Our favorite Greek teacher has been wandering the Agora interviewing politicians about the government shutdown and impending default. This afternoon he ran into Senator Cruz, who for some reason thought he was speaking to Megyn Kelly. As usual, Cruz’s words are real, and Socrates’ ought to be.
Socrates: You have said that ending Obamacare is essential to keeping the government open and paying its bills. I find this a fascinating relationship. But the Democrats tell me that the relationship is a false one.
Cruz: Most Americans don’t care about politicians’ bickering. They’re looking for people to solve the problems.
Socrates: By “people” do they mean Congress?
Cruz: The House of Representatives is passing bills to fund the priorities of government.
Socrates: I see. Funding “priorities” is better than funding government. That is an imaginative way to solve Americans’ problems! They must be very proud of you. Yet a poll recently shown on Fox news claims that only 26% of Americans favor you. Does the poll mean that you are not one of the problem-solving people for whom Americans are looking?
Cruz: At the end of the day it doesn’t matter.
Socrates: What is it that does not matter? Public opinion?
Cruz: What matters is responding to the American people.
Socrates: In Athens the appropriate way to respond to citizens’ opinion of you would be self-banishment. Pericles was more popular, and he was ostracized.
Cruz: Millions of Americans are losing their jobs or being forced into part-time work or seeing skyrocketing health insurance premiums and are losing their health insurance.
Socrates: So healing the people is more important than their dislike of you. You are a good man, Ted. You hear their lamentations. Have Democrats not also heard the people’s cries?
Cruz: The Democrats’ answer is they will not talk, they will not negotiate.
Socrates: And, by your logic, the purpose of this talking and negotiating will make insurance affordable and provide more health insurance to people. Will you instruct the Democrats on how to provide health insurance to all the people? And will this instruction lead to full time jobs?
Cruz: The problem is that you’ve got the House of Representatives that is repeatedly compromising. It has compromised on Obamacare starting from wanting to repeal it, to going to defunding it, to going to delaying it, to going to just delaying the individual mandate and the congressional exemption. Throughout it all, President Obama and the Democrats have said that they won’t negotiate, they will not compromise, they want 100 percent of everything.
Socrates: Compromise is a good thing in a democracy. But the “everything” the Democrats want: do you mean the law you call Obamacare? The House of Representatives passed that law, which must have been a very grievous act. Do they wish to repent of it? And would their repentance lead to Americans regaining their health insurance? That would be a great victory.
Cruz: I think a victory is if we prevent some of the enormous harms Obamacare is inflicting on millions of Americans.
Socrates: Of course, if that harm is already being inflicted, then you cannot prevent it. Your victory has already been lost. But a good man bears his losses well, and you are clearly a good man.
Cruz: It’s great to be with you.