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video: Travis Rowley: Cruz-ing Past Whitehouse

Saturday, October 19, 2013


With so many people already commenting on the recent government shutdown, a few weeks ago I decided against offering my own take on that particular controversy.

That is, until Rhode Island’s junior US Senator decided to make an ass out of himself on national television. Now I suddenly have an urge to delve in, and let as many people as possible know about Sheldon Whitehouse’s embarrassing performance this week on CNN’s Crossfire.


Pitted against Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Whitehouse arrived at CNN studios armed with two points he wished to make – both of which Cruz dismantled with ease.

Toeing the party line, the first thing Whitehouse wanted everyone to believe was that Republicans had taken the government “hostage” in order to make inroads against Obamacare.

You could tell because Whitehouse mentioned the word “hostage” 512 times before the show was over.

Of course, the problem with the Democrats’ insistence that Republicans were responsible for shutting down the federal government is that – during the entire ordeal – Republicans voted several times to keep the government open and funded, with the exception of Obamacare.

Democrats responded by demanding a “clean” bill – a euphemism for “all or nothing.”

Apparently, Democrats consider it “clean” to fund one of the dirtiest pieces of legislation in the country’s long history – a 2000-page bill passed on a strict party-line vote with the help of legislative bribes, a shady parliamentary maneuver, and a slew of lies and false promises.

This Is What a Liar Looks Like

Fully aware of the Republicans’ strategy to impede Obamacare, Whitehouse still abandoned the Democrats’ “all or nothing” approach when he voted in favor of a House-passed bill to fund the military. “I think while people are in service overseas and putting their lives on the line for our country we owe them a special obligation,” Whitehouse explained.

Whitehouse is so sweet. It’s a wonder he didn’t object when Senate President Harry Reid (D) admitted to being willing to allow children to die until he got his “clean” bill out of the House.

Having agreed to one important spending bill, Cruz wondered why Whitehouse wouldn’t consider voting for the “14 [House] bills to fund vital government priorities” while Republicans and Democrats quibbled over Obamacare. Cruz asked Whitehouse, “If you voted to fund the men and women of the active military, why are Democrats blocking funding [for] the VA? Do our veterans not deserve the same treatment that our active-duty military do?”

Whitehouse began to squirm in his chair, only managing to blather about “hostage taking” again. Meanwhile, everyone watching Crossfire suddenly realized that Democrats were the ones holding military veterans – and the entire federal government – “hostage” until they got everything they wanted.

Senator Cruz had exposed Whitehouse’s deception, suddenly making it clear to everyone viewing Crossfire that the Republican-controlled House had voted to fund Obama’s entire bloated government, except Obamacare.

When Obama and the Democrats didn’t budge, Republicans again voted to fund the government in its entirety, asking to simply delay Obamacare’s implementation for one year.

Obama and the Democrats remained obstinate, refusing to negotiate. So, once again, Republicans voted to fully fund the government, only requiring that everyone be treated equally under Obamacare. That meant no more waivers for big business without waivers for individual citizens. Also, Obama, Congress, and their staffs would all be forced to live under Obamacare as well.

Obama and the Democrats didn’t move an inch.

Naturally, Whitehouse decided that Republicans were the ones holding the government hostage.

The Law of the Land

The Democrats’ ultimate regret was that the US Constitution grants the House of Representatives the “power of the purse.” Unfortunately, the Constitution is “the law of the land” – as Democrats have been saying about Obamacare.

It’s surprising that conservative commentators have yet to expose the Democrats for their phony outrage over “legislation by appropriation.” For some reason, nobody seems to recall the Democrats’ plan to end the Iraq War in 2007 – the year they regained control of the House. In order to force America’s retreat, Democrats suggested abandoning the soldiers on the battlefield by voting to withhold the funds necessary to fight the war. And throughout numerous appropriation bills, many of them did just that.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) argued, “Congress must deny any more funds for the war.” “The real test for this Congress will be whether or not we continue to fund this war,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D). Wondering out loud if the House decided to defund the war after a controversial vote, Rep. David Wu (D) commented, “I hope to God that is the case.”

Sheldon Whitehouse was curiously silent at a time when using the term “hostage” would have made more literal sense.

More to the point, Republicans never argued that the Democrat-controlled House didn’t have the authority to withhold military funds. They simply used the occasion to illustrate just what kind of monsters Democrats truly are.

After the government shutdown subsided this week President Obama taunted Republicans, telling them to “win an election” if they “don’t like a particular policy.”

Obama should have been offering this advice to himself. If the Democratic Party wants to continue to fund their economy-crushing socialist programs, then they should get enough Democrats elected to the House in order to do so.

In response to this logic, all Obama and Whitehouse can do is speculate over the meaning of the 2012 Presidential Election. The 2012 election was a referendum on Obamacare!

Oh really? Because I thought the election was a referendum on the “Republican War on Women,” and the fact that Republicans hate blacks, Hispanics, and old people. What happened to those issues?

Whitehouse’s Last Resort

The second point Whitehouse would make on Crossfire wasn’t a point at all. Rather, it was a predictable attempt to disqualify Senator Cruz as a valid participant – something wholly consistent with the Left’s political heritage.

In full denial of the economic devastation that Obamacare is causing, Whitehouse declared that he didn’t “believe it.”

 “The Republican Party decided that Obamacare was going to be a failure early on before Obamacare was even decided,” Whitehouse explained. “It was a political choice to pull all support from anything that this President wanted to do. Now they have to live with it, so they have to maintain that storyline.”

Whitehouse might as well have called Cruz a racist. His purpose would have been fulfilled a lot quicker.

Of course, Whitehouse’s ally on the panel Van Jones – a self-described communist – had already sunk to that level when he accused Cruz of not caring about people who may die due to a lack of health insurance.

These are the games Democrats play while Republicans attempt to keep the conversation focused on the merits of actual arguments. Someone should point out to Whitehouse that Cruz could easily have reversed his analysis. If it’s true that Republicans have a political interest in the failure of Obamacare, then Democrats have a political interest in its success.

Instead, Cruz answered Whitehouse in this way: “I’m curious if you think it was ‘right-wing histrionics’ when James Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters, said that Obamacare is destroying the healthcare of millions of hard-working men and women in this country.”


Whitehouse: “I have heard that Mr. Hoffa has said that your using of that quote is inappropriate and out of context.”


No worries. Cruz was remarkably prepared for Whitehouse’s pathetic response. With Whitehouse’s face flushed with panic, the Senator from Texas pulled out the letter that Hoffa had sent to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi: “On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans…It is destroying the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

Leading up to the showdown between Cruz and Whitehouse on this episode of Crossfire, WPRI predicted, “It should be quite a clash of views.”

But it wasn’t really a clash. Whitehouse got pounded.

Watch for yourself.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


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