Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gave a 21-hour speech on the Senate floor Tuesday and Wednesday — an impressive feat of stamina, if nothing else. Even Jon Stewart at The Daily Show is impressed, dedicating the entire first half of Wednesday night's show to the quasi-filibuster.
Cruz must feel very strongly that ObamaCare is a grave threat to the very freedom of the United States if he's willing to stand and talk for 21 hours — and compare the health care law to Nazi Germany, Stewart said. And "as a brilliant, Harvard-educated lawyer and Princeton debate champion," Stewart added, he must have worked up a "stunning and sophisticated argument as to why ObamaCare places this very nation in such peril."
Roll tape of Cruz talking about how he once tweeted a speech by Ashton Kutcher. Pregnant pause. "You're f--king with us, right?" Stewart deadpanned. He went on to show a highlight reel of Cruz talking about the TV show Duck Dynasty, lauding White Castle burgers, making Star Wars analogies, and, of course, reading Green Eggs and Ham.
Stewart's point isn't just to mock Cruz, though he does that. It's to point out that if the Tea Party star is going to "cast himself as Churchill to Obama's Chamberlain in the great fight against Hitler's health care exchanges," he has to do better than read children's literature and praise fast food franchises.
But Cruz did have more than that, and Stewart shifted gears and showed some of his more substantive concerns about ObamaCare. Stewart even conceded that the law isn't flawless: "It's not — it was designed by Congress, and nothing designed by Congress is perfect."
Still, Cruz's foundational concern about ObamaCare is that it kills jobs and stifles growth. And Stewart had a substantive comeback of his own: The economic effects of ObamaCare can't really be known until the law kicks into gear, but the across-the-board budget cuts from sequestration have already cost us 375,000 jobs and lowered growth, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
How did Cruz feel about those cuts? He praised them and said they were merely a "small step" toward reining in government spending and debt. And it's not just that Cruz favors some job cuts and economy crimps over others, Stewart added — it's that when it comes to proposing a better plan to deal with America's health care mess, Cruz has nothing. Stewart ends the segment reading from a fictitious Dr. Seuss book his staff wrote in Cruz's honor: The Bore-ax.
Over at The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert is a little more dazzled. He points out that Cruz did, sort of, offer a solution, drawing from Duck Dynasty. Watch:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- California's epic drought
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 10 things you need to know today: September 20, 2014
- Peter Thiel, and the not-so-secret secret of innovative success
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week