JEREMY W. PETERS
NEW YORK TIMES
On Tuesday night as [Senator Ted Cruz] spoke, his political action committee was hosting a $2,500-per-plate fund-raiser in Washington. A television provided a live feed of his speech…A few days before Mr. Cruz took to the Senate floor on Tuesday, members of his staff began reaching out to some of the country’s leading conservative grass-roots groups. They were cryptic and unspecific, saying only that something big was coming, according to one activist who was contacted, and that they should be prepared to activate their social networks and spread the word. They sprang into action once the senator began talking. They used the Twitter hashtag his staff provided — #MakeDCListen — to rally their followers online, and deluged their subscriber lists with millions of e-mails telling people to call their senators and demand they support Mr. Cruz as he pulled his all-nighter.
President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans share one piece of common ground in the stalemate over the budget and the debt ceiling: Neither side wants to budge. U.S. business leaders are weighing in with their own message for the two parties: It’s not our job to save Washington from itself… With four days to go before federal spending authority runs out and a few weeks until the U.S. hits its borrowing limit, executives who’ve engaged in past Washington fiscal battles say while they’d prefer that the government not shut down, their top concern is avoiding a federal default.
In his second inaugural address, President Obama delivered a ringing pledge of U.S. support for American ideals around the world. … Just eight months later, the idealism is gone. In what may be the most morally crimped speech by a president in modern times, Mr. Obama explicitly ruled out the promotion of liberty as a core interest of the United States. Instead, he told the U.N… America’s core interests consist of resisting aggression against allies; protecting the free flow of energy; dismantling terrorist networks… and stopping the development and use of [WMD’s] … To say that America cares more about the flow of oil than the rights of men and women is to diminish the U.S. soldiers and diplomats who have sacrificed to far higher purpose than Mr. Obama would acknowledge. It is to cede the exceptionalism argument to Vladi¬mir Putin.
NEW YORK TIMES
Cruz is basically a roadblock with a Princeton debate medal. But he’s managed to achieve what no one else, from the president to the American public, has been able to do in recent years: unite the vast majority of Congress around one great idea. Which is, in this case, hatred of Senator Ted Cruz. His 21-hour performance, by the way, was apparently not an official filibuster. But since nobody wants to discuss Senate rules, let’s just recall “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” when Senator Jimmy Stewart stood up in defiance of his misguided or corrupt colleagues and filibustered until he collapsed on the floor. … Nothing this week was nearly that cool.
The difference between the two men has nothing to do with who hates Obamacare more. Rather, their difference is one of character. McCain exhorts his colleagues to serve a cause greater than self, as he did as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Cruz acts as though the greatest cause is himself. A casual observer of Cruz’s antics could see what his colleagues had been grumbling about privately: that his time on the Senate floor was an exercise in self-promotion.
We wish we could say that Cruz and his allies have devised a workable strategy of their own. Instead, they want Republicans to refuse to vote for any legislation to fund the government unless it includes language denying funds to Obamacare. The history of the shutdowns of 1995–96 — the real history, that is, not the revisionist version that some advocates of this strategy have persuaded themselves to believe — suggests that this plan is unlikely to work. It could even help President Obama, whose numbers have been falling all year, to make a comeback that will give a lift to his entire agenda.
When Dwight Eisenhower asked Gen. Georgy Zhukov how the Red Army cleared minefields, Zhukov replied that it marched through them. Being profligate with lives is a perquisite of command and a luxury of those with an abundance of lives at their command. Some congressional Republicans, who do not command their party but can implicate it in their marches through minefields, might resuscitate Barack Obama’s presidency by restocking his pantry of excuses: The economy’s continuing anemia will ever after be blamed on any government shutdown