Senator Ted Cruz's stunt proves politics is show business for ugly people

Categories: Funny Ha Ha

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Ted Cruz spoke on the Senate floor for 21 hours for no apparent reason.
"I fired a manager after he said to me, 'Do something crazy and it'll get on YouTube and your career will take off!'" comedian Christopher Titus told me in an interview this summer. "I looked at him and was like, 'Really, that's your plan? Really?'"

While Titus may be cynical about creating a phony exhibition as a method of infiltrating the public consciousness, media-savvy Republican Senator Ted Cruz found success using the same tactic last week when he staged what could be mistaken for a post-modern performance-art piece on the the Senate floor, but has become known as his "faux filibusterer."

See also: Jon Stewart shut down Crossfire -- but now it's back on CNN

Just like sex scandals, weird religions and criminal investigations, the political media machine loves a good filibuster. Jimmy Stewart turned the bureaucratic protest into an act of humble heroism in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and it has since been used as a dramatic plot device on The West Wing and for comedic tension in Amazon's new Alpha House series. Non-stop speeches with no breaks for meals or bathroom visits, filibusters have been championed as a somewhat demeaning physical challenge. Senator Strom Thurman currently holds the record with his 24-hour monologue against the Civil Rights Act of 1957, a feat that was nearly duplicated by Cruz last week with his 21 hour rant -- if only he were performing an actual filibuster.

But he wasn't. All the ingredients were there -- the passion, the media attention, the marathon of devolved, nonsensical babbling -- but the context was missing. He wasn't delaying a vote, only commenting on something that had been voted on almost four years ago. And with this stunt, Cruz divided his party, fanned flames of a government shut-down, and somehow lowered public regard for the U.S. Senate even further than its previous resting place. And yet, it was a total success.

Titus's former manager may have been a shallow moron, but he wasn't wrong in his suggestion that a little synthetic drama goes a long way. Titus assumed that the public was far too intelligent to believe in a staged drama, filmed on an iPhone and placed on YouTube, but he was giving the public far too much credit. Even though the two have nothing in common, the words "filibuster" and "Ted Cruz" can currently be seen in headlines and tweets across the Internet. And even though he offered nothing new in the debate against Obamacare, and probably even hurt his party's chance at effecting change on the issue, the Senator himself was a featured profile on Sunday talk shows and is being hounded about a possible 2016 run for the White House.

Like Miley Cyrus twerking on a Beetlejuice-attired Robin Thicke during the VMAs, Cruz's exhibition was a meticulously constructed media-grab, replete with SEO-friendly pop-culture references and Obama-is-like-Hitler sensationalism. Exchange the word "filibuster" with "meltdown" and it's no different from any other hysterical talking point on the E! Network.

Comedians deal with this conundrum all the time. Dave Chappelle would probably still be regarded as a comedy legend if he'd never gone off script and insulted his audience on stage, but he wouldn't have received half the media attention that he has. While the incidents that have been reported with the word "meltdown" next to his name were probably unstaged, it would've made a certain sense if they had been.



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12 comments
Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Wow! The leftists really are in full-on attack mode over having their credit cards taken away for abusing them!

Matthew Bosies
Matthew Bosies

I could think of about 50 H.L. Mencken quotes that would be apropos for this Congressional chicanery. They are all Collectivist scum!

Josiah Hesse
Josiah Hesse

It's worth mentioning that this column is not about Obama or healthcare.

Chelly Serna
Chelly Serna

I think politicians should be on welfare and medicare. Then maybe they would get their shit together. It's easy to let the misfortunat suffer when you don't have to struggle to make a living and all while getting the best heathcare around for free.

Scott Ingalsbe
Scott Ingalsbe

nObamas been a joke. I'm glad I sleep well at knowing I've never supported him.

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

1- There's more fame and money in standup comedy 2- Buffoonery is not dead 3-Since Rep Paul Ryan got his pic on face book in his gym wear sitting on the work out bench....

Michael Sabin
Michael Sabin

Did you just watch the Supreme Leader and his wimpy cry for the GOP to just give in to his demands?

Bengy Martinez
Bengy Martinez

Sweet. Good move congress, this move will cost Americans 150 Billion per day, effect more businesses and people negatively. Yet your pay and free healthcare will not be effected at all. I have an idea GO FUCK YA SELF CONGRESS...

Al Schafer
Al Schafer

Then what the hell describes your great master Obama?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Chelly Serna Absolutely! The people who told us we could keep our plan if we like it (but made it impossible to keep) should be shopping in the insurance exchanges right now! (out of pocket, too)

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