Dangerous True Believers
by Deacon Blues
It would be fun to criticize the chutzpah of a first-term United States senator who thinks they are presidential material after only being in Washington a couple of years. It would be easy to criticize those same senators for thinking they were God’s gift to democracy and the tonic to what ails the country, when their constituents just months earlier thought they were sending a representative of their state to the Beltway who reflected their views. But then the rest of us commoners don’t live in the world of delusion that many ambitious politicians live in, many of whom know before they even run for governor or Member of Congress that they in their minds are the next great president, regardless of having no record of accomplishment or judgment to warrant such certainty.
It’s easy to make fun of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul for thinking that they are presidential material within their first terms in the Senate, but then there’s Barack Obama, who probably made that 2004 DNC speech in Boston already knowing he was going to run for president just four years later. And for all of the praise people can lavish upon Obama if they choose, it’s also true that he came to Washington with no executive experience and demonstrated record of effectiveness in a legislative body. Like Cruz and Paul, he came to Washington thinking he himself was the change that the country needed. Obama’s confidence in himself as just what the country needed was matched only by his naiveté in dealing with an opposition dedicated to his destruction from the night of his inauguration.
One big difference between Obama and these two new “saviors” of democracy is that at least Obama came to Washington willing and wanting to work with an opposition towards common goals; he just hadn’t demonstrated the savvy or chops to do so. Obama has finally evolved into someone who knows what Karl Rove has known since Newt Gingrich poisoned American democracy twenty years ago: all power and effectiveness comes from an energized base. Ted Cruz already knows this, and wants the presidency not for all the people, but just for his people. It’s hard to get a read on Rand Paul, because he shifts as he needs to, but his past does not demonstrate inclusiveness, he's only showing signs of it lately. Yet both Cruz and Paul come at the presidency with a disregard for facts and science, and without Obama's commitment for inclusive government.
For Democrats, there should be no snickering about the likes of Cruz or Paul thinking they are ready for the presidency already because we’ve already been there ourselves. It's just that the country, and the world cannot afford four more years of toxicity inside the Beltway even worse than it is now.