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Elliot: Cruz control

BY BEAU ELLIOT | DECEMBER 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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Who knew Ted Cruz was a secret Democrat?

Well, OK, maybe it just seems that way. (So much of life is like that, you notice? It’s as if we don’t live life, we live like life.)

It’s like (that word again) people now thinking Iowa is a Republican state. Maybe it just seems that way.

Well, sure, the GOP holds the three main statewide seats (governor, the two Senate seats) and most of the U.S. House seats. The only Democrat in the House will be Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s 2nd District, which is, of course, Iowa City’s area. (Might be time for talk about the Republic of Iowa City to resurface.)

But in looking at Iowa’s recent political history, it would seem the state is more purple than straight red.

Consider: In the last seven presidential elections, Iowa has voted for the Democrat six times, the exception being 2004, when incumbent Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat John Kerry by 0.67 of a percentage point. Yeah, there’s a Republican mandate for you.

In contrast, Democrat Barack Obama beat John McCain by 9.54 percentage points in 2008 and in 2012, beat Republican Mitt “Dog Lover” Romney by 5.81 percentage points. (Many sources maintain that Obama beat Romney by 5.81 percent in 2012, but that’s not right; you can’t simply subtract one percentage from another and wind up with a percent. In 2012, for instance, Obama beat Romney in Iowa by 5.92 percent of the total vote, as opposed to the number of percentage points.)

So before Republicans start doing their version of an Irish jig in GOP joy (which is really pretty amusing to observe as long as you don’t stand too close), they should wonder why they can’t take the presidential vote in the land of tall corn. (“Land of Tall Corn” was once proposed as the state’s motto for the license plates, but too many people found it too corny. Is that like life?)

Well, Ted Cruz, the Republican/tea party senator from Texas, is like life. Like life somewhere, anyway.

In case you missed it, Congress held a party over this past weekend and wound up passing a budget bill. Hoo-hah. A $1.1 trillion budget bill. And you thought Republicans were the small-government people. Some things need rethinking. Or maybe some thinking needs re-thinging.

There were some speed bumps along the way, a major one provided by Cruz, who was mad enough about President Obama’s immigration plans (no, Virginia, he’s not going anywhere) that he tried to put the kibosh on the bill to stop those immigration plans.

That move, according to many accounts, allowed Senate Majority Leader for the moment Harry Reid, D-Nev., to move ahead with considering Obama’s many nominations for various posts that Republicans had blocked for quite some time. Victory, more or less, Democrats. Thanks, Ted.

And indeed, the Senate on Monday finally confirmed Vivek Murthy as the new surgeon general. After 17 months of breathless waiting.

A note on the new surgeon general: during the Ebola scare (Remember that? Me, neither.), a Republican lawmaker wondered why the surgeon general wasn’t doing more. He had to be reminded that the U.S. had no surgeon general, because Republicans had blocked Murthy’s nomination.

Life in like life is kind of like being on Cruz control.


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