The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


I’m fed up with politics

This video frame grab image from Senate TV shows Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaking on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday. (Courtesy of AP)

Senator Ted Cruz recently spoke for 21 hours in support of an effort to defund Obamacare. It struck me as odd that he’d speak for 21 hours in support of something which procedurally is impossible, but then I realized that isn’t the true reason why he spoke.

Senator Cruz didn’t speak in support of an effort to defund Obamacare at all. He spoke in support of the media coverage, name recognition and conservative bona fides he will need to run for president in 2016.

I am a man with great faith in the political process. I love policy, I love watching campaigns and I’ll watch hours of C-SPAN without a second thought. I’ve devoted my college career to learning more about this topic I love, and even have a special place in my heart for the arcane aspects of legislative process that make most other people roll their eyes.

But if Cruz’s exploitation of the ignorance of the American people is the new path to the White House, I’m done. If the American people reward his grandstanding with their money, with their votes or with their support, I’ll throw my hands up and find something new to do.

I have nothing against Cruz wanting to make a name for himself in anticipation of an eventual presidential campaign. He wouldn’t get my vote, but he’s free to do that. What I take issue with is the way in which he decided to make that name for himself.

It used to be that if a senator wanted to run for president, he’d try to rack up some accomplishments. Lyndon B. Johnson rose through the ranks of Senate leadership remarkably quickly and at a young age, and successfully navigated a civil rights bill through a Senate which had a reputation for filibustering such bills to death. He got media coverage for being a master at forming coalitions and getting legislation passed.

The exact opposite seems to be true today. Trying to form coalitions to get landmark legislation passed seems now to be a sure path to defeat. Senator Marco Rubio, whose presidential ambitions are well known, tried to use his position as a leader of the conservative wing of the Republican Party to get an immigration bill passed. He fought long and hard to work on a bill that would be able to get the support necessary to pass. His reward? He’s nosedived in recent primary polls.

Cruz seems to have gotten the idea of talking his way to 2016 from Rand Paul. They’re allies in the Senate, and Cruz helped Paul out quite a bit in his 13 hour filibuster last spring. But for one, Paul’s filibuster was actually a filibuster: a real attempt to delay Senate action until the White House said they wouldn’t use drones to kill U.S. citizens. Cruz spoke after the Senate action was already scheduled, and his action had no intent or ability to delay anything. He spoke because he could.

Paul’s filibuster stayed on topic, he actually talked about drones for all 13 hours. Cruz spent most of the time making lame pop culture references, reading Dr. Seuss and for some reason, telling Senator Mike Lee “I am your father,” because “Star Wars” is apparently relevant to the health care debate.

He showed no interest in proposing any actual policy solutions of his own. His view on how to fix the way insurance companies deal with patients with preexisting conditions? “We ought to reform the market to deal with that problem.”

Instead, he spent the entire time simply lying to the American people about what the budget process would let him do, and pretending that he had the majorities that would allow him to try.

Is showing skill at actual legislative work no longer the path to the White House? Is showboating the only way to get noticed in the modern media landscape?

This is a disgusting reality and should not be encouraged.

I’ll throw my support behind candidates who have shown they are interested in solving problems, rather than exploiting them. I’ll throw my support behind candidates who would rather work behind the scenes than see themselves on TV. I’ll do my best to make sure that candidates who act like Cruz aren’t rewarded. Cruz shouldn’t be victorious over candidates like Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush or Paul, who have all shown they’re interested in actually governing.

The American people have been taken for a ride on Cruz’s road to the White House, and they shouldn’t be okay with that.

If this is the political reality that I’ll enter after graduating, I’m not interested. I didn’t get interested in politics because I liked watching people stroke their own egos. If this is what politics has become, I don’t want anything to do with it.

Keene is a senior majoring in public policy, political science and economics.

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