There seems to be lots of gnashing of teeth among conservative commentators and columnists over the actions of Senator Ted Cruz. They believe that he is dividing the party by attempting to fight the debt ceiling increase, which forced some Republican Senators to vote for it. The contention being that this stance is distracting from the real midterm election issue: Obamacare, while allowing the Democrats to paint Republicans as the party that wants the government to default on its obligations.
There are a couple of problems with this reasoning. First, allowing the President to get a clean debt ceiling increase cedes to the President his argument that there should be no negotiating over it. Republicans can never again try to get concessions for a debt increase because he will just threaten to shutdown the Government. Another problem with my Conservative friends criticisms is their belief we should just be concentrating on Obamacare as a campaign issue. However that was a main issue in the 2012 election and it wasn’t enough to claim victory.
Finally the argument that trying to limit the amount of debt our Federal Government accumulates leads to voter disapproval should lead Conservatives to ask the question: Have we reached a point in our history where the health of the nations economy has taken a back seat to the welfare state? If this is the case how does that affect Conservatives electability? If voters don’t worry about the national debt, there goes the conservative message of lower spending. If voters don’t want lower spending they will be more inclined to accept higher tax rates. And as we saw in the Presidential election long term high unemployment rates don’t seem to bother the electorate like they once did.
The tactics employed by our fellow conservatives is not the problem, the problem is with an electorate that is insulated from economic pain. And what economic pain they do feel isn’t connected to the policies of the Democratic Party. That should be the focus of my Conservative friends not on handwringing over the tactics of Ted Cruz.