Imagine watching a goofy action movie in which a group of dangerous radicals invade the home of an innocent family. The radicals point a gun at some of the owner’s relatives and say, “Meet our outlandish demands or we’ll shoot.”

Moments later, you see the owner, scared but unwavering, telling the antagonists onscreen, “No, I won’t give you anything.”

At that point, the radicals, frustrated but determined to get a ransom, respond to the owner: “You are behaving like a terrorist.

For many of us, that would be about the time to ditch the absurd movie, because the plot would just be too weird to believe. But for the young U.S. senator from the state of Texas, history’s poorly written radicals might have a point. rolling stone noted yesterday:

As a debt ceiling battle looms in Washington, Sen. Ted Cruz says President Joe Biden is “behaving like a terrorist” by not negotiating with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

No, really, that’s what he said.

During his appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Cruz told Maria Bartiromo he had “some advice” for the Democratic president. As the senator said, Biden participated in the debt ceiling talks in 2011, so he should do it again now.

“That Joe Biden of 2011 has to come back, not the guy they’ve got locked in the basement right now and a White House that’s run by 25-year-old radicals who’re like, ‘Heck, leave it all by default, what do we care?’ They’re little Marxists with no real-world experience,” Cruz said. “We need to bring back the Joe Biden who’s done this before, not the one behaving like a terrorist, which Biden is doing right now. .”

So a few things.

For now, let’s ignore the senator’s childish antics about basements and “little Marxists,” which were so unserious they made Cruz look worse than his targets. Instead, let’s focus on the more substantial points the far-right legislator was trying to make.

The first is that Biden, during his tenure as vice president, participated in the debt ceiling talks. It’s true, he did. But Biden also learned from this experience that such talks do not really lead to valid and constructive resultswhich is one of the reasons he objects to making the same mistake twice.

The second was Cruz’s claim that the President is “behaving like a terrorist,” which is so hopelessly insane that it was unsettling to see the senator deliver the line with a straight face.

If the rhetoric sounds familiar, it’s because there was discussion of the subject during the Obama era, the last time Republicans used the debt ceiling to deliberately threaten to hurt Americans. . A senior White House aide said in 2013 that the Democratic administration was open to compromise, but “what we don’t want is to negotiate with people with a bomb strapped to their chests.”

Two years earlier, then-Vice President Biden spoke at length yesterday with House Democrats, and while there was no transcript or recording of the discussion at behind closed doors, reports at the time indicated that Biden had conceded that Republicans “acted like terrorists.”

At the time, GOP officials bristled at such rhetoric. They wanted to threaten the public, and they were comfortable touting the value of taking the American.”hostagesbut Republicans balked at the idea that they had anything in common with terrorists.

A decade later, some far-right leaders, including Cruz, apparently believe they can strip relevant words of their ordinary meaning. To hear these Republicans tell it, the heroes of our ongoing drama are those who threaten to impose economic catastrophe unless their ridiculous demands are met, and those who are told to pay the ransom “behave like terrorists “.

Or in other words, Cruz, confident that many voters will believe that the nonsensical talking points, no matter how outlandish, start a painfully stupid plot. It desperately needs a rewrite.


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