Cruz’s Call For Senate Vote on Debt Ceiling: Act of Integrity, Not Stunt

I just read an article by Kathleen Hunter on Bloomberg.net entitled “Cruz Senate Stunt Goes Unpunished as Old Tools Don’t Work” (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-14/cruz-senate-stunt-goes-unpunished-as-old-tools-don-t-work.html?cmpid=yhoo.inline), and sit in utter amazement at how her reporting can be so biased — and just flat-out wrong.

Ms. Hunter states in the article:   “[Senator Mitch] McConnell had to vote “yes” on advancing the debt bill to bring along enough fellow Republicans …”

What? McConnell HAD to vote yes?  Was someone putting a gun to his head?  A national reporter should show a better understanding of the English language, including the phrase “had to vote” — which indicates that he had NO other choice.  Wrong.  Every Senator had 3 choices:  (i) vote “yes” if in favor; (ii) vote “no” if against; or (iii) abstain. McConnell voted “yes,” because he wanted to pass a clean debt-ceiling increase. Same thing for John McCain and the other Republicans that voted “yes” on that vote. Too many phony Senators make a political living from voting “yes” on the procedural votes where 60 votes are required, and then voting “no” on the same exact bill so they can go home and lie to their voters, campaigning that they were against the bill all along.  Shame on them.  And kudos to Senator Ted Cruz for shining a Texas-size spotlight on this dishonest practice.  Don’t blame the Republican’s abysmal approval ratings on Ted Cruz — blame them on a consistent lack of integrity in Republican Senators like McConnell and McCain, both of whom have been in the Senate so long that they are struggling to distinguish yes from no — and more importantly, honesty from dishonesty.

Think about it — McConnell and McCain are angry because they wanted to lie to their voters, and Ted Cruz exposed them.  Most Americans outside the beltway would not call that a stunt, they would call it an act of heroism.  They would call it “doing the right thing.”  They would call the Yes-Then-No votes of McConnell and McCain the real stunt.  Should Ted Cruz not have forced them to make an honest vote because he is in the same party?  That would be like me telling one of my kids, knowing another of my kids is about to steal something, that we all just need to look the other way because family comes before integrity.  No, I want to raise a Ted Cruz, not a Mitch McConnell.  Integrity matters.  And until those serving in Congress understand that concept, they will continue to hover near single-digit approval ratings.  Ted Cruz has integrity in abundance, and continues to show the courage to use it.  Instead of attacking him, we should be thanking him.  So, thank you Senator Cruz, for voting “no” when you mean “no” and “yes” when you mean “yes.”  Wow, how bad is the Senate when I am thanking a Senator for doing something so basic?

Dave Beltrami is a lawyer and political analyst who resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Juris Doctor and Master of Laws (Taxation) degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.