When one hears or reads the word “demagogue” the names Adolph Hitler, the Nazi leader of World War II Germany, and Joseph McCarthy, once a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, who gained power by accusing people of being communist, come to mind.
Demagogues of course are those who make impassioned appeals to emotions and prejudices in order to gain power, and of course this virtually always involves out and out lies or at best half truths, which of course are meant to deceive or mislead, so are no more than lies themselves.
Of course other names may come to mind as well, but I think those two are usually connected with that term in documentaries, just as the name Neville Chamberlain has become synonymous with the word “appeasement” which has become a pejorative through the decades since Chamberlain’s time.
But after hearing a few words uttered by the junior U.S. senator from Texas Ted Cruz about how Obamacare must be repealed before it ruins America, I would add his name to the list in the category of “demagogue”.
I admit that this was the first time, or maybe second (and I hope last), that I ever heard him utter anything, but I have been reading and hearing a lot of what he has said. As far as I can tell he just spouts of wild claims and never backs them up with any substantive evidence. Now of course that is pretty much what a lot of politicians do, but this man has taken it to the extreme and it is plain that his mission is to grab power for Ted Cruz by making wild accusations that he knows somehow will catch on with many (or at least he hopes so) because so many are uninformed and are quite willing to take his word for things without any objective evaluation, especially if he plays on their built-in prejudices and distrust of people who take a wider view of things (for some reason many seem to feel that thinking things through is a waste of time).
If Mr. Cruz actually had an alternative plan — a plan, not just slogans, talking points, hot button words, platitudes — for providing universal health care at an affordable price, that would be something different. As far as I know, he does not.
(Of course I realize that a lot of people actually have no desire for universal care — just their own . That fact was made plain in the Republican presidential primary debates when some said people without medical insurance and no means to pay should be left to die. That aside, part of the idea of universal health care is to bring costs for everyone down by improving efficiencies in medical care delivery and eliminating out and out price gouging and unfair practices.)
The fact that Cruz is willing to bring the government to a halt and bring it ever closer to financial calamity that could affect every man woman and child in our nation as well as the rest of the world (hey, I know little of economics — I’m just going by what economic experts say and some common sense — not trying to be a demagogue myself), makes it clear he is out for a power grab plain and simple.
He has managed to cow the more moderate Speaker of the House John Boehner, who seems to be afraid to bring the budgetary matters to a vote in the House of Representatives. And by the way, Boehner has become a Neville Chamberlain in a matter of sorts, in a different context. We all know somehow that Boehner would just like to get this whole government shut down issue out of the way and move on but he is appeasing the Tea Party.
One of my best read posts (people read it every day) is about the threat ignorance poses to our democracy.
I wished a moderate Republican would rise up in the House and say: “Mr. Cruz, have you no shame?” (like someone finally did to McCarthy)
I keep hearing that the more reasonable Republicans are afraid to buck the Tea Party for fear that when they run for re-election that group will challenge them in the primaries. They speak of such a horrible turn of events as being “primaried”.
And that is why I am against professional politicians. They put their jobs before their country and their fellow citizens. Since that is their livelihood, maybe I can see why. But that’s the point. It makes them too vulnerable.
There have been professional politicians who have also been statesmen. But that seems something of history now.
I give you a link to that best read post I mentioned: https://tonywalther.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/mass-ignorance-is-the-worst-enemy-of-democracy/