government over a temper-tantrum because a law is passed harms the nation.