Bravo, Tea Party!

Bulwark for Nonstop Demagogues

Let’s give the snarling, three-pointed Devils their due. Tea Party backers and insurgents found in Ted Cruz a slick, shiny face to dish out its latest rendition of raising Cain, that is, elevating gasbag demagoguery. I suspect this perverse 20% minority, thrilled at the duration of its chokehold, remains flummoxed such valor didn’t crack Obamacare wide open. You know, just like those intrepid Texans who defeated Santa Ana at the Alamo. Oh, few Texans and a massacre.

Yet let us dwell not in easy gloating that patriotic right wingers didn’t just fail (though the sequester holds) but fell on their smug fat faces, triggering a deluge of disapproval. Instead, behold today’s exceptionalism by “true Americans,” with bragging rights unmatched by any other public entity. Who else would have traded mere gridlock (old stuff) for the drama of hostage-taking wherein the thugs, oddly enough, took themselves hostage? Now that’s news, if not irony, even in Washington.

Name another gang that so fluidly uncovers new heroes to replace fallen champions for, like Halloween cemetery goblins, an inexhaustible parade of goons and buffoons marches on. Here finally is what the Tea Party does best: pinpointing pinheads of demagogic dogmatism, an army of toy Christian soldiers marching as to war, okay, the wrong place at the wrong time. No one is perfect, even God’s chosen.

Let us also celebrate, if only for the record, the staying power of this temper tantrum. What else caused gobsmacked pundits to scour history for kinship, whether Confederate crusaders for slavery, racists fuming over civil rights, Bible-thumpers furious at gay, minority and women’s right, or early, tin-ear cranks bemoaning Social Security and Medicare? This mayhem, alas, has silver linings: the extended TP third finger offended both the Union majority and its own party leaders. Bring it on, tea baggers, the sacred gospel of leaping first and falling on your heads.

Right Wing Messiah Catapult

Second only to Hollywood at clothing meager talents with instant celebrity, the vast Right wing PR Catapult rushes witlings into national battles of wits without checking their armor. Stand aside Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, fatuous hustlers famous for being famous. Enter Senator Cruz, unready for prime time, the latest primitive dragged from the subterranean landscape of the heartless heartland. Look, guys: aren’t Dubya and Rick Perry enough Texas gifts for one generation, let alone Tom DeLay and Dick Armey? Must Texas contribute more flashes in the pan that glow brightly, then descend to infamy and defeat, if not incarceration?

Of course, Tea Party recruitment reflects a wider geographic net, with instant stars like Palin and Bachmann, or Trump and Herman Cain. And every one a bona fide know-nothing magically turned know-it-all. However inexhaustible the TP Poseur Production line, how many have any staying power? Not one, not so far, with national appeal. True, no Texan has yet dislodged Ms. Palin as the least prepared, most bizarre nominee ever from a national party. But not from lack of trying. At least Cruz won’t quit early: his ego revels in the improbably wide ripples from his adolescent mischief.

So far, Cruz falls short in turning this slapstick into Joe McCarthy rampages, mainly because the Texan achieved in months what McCarthy took years to earn: severe Senate condemnation and national disgrace. However, Cruz razzle-dazzled the House, his Senate career as power broker is over, crash-landing after a single launch. His great sacrifice managed, in fact, to combine three huge negatives without a political positive: No! to government operation, No! to keeping our AAA credit, and No! to Obamacare, understandably more popular after feeble assaults. Three whiffs at his first at-bat is a bad strike-out, whatever the TP fundraising gains. That crippled maverick won’t hunt.

More Misrule, the Merrier

Further, if doomed shenanigans put House control at risk, or spur extremist challenges to incumbents, then establishment Rethugs will be forced to pony up millions for damage control — and just to sustain the status quo. What if Cruz’ crash waylays key funds from winnable Senate battles? Like Palin, Cruz’ charisma is a double-edge sword: attracting media glamor means your demise maximizes damage to a fractured, leaderless party. Hammering wedges into painful gaps invites permanent minority misrule. Plus, any more House follies not only jeopardizes its GOP majority but sets up what Democrats haven’t done since Truman: win three presidencies in a row, against all odds.

After all, the sweep of Tea Party failures is now a self-evident truth: this rump can’t govern, slurs good government, lies with abandon (with crude, instantly-checkable deceit!), won’t compromise with heavy majorities, and glories in merging regressive racism laced with scorn for the downtrodden. Did I forget fiascos at fiscal management, support for military nightmares, bloated defense spending and unpopular surveillance of anything that moves? All seasoned with laughable conspiracy theories on Obama, the Benghazi dead-end, and my favorite: the hoax of climate change that manifestly threatens everyone of us.

Other than discredited non-ideas (trickle down, taxes are evil, government a menace, especially the EPA and the ACA), what has the TPGOP to sell not way past its expiration date? Mere hatred of Obama fades when the next white candidate surfaces. What benefits accrue from rearguard defiance of gay rights, or women’s rights, or voting rights? Or touting Romney-friendly tax folly that grows sizeable deficits which then get applied, absurdly, as TP bludgeons government? Say what?

Finally, Cruz isn’t only the latest “phony,” in Catcher in the Rye terms: he’s already drawing unusual slap-downs, as when Harry Reid dismissed this “laughingstock.” Republican Peter King, hardly alone, is no less withering: “if you come up with a strategy that’s going to shut down the government of the United States, and you have no way of winning, you’re either a fraud or you’re totally incompetent,” King told CNN, “We are not going to allow Ted Cruz to hijack this party.”

Losing Hand, Bah!

On top of which, this one-horse pony will fall further by refusing to admit defeat, nor learn from failure: “The American people rose up and spoke with an overwhelming voice,” he bellowed vacuously. Nor will Cruz prosper when his idiotic threats come forth, here from the Values Voter Summit: “We’re nearing the edge of a cliff, and our window to turn things around, my friends, I don’t think it is long. I don’t think it is 10 years. We have a couple of years to turn the country around or we go off the cliff to oblivion.” Into “oblivion” in less than ten years is the more likely Cruz destiny.

Before oblivion, we shall all be saved, however, according to Cruz’ extremist evangelical pastor-father. That preacher humbly anointed his son America’s latest, tin-cup messiah. So let’s all join in, with a stirring anthem in which holy warriors are permanent soldiers, for life is war. Not to worry: for evangelicals like Cruz victory is secure, since “at the sign of triumph” Satan’s host does flee, just like Cruz’ rash of new enemies will, some day.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

Robert S. Becker was educated at Rutgers College (BA) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D, English). He left university teaching (Northwestern, U. Chicago) for business, founding and heading SOTA Industries, high end audio company from '80 to '92. "Writing for the public taught me how to communicate." From '92-02 he did marketing consulting, grant, and business writing. Since '02, he scribbles on politics, science and culture, looking for the wit in the shadows. Read other articles by Robert.