A couple of hours before Sen. Ted Cruz launched his doomed filibuster, his Republican colleagues staged an intervention.
They called him to the Strom Thurmond Room off the Senate floor, named after the late lawmaker who was famous for his filibusters against civil rights. They pleaded with their junior colleague to reconsider his plan to block a vote on legislation that would keep the government open.
The filibuster, ostensibly in opposition to Obamacare, would do nothing to halt the hated health care reforms, they said. It would make Republicans look foolish.
It would leave House Republicans with too little time to avoid a shutdown. And it could cause Republicans to be blamed for that shutdown.
Cruz heard them out and then told them to take a hike.
"I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand," he announced as he launched his marathon filibuster.
His actions hurt his fellow Republicans without doing anything to abolish Obamacare.
But the filibuster did achieve something: It gave Cruz more TV exposure and further endeared him to the tea party. And for the ambitious senator from Texas, the most important thing has always been Ted Cruz.
As he brought the Senate to a halt, Cruz told his captive audience many salient facts:
He likes pancakes.
He's "a big fan" of White Castle.
His father liked to watch movies three times.
"'Green Eggs and Ham' was my favorite book when I was a little boy."
His parents were small-business owners.
Their business went bankrupt.
He thinks fact-checkers (who often point out Cruz's falsehoods) are a "pernicious" form of "yellow journalism."
On and on he went, hour after hour. He spoke about Obamacare but also about his daughters, his wife, his travels, his footwear, his staff and his father's underwear.
With a fixed look of earnest sorrow, the balding lawmaker returned again and again to his favorite topic: himself.
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