Texas senator gives Americans a big holiday gift…accidentally
Merry Christmas, America.
Christmas came early this year. We got a new surgeon general who actually cares about improving our health. We got a new director of immigration and customs enforcement who is Hispanic. We got more than two dozen confirmations that are crucial to the functioning of our government—and the best part is that these leaders are not all old, white, heterosexual men. Women, African Americans, Hispanics, and LGBT folks are heavily represented in this group.
And who was starring in the role of Santa Claus? None other than Sen. Ted Cruz. Like other mythical Christmas conversion figures, his reputation was that he was a stingy man with a heart that was “two sizes too small.” However, unlike Scrooge and the Grinch, his Christmas largesse was not a product of seeing the light and changing his ways. His Christmas miracle was brought to fruition inadvertently.
The narrative began with President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Vivek H. Murty as surgeon general. His nomination languished in the Senate, blocked by Republican obstructionists and a fierce lobbying campaign by the NRA. They opposed Dr. Murty’s plans to improve America’s healthcare system and his goal of making healthcare available to all Americans. They also opposed his view that the epidemic of gun violence in America is a public health issue, and that common-sense gun regulation could help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and homicidal maniacs.
For more than a year, his confirmation was blocked. Even during the Ebola “crisis,” when the necessity of having a surgeon general in place was a no-brainer, Republican obstructionists refused to budge. Of course, this did not stop them from complaining about the administration’s response to Ebola, while glossing over the fact that they had failed to confirm the surgeon general.
The next chapter of the Christmas miracle narrative begins with Santa Cruz’s seething hatred of the president and his overwhelming impulse to record his opposition to the new immigration policies. Cruz used a “point of order” to manipulate getting a vote on the “constitutionality of funding” the president’s immigration policies. Unfortunately for him, scheduling this vote forced the Senate to stay in session Friday night and Saturday. That move gave Democrats time to clear all the procedural hurdles for the confirmation of the nominations that had been blocked.
Cruz got his vote…and Democrats got a truckload of confirmations. Poor old Santa Cruz lost, 22 to 74, but Americans will enjoy this inadvertent gift for years to come. We now have a surgeon general who is not afraid to tackle the immense problem of gun violence. We have a director at ICE with a Hispanic perspective. We have 12 new federal judges who will add much-needed diversity to our judicial system. These judges will be much more concerned with justice for average Americans instead of being lap dogs for rich corporations.
Thank you, Ted Cruz.
Who says Santa doesn’t exist? Even if he didn’t mean to.