Ted Cruz Introduces Pointless Grandstanding Act of 2014

Ted Cruz (R-Teabaggistan) and Mike Lee (R-Do you really need to ask?) yesterday
introduced a bill that they call the State Marriage Defense Act to, um, slow down the spread of gay marriage or something. As their press release says (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, today introduced S. 2024, the State Marriage Defense Act, which respects the definition of marriage held by the people of each state and protects states from the federal government’s efforts to force any other definition upon them. The bill will ensure the federal government gives the same deference to the 33 states that define marriage as the union between one man and one woman as it does to the 17 states that have chosen to recognize same-sex unions.

This comes on the same date that a federal judge declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Great timing.

I’m not sure how this is supposed to work: the federal government is already out of the marriage-defining business; it leaves that up to the states.
So let’s say Bob and Tom have been living in Alabama for years. One day, they go up to Massachusetts and get married. The federal government needs to decide whether they’re married for purposes of federal benefits, e.g., health insurance, or to see whether they’re allowed to file a joint tax return.

Under the present system, the federal government asks, “Were these two people legally married by a state, following that state’s laws, and in accordance with that state’s definition of marriage?” In this case, yes, Massachusetts, and so Bob and Tom are married for federal purposes.

If Cruz’s bill were to pass, I don’t see how anything would change. Would Georgia say that not only does it not recognize a Massachusetts marriage, but that the federal government isn’t allowed to, either? Are Georgia’s right to define marriage somehow better than Massachusetts’s?

Of course, it’s possible—plausible, even—that I’m barking up the wrong tree, and that this should really be renamed the Get Ted Cruz’s Name in the Papers Act of 2014.

On one hand, I figure I shouldn’t feed the trolls. On the other hand, the east coast has had so much snow lately that there’s a salt shortage; so we need all the conservative tears of poutrage we can get.

This Is a Political Leader?

Today, the Washington Post hosted a Q & A session with Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation. Presumably that makes him a big wheel in the Tea Party movement, and Someone To Take Seriously, as opposed to the random riff-raff who seem to dominate TV coverage of tea-related demonstrations.

And so one might expect to get reasonable, well-thought-out answers to questions, outlining specific policies and measures that the Tea Party supports. One would be wrong.

Small govt.: I get that the tea partiers want smaller government, but you all seem to think government should have no part in basically life at all. The scandal arising today over lack of control in the plant producing children’s medication as well as the oil spill make me very much weary of this point of view. I want the government actively protecting and monitoring my food and drug supply. Leaving that up to the free market will result in disaster, as has been proven time and again. What is your response?

Judson Phillips: If you leave it up to the government, you end with 72 million doses of a vaccine that no one wants. One of the liberal myths is that the Tea Party Movement wants no government. No, we want a constitutional government. Throwing someone in jail because they do not want to buy government health insurance is not smaller government. It is a dictatorship

Is there any way to read that other than “let’s get rid of the CDC, USDA, FDA, because it’s better to have trichinosis in our pork chops, than to waste money by overestimating how many people will want flu shots?

Notice, too, the unsupported cheap shots: what, exactly, about our current government is unconstitutional? And unless I’m missing something, there’s no “government health insurance” that I can buy.

And to all the people who complain that requiring them to buy private health insurance is unconstitutional, there’s a simple fix: you find an insurance plan that works for you. But instead of paying the company directly, the cost of your insurance becomes a tax that you send in to the IRS. The IRS then forwards your money to your insurer.

That way, it’s a government service contracted out to private enterprise, and paid for by taxes. Of course, that’d probably get the anti-big-government people in a lather, and it’d be a lot simpler to just pay your insurer directly, but it’d be constitutional.

Phillips goes on in that vein, spouting slogans, but never getting down to nuts and bolts, despite being prodded several times by readers. Color me less than impressed by the teabagger movement.

Oh, and for anyone who gives me grief over calling them “teabaggers”: if they didn’t want to be called teabaggers, they shouldn’t have called themselves that. But maybe I’ll reconsider when the right wingers learn that there’s an “ic” in “Democratic”.