In just a few days of governing by hashtag, Ted Cruz has gone from asking for a government shutdown to protesting one now that it's happened and people think it's dumb. Last week, the Texas senator wanted to #MakeDCListen by shutting down the government unless Democrats agreed to defund Obamacare. On Wednesday, he wanted Congress to #LetTheVetsIn — as in, open the World War II memorial so veterans could visit. The memorial, like other national parks, was closed by the shutdown.
If you've forgotten, Republican leaders were initially opposed to shutting down the government. House Speaker John Boehner spoke out against it. But Cruz and other conservatives campaigned for the strategy. In a speech September 19, Cruz said the last shutdown had a pretty a good outcome: "If House Republicans hadn't stood up in 1995, we wouldn't have seen those kind of public policy results that benefit the country," Cruz said. "Because Republicans stood their ground."
Boehner eventually capitulated by adding an amendment defunding Obamacare to the government-funding resolution. Because Senate Democrats would simply vote to remove the amendment, Cruz then had to filibuster the defunding bill. On September 26, Cruz tweeted, "This debate's in your hands. #MakeDCListen and vote against cloture & to #DefundObamacare." Voting against cloture — if he could have sustained a filibuster — would have prevented the Senate from passing the bill and eventually caused a shutdown. (Instead, the Senate stripped out the amendment and sent the resolution back to the House.) As Republicans were increasingly criticized for threatening a shutdown over Obamacare, Cruz shifted slightly: "The American people don't want Obamacare or a govt shut down. The House listened. Will the Senate? #MakeDCListen," he tweeted September 29. Get that? Republicans would be forced to shutdown the government unless Democrats defunded Obamacare.