At noon Wednesday, in accordance with Senate rules, Sen.Ted Cruz, R-Texas, ended his marathon 21-hour anti-Obamacare speech.
Noon happens to be the same time Rush Limbaugh’s radio show begins each weekday. The coincidence allowed Cruz to call in to Limbaugh’s program and continue his message to the American people.
The senator told Limbaugh and his millions of listeners, “I hope we’ll see more and more Republicans come forward to support this effort.
“If the Senate does the right thing and listens to the American people, they’ll join me and vote to defund Obamacare,” which he called “this disaster, this nightmare, this train wreck.”
Cruz said the “central issue” of his so-called filibuster “wasn’t even Obamacare.”
“It was the longstanding problem we have had with Washington not listening to voters,” Cruz said.
Many senators, he said, have “been in office too long,” be they Democrats or Republicans. They’re more interested in “engaging in theater” and trying to “maintain the status quo and avoid risk.”
These politicians, along with their media enablers, want to portray the business of governance as one that’s “about personalities” rather than principles, the senator said.
The media act like gossip columnists, Cruz said, writing about the “horse race and the process” instead of “the substance” of the vital issues at stake.
Cruz went on to explain that the “vote that matters” is the one on cloture, which will determine whether or not all debate about Obamacare will be cut off once and for all.
If cloture passes, said Cruz, it will allow complacent Republicans to “engage in a show vote” so they can tell their constituents later, ‘Well, we voted against it but it passed anyway.’”
“If you had to sit through one Senate lunch,” Cruz told Limbaugh wearily, “you’d have to go to therapy for a month.”
His fellow Republican senators, he added, “are good people, but they are beaten down.”
“They don’t think we can win,” he said.
Before hanging up, Cruz reemphasized the importance of this week’s cloture vote and called upon Limbaugh’s listeners to make their voices heard by contacting their senators.
“The fight is in the people’s hands,” he said. “Light up the phones. Light up email. Light up Twitter.
“If everyone listening to your show did that, it would shut down the Senate switchboards,” Cruz said, adding that it would help change the culture in Washington.
At one point during his speech, Cruz read aloud a well-circulated piece written by Limbaugh’s father titled “The Americans Who Risked Everything.”
The essay tells the tale of the Founding Fathers who pledged their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” to win America’s independence.
Before Cruz called in Wednesday afternoon, Limbaugh laughed off the idea – touted by Brit Hume of Fox News and other pundits – that the senator was “motivated by fear of talk radio” and was only opposing Obamacare to win the approval the tea party and other vocal members of the Republican Party’s base.
“Ted Cruz was doing exactly what he was elected to do,” Limbaugh insisted. “He’s fighting against statists and statism. He’s fighting for the American people, even those people who don’t even know he’s fighting for them.”
Alluding to Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’ recent filibuster, Limbaugh noted that if Cruz had been talking about “a lost cause like abortion,” the media would’ve granted his speech wall to wall coverage. Instead, said the radio host, even “conservative” media like Fox News were trying to avoid reporting on it.
Cruz wasn’t getting much support from the Republican establishment, either, Limbaugh pointed out.
“If he was a bumbling idiot, they’d want him to keep speaking,” Limbaugh said. “Who cares about high falutin’ Senate rules as a reason why Cruz should stop [speaking]. I don’t think anything takes a backseat to the quest for freedom. I don’t care how corny that sounds.
“If anybody is afraid [of Ted Cruz],” Limbaugh said, “it’s the Washington establishment,” on the right as well as on the left.
It is “dangerously wrong,” Limbaugh continued, to insist that “this strategy is why Republicans lose elections.”
“Republicans lose elections because they have continually dispirited their own base. People on our side refuse to call out Barack Obama to the extent that he should be called out. There’s no push back. That’s why they lose elections. Everyone is so concerned with what they look like and what people think about them,” Limbaugh said.
“Ted Cruz obviously doesn’t care about that,” the talk host concluded. “There has to be a time when you draw the line and this is it.”