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October 11, 2013 1:14 PM The Destabilizer Is Destabilized

By Ed Kilgore

There’s been so much going on in Washington this last week that it was easy to forget that one of the city’s perennial spectacles was being held: that Christian Right outpost in sinful Babylon, the Value Voters Summit, sponsored by Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council (and cosponsored this year by Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation).

Naturally enough, the star speaker this year was that big brawling dreadnought of wingnuttery, Ted Cruz, who happened to address the VVC yesterday, when it looked like House GOP leaders were moving right back to his appropriations-centered fiscal hostage-taking strategy. So he was standing tall and speaking loudly, as reported by The Hill’s Cameron Joseph:

Cruz fired back against any compromise, to the crowd’s delight.
“None of us know what’s going to happen on this ObamaCare fight right now. In my view the House of Representatives needs to keep doing what it’s been doing, which is standing strong,” Cruz said to cheers.

That assessment might have been a little premature, per Politico’s report on the current positioning of House GOP negotiators:

Right now, [House] Republicans want to fund the government through Dec. 15, and lift the debt ceiling through Nov. 20. That would open two tracks for negotiations. Appropriators will develop 2014 spending levels. And then broader fiscal talks — spearheaded by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan and GOP leadership — would proceed alongside the debt ceiling timeline. These talks could include reforms to the tax and entitlement systems.

See anything in there about Obamacare? I didn’t, either. Indeed, right now the best prospects for any action on Obamacare may be emerging from Cruz’s most immediate enemies, the RINO squishes of the Senate GOP leadership, who are pushing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax as part of a deal that would release both the appropriations and debt limit hostages.

But the good thing about being a Values Voter is that whenever you don’t seem to be exercising actual power you get to exult in the horror you inspire in others. Cruz really seems to have the hang of that particular appeal:

The speech was interrupted more than a half-dozen times by protestors, which Cruz dismissed as worried Obama backers.
“It seems President Obama’s paid political operatives are out in force today,” he said as one was escorted from the room. “And you know why? Because the men and women of this room scare the living daylights out of them.”

Yeah, but not quite in the way Cruz imagines.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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