Although his marathon speech angered some U.S. Senate colleagues and members of the DC establishment, Ted Cruz’s anti-Obamacare dialogue solidified support for the Texas senator in the state that hosts the first-in-the-nation caucus.
Cruz had already fired up Iowa conservatives during his recent visits. His attempt to defund Obamacare added plenty of fuel to that fire. Cruz’s 21-hour, 19-minute, filibusteresque speech on the U.S. Senate floor has Iowa Republicans across the spectrum praising him.
“Simply put, he seems to be one of the few in D.C. who actually understand that they work for us,” said Aaron Gunsaulus, a Newton pastor. “He’s my current favorite, should he run in 2016.”
The looming Obamacare deadline has many Americans worried about what will happen to their health insurance. Even Obama’s liberal allies, like unions, are asking for exemptions. As Cruz pointed out repeatedly, the promises made by the Democrats that their health insurance wouldn’t change and this Obamacare would make it more affordable is ringing hollow, and Cruz’s seemingly quixotic effort to defund it is making him a hero to many Iowa conservatives.
“I was impressed by the sheer number of inspirational moments,” said former state Senator Jeff Angelo. “I think his remarks transcended concerns about Obamacare. I think he articulated the concerns of a majority of Americans who believe that Washington just isn’t listening anymore. He’s definitely positioned himself as a leader in the movement against the political ruling class in DC.”
One of the highlights of Cruz’ extended monologue was when he read Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” Tuesday night. The tactic was met with derision from the left, with the media even drudging up liberal professors to claim Dr. Seuss would be “offended” by what Cruz was doing.
However, Cruz won that PR battle by pointing out that he likes to read stories to his daughters at bedtime, then an aide tweeted a picture of Cruz’s children watching him on TV as he read the Dr. Seuss classic.
“I found it refreshing,” said Austin Harris, a high school student and activist from Moulton. “Defunding Obamacare is our best chance right now and Senator Cruz did an amazing job of articulating the dangers of the ACA. I never considered him as my candidate for President but now I would definitely consider him. I think he is a man of courage, conviction, and principle and I like that a lot.”
Further fueling the anti-Obamacare fervor is the hypocrisy shown in the implementation of the new law. Congress and the White House are exempt from their plan they are forcing Americans to buy into. And many of those evil corporations Obama repeatedly railed against in his campaigns are receiving waivers.
‘They need to eliminate all exemptions, including themselves. We are all equal and should be treated that way,” said Guthrie County activist Myrna Beeber. “I already had a high respect for Senator Cruz and I have even more respect for him now.”
“I thought he made compelling arguments on why ACA should not be allowed to be fully implemented,” said Karen Fesler, a Johnson County activist and campaign veteran. “I appreciated his several shout outs to Senator Grassley. He truly drew a line in the sand for his Senate colleagues. We will see how effective his valiant effort actually was if ACA is not funded in the continuing resolution.”
Conservative pundits like Charles Krauthammer voiced opposition to Cruz’ tactics in trying to defund the Obamacare. The praise for Cruz was not unanimous among Iowa Republicans either.
“This was not a filibuster of Obamacare,” said Chad Airhart, a Dallas County activist and elected official. “This was a filibuster of the house bill that actually accomplished Cruz’s goal of defunding Obamacare, a bill he had been requesting the House pass for weeks. In my opinion, Cruz and the GOP leadership in Washington would have been better off to attempt a delay on the implementation of Obamacare, trying to make changes to the bill during a delay, rather than this tactic that was just a really long speech that accomplished nothing legislatively, only politically.
Regardless of whether the Texas senator’s method accomplishes the stated goal, he is providing something that many in the Republican Party feel is sorely lacking.
“I believe in an era that seems to lack leadership at so many levels, Ted Cruz took a stand and did something to try to make a difference,” said Nik Rule of Oskaloosa, a staffer on Fred Thompson’s 2008 campaign. “Whether as Republicans we agree with the tactics or not, at least someone is thinking outside the box in trying to bring to light. The potential devastating effects that this piece of legislation could have on the future prosperity of America.”
“While I respect the disagreement amongst Republicans when it comes to the tactics of undoing Obamacare, it was hard not to feel like Cruz was finally putting up the fight we have been looking for,” added Cerro Gordo County GOP Chair Gabe Haugland, who aided Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign. “If Harry Reid is being honest when he says that Obamacare will lead to fully socialized healthcare, then there is no procedural Senate tactic that is off-limits in my book.”
Ted Cruz returns to Iowa next month to headline a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa on October 25 and Congressman Steve King’s annual “Defenders of Freedom” event on October 26. The conservative firebrands will also hunt pheasant together on that date.
Cruz has already laid a lot of groundwork in Iowa to be considered a legitimate contender to win the 2016 Iowa Caucus. In fact, although it is still early, he is far ahead of the rest of the field in terms of building support in Iowa. If he keeps taking the fight to the Democrats like he did for 21 hours under a national spotlight, Ted Cruz has an enormous opportunity to win over Iowa Republicans who cast the first crucial vote in the presidential process.
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