GOP Cruzin' to a bruisin' with gun background check filibuster

Consider the case of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who compete to lead the extremist wing of Republicans, with each one trying to outdo the other to prove who is more out of touch with America. And Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) increasingly looks like a hostage to this GOP arms race toward political extremism.

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Regarding the filibuster against background checks, Sen. John McCain (R), the Arizona war hero who publicly reprimanded Cruz for his McCarthyite attack against war hero Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, is right. A filibuster against background checks is senseless and stupid from the party that is increasingly referred to (by some Republicans as well as analysts) as "the party of stupid."

Filibustering a proposal with 90 percent support is, ladies and gentlemen, the classic definition of stupid. Cruz comes out of a Texas GOP culture led by the man called "governor-for-life" Rick Perry, whose electoral career will end, in Texas and presidential politics, the minute his current term as governor ends.

As least Perry does not slander war heroes as Cruz does and is not publicly reprimanded by war heroes as Cruz was. What Perry does do is wage war against Texas healthcare, when he isn't waging war against Texas education, when he isn't waging war against Texas women, when he isn't incoherent in presidential debates and reduced to saying "oops."

Perry will not be reelected governor of Texas and will not be elected president. When his current term ends, Perry will find some well-paying sinecure in the assisted-living home for unelectable former politicians who cannot stop cashing in. And whether he does not run again or is defeated for reelection, he will have moved the Texas GOP so far to the right that the question is not whether but when Texas goes blue.

As for Cruz, he cannot control his need for attention or his drive to be leader of the GOP "stupid party" faction. And Paul too cannot relinquish the title of leader of the "stupid party" faction, so the more extreme Cruz becomes, the more extreme Paul becomes.

Cruz and Paul increasingly resemble two tango dancers, like Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar in "Scent of a Woman." As for McConnell, a secretly sensible man, he is trapped in the inferno of low popularity ratings in Kentucky. He is not sure if he should be more worried about being defeated in a primary by a candidate of the "stupid party" faction or in a general election by the moderate and appealing Democratic foe he will probably face.

If it were possible to create a tango dance ménage a trois, McConnell is trying to be the third dance partner with Cruz and Paul, and the whole ménage is dancing so far to the right that they are reduced to filibustering a proposal that would help prevent terrorists from getting guns.

I doubt this filibuster will succeed, but if it does, watch for the Senate to change the filibuster rules. The new rule would simply require that filibustering GOP senators hold the floor to tell the nation, live and in real time on national television, why 90 percent of America is wrong and why they would help terrorists get guns to mass murder America's children.

That, my friends, is called Cruzin' to a bruisin'.