Pundits, politicos and media personalities jumped on the bash-Ted Cruz bandwagon Thursday even as the American public faced the imminent arrival of Obamacare and its threat of higher premiums, degraded health care and rationing.
"You're f------ with us, right?" Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" responded to Cruz' 21-hour Senate speech intended to raise the profile of the problems in the law.
"So to express your opposition to Obamacare, you go with a book about a stubborn jerk who decides he hates something before he's tried it," Stewart continued. "And when he finally gets a taste, he has to admit, after tasting it, 'this is pretty f***ing good.'
"You know what Ted Cruz? The level of threat you say we face from Obamacare isn't met by the quality of solutions and the rhetoric that you offer," he said. "You know, it reminds me of a character I once read about, by I believe one of your favorite authors, Dr. Seuss, in his beloved children's book 'The Bore-ax.'"
Cruz's marathon speech was not technically a filibuster because it didn't delay a vote. But Cruz pointed out over and over Obamacare's shortcomings to members of the Senate, who exempted from Obamacare, and the CSPAN audience.
The New York Times joined joined in the criticism of Cruz: "He has demonstrated how little he understands Senate rules and, more important, how little he appreciates the public's desire for a collaborative Congress."
Nevertheless, CNN derisively asked, "What's Ted Cruz's deal?"
"Cruz could alienate his colleagues to a point where he becomes marginalized and completely ineffective in Washington," the agency criticized, "He has also hinted at a possible presidential run in 2016. If he has no support of the Republican Party, he risks being cut off from its resources and financing."
Ralk radio icon Rush Limbaugh on Thursday talked about Cruz's critics on the air.
"A lot of hate there, folks. A lot of hate, a lot of extremism."
CNN political analyst Gloria Borger reported critics say Cruz is putting his political career above everything else.
"While many others have, no doubt, come to the Senate in the past as a springboard to the presidency, it's hard to recall someone who has created as much controversy within his own party."
But in his own party, specifically the Republicans in the House, there have been dozens of votes to roll back Obamacare or kill it. Their efforts have not advanced because of the Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate.
At GQ, Jason Zengerle opined, "Cruz has become the most despised man in the U.S. Senate. He's been likened to Joe McCarthy, accused of behaving like a schoolyard bully, and smeared by senior members of his own party."
The comments were under the headline "The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas," a reference to a statement by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Zengerle reported one of McCain's advisers said the senior senator is "offended" by Cruz's style.
At National Journal, Lucia Graves admitted Cruz is "correct that three years after its passage, most every poll shows that Obamacare remains unpopular with the American electorate."
But she said even more Americans oppose shutting down the government.
The way the scenario is developing in Washington is this: Obama repeatedly has threatened to veto legislation that would keep the government running if it doesn't fund Obamacare. The majority House Republicans funded the government but not Obamacare. Now the Senate sits between the two opposing forces, and because of the Democratic majority, is expected to restore funding for Obamacare.
That leaves a fight in a conference committee over whether or not to include Obamacare in the spending bill. Obama has threatened to veto anything that does not include it, even if it means his veto would shut down the government.
At the Washington Post, Jonathan Bernstein wrote that the attacks on Cruz – when the media had made a heroine of Wendy Davis when she filibustered for abortion in Texas – weren't really out of line.
After all, he wrote, Cruz's efforts to defund Obamacare are expected not to succeed, while, "As Steve Bene notes: 'Davis succeed in blocking progress on a measure she opposed. Cruz isn't actually having any kind of legislative impact whatsoever.'"
Just about the same time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was calling Cruz's work a waste of time.
However, Davis' effort to continue abortions caused a special legislative session for the Texas legislature, at taxpayer expense, in which lawmakers carried out what Davis had attempted to stop.
Tim McCaughan at CNN cited Cruz's reference to the Dr. Seuss children's book "Green Eggs and Ham."
He noted the moral of the story is that you won't know if you like something if you don't try it.
But Cruz made his own application: "You know 'Green Eggs and Ham' has some applicability as curious as it might sound to the Obamacare debate. Because three and a half years ago, President Obama and Senate Democrats told the American people just try Obamcare. Just try it. There were an awful lot of us, an awful lot of Republicans who were very, very skeptical of it.
"I'll tell you the difference with 'Green Eggs and Ham' is when Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either. They did not like Obamacare in a box with a fox, in a house or with a mouse."
Although a major part of the law kicks in Oct. 1, portions of it already have been implemented.
Piers Morgan guests Mark Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson debated the senator's 21-hour speech.
"This political stunt that Ted Cruz is engaging in will do nothing to help. Even the people who agree with Ted Cruz like Ben Ferguson, I mean, there's actually no benefit to this. There's no potential political victory in what Ted Cruz is doing," said Hill. "I think it's a huge deal that a member of Congress is wasting 30 hours reading 'Green Eggs and Ham' when there are real problems in United States. I don't think however that it's a threat to Obamacare, he doesn't have the votes."
Under the headline "Angry Chris Matthews Calls Ted Cruz 'Problem for Our Republic,'" Matthews said, "He has contempt for the American political system. … His behavior has been totally and utterly destructive."
Wrote Joe Newby at Newsbusters, "Clearly, Cruz has struck a nerve in the Democrat-media complex. So much so that they have decided that Cruz's filibuster really isn't a filibuster after all."
"Senator reads Dr. Seuss in all-night attack on Obamacare," said ABC.