Over the weekend, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) pushed against a bipartisan agreement to close shop Friday, pushing for a vote against Pres. Obama’s executive action on immigration. Only 22 senators voted for it. But with the door open, lame-duck Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will now be able to push through several nominees for votes that previously appeared permanently blocked this year. (Update: like sugeon general Vivek Murthy).
The move angered many GOP senators, including Orrin Hatch, and was generally seen by them as counterproductive. But The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis (no liberal, he) likened the Cruz-Lee maneuver to a quarterback scoring a touchdown for the other team, and how more conservatives need to stand up and point it out:
I’m old enough to remember a time when conservatives who voiced even the mildest criticism of Christine O’Donnell’s playing of the victim card and identity politics were dubbed “the ruling class.” A similar phenomenon occurred with Sarah Palin; any criticism from the right was deemed unchivalrous apostasy — an example of aiding and abetting the liberal media who literally wanted to destroy her. Therefore, even constructive criticism was branded traitorous. Conservative commentators who didn’t want their Twitter timelines filled up with invective — who didn’t want to be branded a RINO — quickly got the message that it was much smarter to remain quiet. (This is not to suggest that Cruz and Lee are exactly like Palin and O’Donnell; they’re not. But it is to suggest that they are employing the same playbook, and that their fans are responding in almost identically credulous fashion.)
In any event, the larger problem is that if conservatives are afraid to say “the emperor has no clothes,” then we will continue rewarding the wrong things, which means conservatives will continue losing. Is it wise to look the other way? It doesn’t do much good to pretend that the touchdown counts for your team when it was scored in the wrong end zone, but what if even after watching the game film, we still decline to tell our star player he cost us the game?
The Left appreciates the efforts of Cruz and Lee. From MSNBC’s Steve Benen, who also uses a football analogy:
The result was an extraordinary gift to Democrats, handed to them by unwitting allies: two conservative Republicans who plainly didn’t know what they were doing.Under the schedule Reid and McConnell agreed upon, the spending bill would get wrapped up long before a possible shutdown, but the future of several pending Obama administration nominees was in doubt – some would get votes, some would probably run out of time.But Cruz and Lee thought they had a better idea: they scuttled the McConnell/Reid deal, demanded a vote on the constitutionality of the president’s immigration policy, and kept the Senate in session for a rare Saturday workday.It was, in terms of Senate procedure, a fumble – and Democrats were only too pleased to pick up the ball and run with it.