WASHINGTON — Following the epic, 21-hour speech by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, supporting the defunding of Obamacare, either voters made so many calls to establishment Republicans that their phone lines melted, or those GOP leaders took their phones off the hook.
Even in this age of digital wizardry and limitless voicemail, callers could not get through at all to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
A message said the senator was experiencing a high volume of calls and directed members of the public to call back later or visit his website.
It was the same story with the man who was the face of the GOP in the 2008 elections, former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
His phone was off the hook, too. Callers got a message stating his voicemail box was full.
The Arizona senator apparently had other matters on his mind during the Cruz speech, tweeting, “Final episode of #Broadchurch tonight – one of the most entertaining shows on TV right now.”
That prompted conservative commentator Michelle Malkin to tweet, “Meanwhile, McCain is tweeting about a TV show. See the problem here, America?”
Callers to Minority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also got a message saying the line was busy, but at least those callers were sent to voicemail.
“Vile” calls from Cruz supporters
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who has called Cruz a “fraud” for his efforts to defund Obamacare, said Thursday supporters of the Texas senator have been bombarding his office with “vile” phone calls.
“The vehemence of the phone calls coming into the office. I don’t care, people can call me whatever they want … I haven’t heard such vile, profane, obscene language,” King said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday.
“I’m not saying Ted Cruz is responsible for all his supporters, but he has tapped into a dark strain here in the American political psyche here, and again, the most obscene, profane stuff you can imagine all from people who say they support the Constitution,” King said. “I think what we have to do is reach out to his people and let them know that they’re following a false leader here.”
GOP leader opposes defunding
McConnell announced Monday he does not support the attempt by Cruz to defund Obamacare.
The GOP Senate leader claimed he opposes Obamacare, but he refused to support Cruz’s effort to block a vote on cloture, which effectively doomed the House bill that would have defunded Obamacare.
McConnell would have needed to get only 41 out of 46 Republican senators to vote to block cloture, but he would not support the effort.
He, and other establishment Republicans, fear they would take the blame for any government shutdown, even though the House bill is specifically designed to force Democrats to be the ones to shut down the government, should they refuse to defund Obamacare.
Neither party supporting Americans
That puts most Americans in the odd position of having neither the Democratic Party, nor the Republican Party, supporting their position on Obamacare.
A CBS News poll found most Americans, 52 percent, disapprove of Obamacare.
Congressman-physician reveals Obamacare skeletons: Rep. Michael Burgess, a medical doctor for three decades, shows how to preserve top-quality care, cuts costs and reject socialism in his blockbuster book, “Doctor in the House: A Physician-Turned-Congressman Offers His Prescription for Scrapping Obamacare — and Saving America’s Medical System”
Democrats favor the health-care law because they consider it the president’s signature achievement.
Analysts believe GOP leaders refuse to mobilize their rank-and-file to fight Obamcare because they are afraid a government shutdown could cost them at the polls in the 2014 elections.
GOP leader blasted
Since McConnell directed his constituents to go to the Internet to express their views to him, WND went to his Facebook page to see what voters have to say.
At 1:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, McConnell posted this message on his Facebook page:
“All we need are 5 Senate Democrats to show enough courage to stand against their party and with the American people on this vote”
He got more than 100 responses, and almost all of them were extremely critical of the senator.
Only two messages supported McConnell.
Where were you last night, Senator? No where in sight and working to undermine Senator Ted Cruz.
Courage????? where were you when Ted Cruz was fighting to stop this monster!
If you do not, you are finished in politics, we will send you packing!
Shame on your Senator McConnell a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare, did you run on voting in Obamacare? Are you supporting your voters wants? Turn your vote around and support Ted Cruz and Mike Lee!
You sir, are a total sell-out of the people of this country.
We stand with Senator Cruz! If you are not supporting him you are against us and will be voted out! Do the right thing and DEFUND OBAMACARE!!!!!
Shame on you. Stop spreading lies and fear
if you don’t vote NO on cloture McConnell, consider your political career FINITO!!
Defund Obamacare listen to the people for a change.
Carl C. Norman
Stop with the diversion, you need to vote NO to cloture to really want to defund Obamacare. We see what you are doing and we will work hard to see you lose in the next primary.
Debi Lester Doyle
DO NOT VOTE FOR CLOTURE TO CLOSE THE DEBATE UNTIL THERE IS A GUARANTEE OF A CLEAN VOTE FOR THE HOUSE CR. If you are not standing with Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, you are standing with Harry Reid and propping up Obamacare!
Socialist shave taken over the Democratic Party and Weakness has taken over the Republican party. Can’t stand up for Conservatism and lose elections. Thats what we have in our Party.
I want my subsidy like you have.
Do not side with the President and the others that would enslave us and allow ObamaCare to stand. Stop fighting about when and how the best time/way is to fight. Use them all!
Joanna McGrath Reynolds
We want this dangerous government takeover stopped! Defund Obamacare. The 1995 government shutdown didn’t hurt this country, nor did the sequester. The demogogues & fearmongers on the left will say whatever they have to to keep Obamacare alive!
Be true to Republicans. Stand with Senator Ted Cruz!
Sen. McConnell, I surely hope you’ve heard the American People. It sounds as if you have. Vote NO on Cloture!
stop playing games Mitch!!! YOU get on the side of Ted and defund Obama Care!!!
We need You to stop the cloture.
How about some republicans standing with the TEA PARTY to do what they promised the people LAST ELECTION, HUH???????
You should have been supporting Ted Cruz 100% in his fight to get Obamacare defunded. What are you getting out of dog-and-pony show you’re putting on to deceive those who don’t know your true colors?
Thank you Senator Ted Cruz for standing up for the people. Unfortunately you are one of the few politicians that are supporting the will of the people.
America is watching to see which Senators vote “symbolically” and which cast a vote that will actually end ObamaCare.
Really Mitch??? You only need 41 out of 46 Republicans to Defund Obamacare…quit playing games!
Lana Oikle Shannon
Hard to do when you have your own party members bashing one of the few Republicans that really stand for Freedom and with the American Ppl. We’re on to ya’wl. We’ve about had enough.
It was difficult to tell if one comment supporting McConnell came from one of his constituents.
Tell them Mitch…stop giving them pipe dreams
The other supportive comment merely read:
Oneta Nicholson Henry
Thank you Senator.
On Sept. 18, McConnell posted, “The only person who seems happy with Obamacare is the guy it’s named after.”
That received more than 4,000 responses, but they were also overwhelmingly critical of the senator.
McConnell was also heavily criticized on Twitter for not supporting Cruz during his speech.
Power of public opinion
Cruz is hoping for a more positive response from voters, hoping to harness the power of public opinion to persuade GOP leaders and wavering Democrats to defund Obamacare.
Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, have collected more than 1.7 million signatures on their online petition to stop Obamacare called “Don’t Fund It!”
The next vote, Friday or Saturday, Cruz said, is “the vote that matters.”
That’s a vote on cloture, a proposal to cut off debate, and it will determine whether there will be a 50- or a 60-vote threshold for making changes to the bill.
If it passes, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could easily add language to the bill restoring funding for Obamacare, because he would need only 50 votes. Republicans have only 46 votes in the Senate, Democrats have 52 and there are two independents. Cruz wants to make sure the threshold to change the bill would be 60 votes.
Cruz said, if the GOP goes along with Democrats and votes for cloture it will doom the effort to defund Obamacare.
Up to the people, now
Following the Texan’s marathon speech, Lee’s communications director Brian Phillips told WND, “It’s up to the American people, now. If they want their senator to vote the right way, their senator has to hear from them.”
But if voters can’t call their senators because the phones are off the hook, they can contact them on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Or voters could try calling the senators at their home offices.
The Tea Party Express collected much of that contact information.
Key contact information
Concerned individuals may contact what the Tea Party Express calls the key senators:
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas
DC PHONE: 202.224.2934
SAN ANTONIO: 210.224.7485
Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho
DC PHONE: 202.224.2752
Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth