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ACA Showdown About Principles, Passion

by Bruce Edward Walker

Say what you will about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), but his principled stands against the funding and implementation of the Affordable Care Act renders him a hero in my book.

Yet pundits of every stripe depict Sen. Cruz’s efforts as a quixotic quest. Some cast the firebrand as concerned more with his own ambition than the best interests of the United States. Once again, I couldn’t disagree more.

When did we become so cynical, so political? Isn’t it possible the passionate behavior displayed by Sen. Cruz and his Sancho Panzas in the U.S. Congress and Tea Party is based on rock-solid principles? I, for one, would like to believe this is the case.

I’m certain those who spend the majority of their time gazing into crystal balls, reading tea leaves or employing empty shot glasses as Ouija board planchettes can discern without doubt the motivations of politicians, but I cannot. Nor can I say whether Sen. Cruz has put his career on autodestruct and deep-sixed the Republican Party’s chances during the next election cycle. I gave up such divination after predicting my Detroit Tigers would sweep the first four games of the 2012 World Series. That last prognostication didn’t turn out so well and somewhere there’s a photo of this sad fan wearing a San Francisco Giants’ ball cap as a result of a feckless bet.

But, just as the Tigers are poised for another fine postseason showing in 2013, politicians will continue to politic and pundits will continue to offer up a variety of opinions on this, that and the other. In the meantime, I root for Max Scherzer to pitch a perfect game and pray Miguel Cabrera’s bat catches fire again soon – and keep in mind that many things can happen between now and the World Series, just as many things can happen between now and November 2014.

In any event, Sen. Cruz might be tilting at windmills in his efforts to defund or delay ACA implementation, but it’s his passion and he’s an elected official who perhaps is placing the perceived needs of his constituency above political expediency. If such is the case, I, for one, admire that. There was a time when passion and principles overruled political “realities” in the United States, and Hollywood made classic movies starring Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur and Claude Rains that heralded such efforts.

Keeping in mind that Stewart’s Jefferson Smith was only trying to get a national Boy Ranger camp built, Sen. Cruz’s efforts are by far more gallant because the stakes are much, much higher. Not for Sen. Cruz’s career – mind you – nor for Republican’s 2014 hopes regardless your view of the long game. There are instead far greater considerations that will impact negatively our nation’s economy, employment and very identity as a great republic should ObamaCare roll out as scheduled whether it’s overturned in the future or not.

Those who oppose ACA and similarly egregious encroachments on American freedoms should applaud every effort, every campaign and every principled angle to push back against them rather than smugly assuming the American public eventually will demand their repeal. What happens in the innings between ACA implementation and its presumed dismantling – to return to our baseball metaphor – could wreak proportionally more devastation on the United States than the Giants performed on the Tigers. No matter that ACA might be overturned in another year or so, enormous damage most assuredly will result in the interim.

Look, you don’t have to like the guy, agree with his politics, admire his stubbornness or support his cause to upend bad legislation – but, if nothing else, my friends, Americans and countrymen, lend Sen. Cruz your ears before dismissing him and his Congressional  allies simply because pundits from all sides of the equation say so. A principled and passionate stand in Congress warrants at least this much.

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