Ethics Note To Senator Cruz: You Can’t Begin A Principled Stand With A Lie

Little is more damaging to the public’s trust and faith in government than when elected officials engage in gratuitous lies—statements that can only convince those who don’t bother to check the facts underlying them, made for their momentary impact on the theory that the effect is worth the eventual exposure of the lie for what it is. Such lies are detestable, because they not only reinforce the impression that politicians lie when their lips are moving, they also convey the message that lies are merely tools of the politicians trade, and not even particularly shameful or worthy of criticism. When a politician engages in such transparent dishonesty, he or she is saying, quite literally, that lying is no big deal.

It is a big deal. It is especially a big deal when the point of the lie is to fool the public into believing something the politician is doing is a big deal itself, when it is really a sham.

Welcome to Sen. Ted Cruz and his fake filibuster, also known as Ted Cruz’s Bad Jimmy Stewart Impression.

"Ted, I knew Mr. Smith, and you're no Mr. Smith. You're not even Rand Paul..."

“Ted, I knew Mr. Smith, and you’re no Mr. Smith. You’re not even Rand Paul…”

Evoking memories of the Frank Capra classic, “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” Sen. Cruz told the world that he was going to talk on the floor of the Senate against Obamacare until he couldn’t stand any more…you know, just like the Jimmy’s idealistic junior Senator in the film, who finally collapses of exhaustion to end his filibuster but whose courage makes the corrupt, manipulating senior Senator from his state confess that he was trying to fund a lousy health care b…no, wait, it had something to do with a kids camp and influence peddling. I haven’t seen the film in a while.

Cruz, however, unlike Stewart, is not engaging in a filibuster, because he is not trying to block a vote or anything else: Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote on funding the Affordable Care Act for today, whereupon Cruz has to sit down and shut up whether he can still stand or not. Senator Cruz, then, is grandstanding. He’s pretending to be giving a courageous, principled, one-man-against-the system speech that is only limited by his own endurance, when he is really engaging in pre-staged political theater, wasting time and  playing hero, knowing full well that the media—mostly the news media that doesn’t like Cruz and Republicans, because modern American journalism reliably filters what the public is told according to its own political agendas— will report to anyone paying attention that he is just giving a “very long speech.”

Imagine: beginning a public display framed as an act of principle and integrity with a lie.When a politician intentionally does something like this we know immediately that the politician is…

  • …a phony.
  • …a liar.
  • …thinks we are stupid.
  • …does not value candor, disclosure and honesty.
  • …thinks the public is stupid.
  • …is either too careless or too calculating with his use of the language, and
  • …untrustworthy.

I believe in signature significance, that a single act can tell us a great deal about someone’s character, because someone with good character would never engage in such conduct even once.

Today’s fake filibuster tells me everything I need to know about Ted Cruz.




32 thoughts on “Ethics Note To Senator Cruz: You Can’t Begin A Principled Stand With A Lie

  1. Ditto. A politician willing to do a TRUE filibuster (not just the threatening, but actually standing and delivering) gets automatic points from me on the grounds of being THAT secure in their convictions- it doesn’t make them right, but it sure does make them seem sincere. Then I read that he’d prearranged a time limit, and my opnion went down the tubes.

  2. However, if the intention of his “grandstanding”, which he chose to do as a filibuster, is to call attention to the shortcomings of Obamacare, perhaps he’s accomplishing what he planned to do in the first place. In that regard, I believe he’s successful. Does it matter whether others consider it a waste of timer if he’s doing what he honestly believes in his heart is the right thing to do?

    • If he believes in his heart that he has to lie nto the public about his actions and intentions to accomplish his goals, he has adopted the same tactics and values of those who rammed this law down the nation’s throat in the first place.

      • Its worse than a lie and Cruz knows it.. 85% of the Affordable Care Act would go forward whether the budget was approved or not, and the President could designate those working on the ACA as essential, and they would continue to work during a Government Shutdown, if it came to that.. Ted Cruz knows all of this.

        Secondly the House Proposal to defund ACA would only provide a couple of months delay before the budget crisis would once again become an issues… So it would be a terrible deal for the President who ran and WON the election promising to implement the ACA; so the President would never agree to such terms. Ted Cruz knows this as well.

        His circus act, like most Republican ploys, is transparent, lame and futile.

      • Down here we call that payback! Well sort of….I told him to do it! I voted for him. And he did exactly what he said he would do. When the President speaks of “red lines”…..come on…go check out the middle school who taught the kids how to be rappers, pimps and thugs….I bet you could write up some good “stuff” on that…which I enjoy reading your articles but this one…ummmm…you have done much better. B-

        • Here, we call “payback” unethical.

          I don’t appreciate being lied to, treated like an idiot, or seeing my fellow citizens made dumber by being told something that isn’t true by a U.S. Senator. On an ethics blog, flagging that kind of cynical conduct is mandatory, and cheering it one just guarantees more of the same.

  3. Wait, what’s biased about the press reporting that he’s giving a very long speech? That is what he’s doing. Er, what he did.

    I pretty much agree with you on this one. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with politicians doing publicity stunts to publicize a policy argument – in fact, I wish they’d do more of that. But Cruz described what he was going to do as a “filibuster,” and it’s just not a filibuster. So, as you say, a lie.

    The bill he’s talking about is not just, or even mainly, “a vote on funding the Affordable Care Act.” It’s a continuing resolution to fund the entire US government, with a side provision that would defund Obamacare.

  4. CNN reported this morning that the reason he was doing it was because he promised the people who just recently elected him that he would do anything within his power to stop Obamacare.

    Hey, at least he’s not following along like the rest of the brain dead Obama Minion Idiots and voting for it because he worships the feckless fool who created it.

    There is plenty of shame in Washington to go around.

    • Yep, I voted for Cruz. No I am not totally insane but pretty close after I read the Affordable Care Act. No, I am not a CPA but can add and subtract. I could retire but don’t feel comfortable knowing that most of my savings would be gone paying for ObamaCare. I could retire and give up a wonderful rewarding career position to a younger person who has college loans (which was my money the IRS took from me) and spend my time hawg hunting but can’t afford the ammo (really I can just making a point)..

      It was not a true filibuster but he did what he told me he would do. Which is more than any Democrat has ever done, truthfully, for this country.

      Grandstanding is ok if one or three try to share with the American public this is a bad financial move. And who says the government went to medical school and now they want to play doctor. Nasty Democrats.

  5. You know what? To hell with that “This lie is signature significance” lie (or half-truth). This is war. War mandates deception, wherein lies must often be used to defeat lies. Deceivers must be defeated, when necessary, by deception (by forces for right and good) which counters and overwhelms the deceivers’ deceptions. For victory, many of the deceived also must be deceived even further, for their own good. After all, how many bigger lies are so many of those needy deceived following, at what certain costs to themselves and to virtually everyone else?

    (How’s THAT for rationalization?)

    You still have to decide which side you’re on – and pay hell for the consequences, either way.

  6. Call it a “filibuster”, “long speech” or a “constitution talkathon”, the purpose was made clear from the onset. Personally, I think Senator Cruz is one of the most ethical men I’ve ever seen in that chamber of Congress. Cynics might well claim that that’s not saying a lot, but it wasn’t always that way. Nor should it ever be. Cruz was standing up for America’s citizens against one of the most incredible designs against our free republic that has ever been attempted. May his efforts meet with ultimate success.

    • I don’t know if the Act is going to be successful or not, so I won’t engage in a debate. It could very well be a disaster — I hope not. However, the PURPOSE behind the Act is to insure Americans. According to you, this is “one of the most incredible designs against our free republic?” Seriously? Do you feel the same way about Medicare? If not, please explain why it is more important for granny to be covered as compared to a 20-something who has several part-time jobs and no employer-paid coverage. After all, granny had a whole life time to prepare and be responsible — shouldn’t we cover young people (just starting out in life) instead of these old baby boomer deadbeats who were living it up with their bridge clubs and early bird dinner specials? Instead, shouldn’t they have been saving up for hip replacements and pacemakers? Walmart pays $8.25/hr grandma — go be a greeter or something before I agree to get you new dentures. No more winters in Florida either! That money should go to probable cancer treatments. Your coverage is a threat to my right to live in a free Republic! — or at least what we think Jefferson would have wanted for our republic even though he’s been dead for 200 years.

      • The threat began when the federal government overstepped its constitutional authority to begin with. Then it began to impose social programs on the citizens, rendering them dependent on a monster, inefficient bureaucracy for their livelihoods. Now comes Obamacare, which will not only impose more taxes, increase citizen dependency and further degrade the Constitution into irrelevancy, but will also maintain detailed records on aspects of our lives that even the SSA and IRA have not dared to attempt before. Affordable medicine has nothing to do with it. We HAD that before the feds started their usurpations. This is about government control of the population and, correspondingly, maintaining a certain class of politician in power… permanently. Obamacare is the worst and most far reaching program for tyranny yet conceived by the Left for the subjugation of America.

        • Ditto to your great comments. For me between the attacks on the gun control which could affect my hawg hunting adventures and the ObamaCare nightmares, I hope my heart attack happens soon. I am sure I will have to sit in a parking lot grocery cart or just wait to be kicked to the curb with an empty pocket.

          And wasn’t it Kennedy’s reign that the infamous food stamp program hit which took away the people’s compassion to help others….thankfully I am part of the 47% who crawl to work everyday so I can pay for foodstamps….oh my heart….attack is here…

  7. A Cigna rep advised me today that the start date to sign up the Affordable Care Act was pushed back 1 month, from Oct 1 to Nov 1… Policies under that Act won’t be effective until Jan1, 2014, regardless.

    Anyone else hear similar?

  8. Jack, few politicians don’t lie or “get disingenuous”. Sometimes they have to lie to the American public for the greater good. FDR was a excellent example of this. When Britain was in danger of going under to Hitler and the Nazis he reiterated the U.S. itself would not go to war. Meanwhile he and his cabinet arranged for Lend-Lease Aid to go to Britain and China. I believe that we are in as great a danger as we were in the late 30’s as a country and small lies are quite defendable.

    • It’s a bad habit. Lying to save the civilized world is a unique and courageous utilitarian act (FDR could have been impeached)—lying for no good reason (why did Cruz have to pretend he was giving a filibuster?) is the act of a lazy and corrupt leader.

  9. Goodness. Give Cruz a break Jack. How many in Washington are really trying to wake up America? When those who cheered this forthcoming “oh my God what have I done” maybe then they will learn who really spreads lies in Washington.

    • Those who are caught in lies can never be the ones to bring truth to any argument. I don’t believe anything the President, Jay Carney, Harry Reid or Pelosi says. I know I can’t trust McConnell, and now Cruz. I’ll wait for someone who doesn’t think lies are an appropriate tool of governance, thanks.

  10. We were just talking again briefly about this in our office. What Senator Cruz did deserves to be compared to the lunch counter sit-in, re-enacted most recently in the movie, The Butler. Futile? At that moment, yes, it was. Grandstanding? At that moment, yes, it was. Meaningless and of no long-term impact for reversing backwardness? Big mistake to think that.

  11. Is this not the fallacy of equivocation you are committing here? You’re dismissing not only the content of his argument, but also any future arguments from him, because this is not technically a filibuster. Half the news reports I’m reading are correctly labelling it ‘long speech’ – and it’s most the liberal ones I’m seeing that are calling it a filibuster. I’m trying, but I can’t seem to track down who started using the filibuster term in the first place – I found an interview on Sept 22 where he talks about a hypothetical filibuster to deny cloture, but that’s correct – that would be a filibuster.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall you raking Rand Paul pretty harshly across the coals for ACTUALLY filibustering, once upon a time.

    • Yes, because Paul’s stand was ridiculous and disingenuous, and based on an intentional misreading of the matter at hand. I have nothing against filibusters; in fact, I think they should be required to be real, rather than theoretical.

      “Technically not a filibuster” is rationalization—it wasn’t a filibuster in any way, and Cruz knew it, but he intentionally framed it to deceive.Yes—an honest trustworthy pol never does that, not even once. I have no dog in this hunt; I’m not “anti-Cruz” or anti-Paul. I’m anti-phonies and anti-ideologues, but I’m especially anti-lying.

  12. I’ve had a hard time taking Senator Cruz seriously since I dug out my elementary school yearbook after learning he had graduated from the same private K-12 school that I attended for a few years – and learned that his classmates named him most likely to be the next Geraldo Rivera.

    This could possibly (or possibly not) be irrelevant to who he is today, but it’s not an image that fades from the mind quickly.

  13. One thing is certain.. Cruz’s primary interest is not the American people, or even his own party…. His vanity is his number one customer. Ethics are quickly dismissed in this type of new cycle.. Results are all he is interested in… If and When Republican Primary Candidate runs for office, we’ll know if this stunt was productive.

  14. Signature Significance for hyperbole? Some folks referred to the planned long speech as a filibuster and Cruz finally adopted that terminology (that is the way it looks from here anyway). Now that becomes signature significance so that anything that Cruz does from here on out is automatically discarded because of an act of hyperbole.

    I get the sense that your motives are not clear on this. I had a similar thought on one of your earlier posts about Rand Paul. Is there something in common between these two guys that you object to? (I am not referring to party affiliation here either – you are pretty even handed with respect to that).

    • No. I object to Paul because I don’t think he’s very bright. I object to Cruz because this kind of lie, as I said, is unforgivable. Don’t feed me that “It’s only hyperbole” line, please. He was posing as a heroic filibusterer on principle, and it was fake as fake can be. Honest elected officials don’t set out to fool the lazy, half-attentive and ignorant.

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