09/26/2013 12:00 AM
09/25/2013 5:33 PM
Now that Sen. Ted Cruz has completed his 21-hour filibuster against the Affordable Care Act whilst reading Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham, it’s a propitious moment to ponder just precisely where the Republican Party stands at this hour.
In the griddle along with the green eggs and ham.
The Republican Party used to have a pretty sellable message. Yes, they have been very much been the party that defends corporate America, but they have also have been the party that defended Main Street America, too. People like that. People also like low tax messages, and they like frugality messages. Before the United States had its quasi-religious schism on abortion rights, there were lots of Republican presidents and presidential candidates who were not, you know, whack.
Let’s consider who potentially wants to run for president:
1. Ted Cruz, a man with a messiah complex.
2. Rand Paul, a man named after Ayn Rand who isn’t all that sold on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
3. Paul Ryan, who wishes he were named after Ayn Rand.
Last time around, the GOP were considering these people who alternately led the pack or looked like they could for a week or two: Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, and Ron Paul.
I wouldn’t want any of the above named people anywhere near the nuclear weapons codes. Say what you will about Mitt Romney, but I wouldn’t have lost one second of sleep if he had been commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces. Nor did I with George W. Bush. Nor did I with his father. Nor did I with Ronald Reagan (ok, maybe a few seconds), and nor did I with Gerald Ford or Richard Nixon, except at the end of his presidency. They also produced Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower.
I have a little game: I try to imagine phrases that candidates use, and see if I can envision Dwight Eisenhower saying them. If I can’t, they’re out. I can’t, for example, see Ike quoting from Green Eggs and Ham.
See? It works rather nicely as template.
You see, unlike Ted Cruz, you have to do a lot of things besides get up and run your mouth when you're president. You have to have independent judgment, maturity, thoughtfulness, a big-heartedness, and the ability to compromise and think flexibly.
The only persons on the GOP side for 2016 who have anything like that are Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. Period.
When I see Ted Cruz, I see a very dangerous and silly man who has no business being considered as a potential president of the United States. Sometimes I wonder whether there is a large segment of the American electorate who sees the president as a kind of national game show host or pastor of an electronic evangelical church. And, to an increasing chunk of GOP primary voters, Ted Cruz is their guy. If Ted Cruz somehow gets the nomination, which I do not rule out, there may not be a viable Republican party around in 2020 for someone to get a nomination from.
Political parties have risen and fallen in America over the past 225 years; it’s part of the natural cycle. So if Ted Cruz, a person who just spent 21 hours on national television debasing whatever is left of shame and probity in Washington, D.C., is what this system produces as a presidential nominee, God save us all, and maybe it’s time to think about breaking up the GOP into the sensible part and the utterly incoherent part.
Dr. Suess also wrote a book called “Yertle the Turtle.” There was a line that aptly described Ted Cruz:
“I’m Yertle the Turtle
Oh marvelous me!
For I am the ruler
of all that I see!”
All that Ted Cruz can see is himself in the mirror, and that’s his sham vision for the future.
I do not like you, Sham-I-Am.
About This BlogJack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.
Join the Discussion
The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.