It's 10:15 AM on September 25th, and Ted Cruz is still talking, and though in the process of watching him intermittently I have pantomimed or actually thrown things at the screen approximately 8 times (I was almost done with his ass after the “Everyone in this country has ancestors who know what it means to risk everything for freedom,” but sometimes having the abyss gaze back is fun), I have to say, he has the whole populism thing down. As he read tweets aloud on the Senate floor for the fourth time, asserting in the way that so many of those with no real understanding of people power do, that Twitter's “trending topic” algorithms determine the will of the American people, I was a tenth of the way toward believing him. But of course, the actual “will of the people” is impossible to determine in today's postmodern politics which function as a reality show/pyramid scheme, of which Ted Cruz is a perfect distillation. Obamacare loves insurance companies that's its f**kin' problem, though it also has many others of the more celibate variety. These problems are not apocalyptic, but they are real, and in a perverse way gratifying. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an unwieldy product of a self-styled elite think tank. It is impenetrable, misguided, and will end up hurting people it is intended to help, because that's what neoliberal policies do. You cannot appease the same industry you are trying to regulate, an industry that shouldn't even exist in the first place. The answer to the problem of “people ain't got no health care” is to give them health care, not some five-year plan straight out of a McKinsey report. The complaints heard from Republican legislators and from the distressed petty bourgeoisie are not that different in form and tenor than those heard in developing countries forced to undergo yet another structural adjustment program by the distinguished and enlightened loan sharks at the IMF. There is an irony of course in that most of the people complaining about the ACA inside the beltway are the same people who support neoliberal ain't-no-such-thing-as-can't-be-privatized policies in every other area, but most of their opposition is nothing more than craven political posturing combined with a je ne sais quoi about Obama himself that makes them hate him and want to destroy him, and that is so completely totally not racist, how dare you even say such a thing. On the ground though, there is a more intriguing irony, indeed an irony at the center of the American condition. Let me be clear, to borrow a phrase from Obeezy, the mere existence of a thing called health insurance is an enormity. All the sad letters Ted Cruz read about people getting dropped or getting their rates jacked because of “compliance with the Affordable Care Act” confirm this. Regardless of the actual regulations the law has placed on the insurance industry, which are considerable, what self-respecting shareholder-value-maximizing company wouldn't take a chance to raise their prices if they could blame it on the mean old government? The real question, though, is why the American people let them get away with it. Why, when subjected to the iniquities of capitalism, do we blame the institution trying to help us instead of the capitalists themselves? In a Frontline documentary called “Obama's Deal,” they say Obama rolled into the White House taking shots at health-care reform from day one because he wanted to prove that “we can still solve big problems in this country.” Indeed, the idea that the problems of capitalism can be solved with anything other than more capitalism (i.e. of the independent artisanal locally-sourced variety) has largely vanished from the American brain space. Similarly, we are collectively one about the idea that in order for a system to work, it must cater to all our bourgeois consumer ideals. If you're not willing to wait a few months for elective surgery in order to not have a nation where millions of people's health care plan is the power of prayer and accepting one's own mortality, then you're part of the problem. But bourgeois consumerism or not, America's health care system, or lack thereof, doesn't work, and the ACA doesn't go far enough, and even an ideal system is going to have a rocky transition period for a nation of 315 million. Discontent is natural and justified, and largely marginalized by the MSNBC set. Enter Ted Cruz and his don't-call-it-a-filibuster,-he's-been-here-for-months. What is to be accomplished by a man speaking for 21 hours for a bill that he's not even attempting to stop? Fundraising is to be accomplished, to the tune of a $2500-a-plate dinner being held by his PAC just to watch the man read Green Eggs and Ham. You want to talk about consumerist ideals, with Ted Cruz they have fully arrived in politics. The power of the filibuster as television spectacle has finally been realized by politicians, and it plays perfectly in the new paradigm of American politics, one in which politicians compete not over ideas about the best form of governance, but in which they pander to the electorate's basest desires not in order to win our vote, but to get us to open our wallets. Money talks because money is speech. By the time you read this, the exchanges will have been open for two days, and the Republican party will have already declared it a horrendous failure, hoisting the Democratic Party by the petard of the GOP's very own ideas. And also the government might have shut down. Through it all, the American people's primary concern will be about “what works for me and my family,” that ultimate statement of disengagement. I won't be so glib as to say that Ted Cruz is what we deserve, but until we wake up and gain some self-respect, Ted Cruz is the best we're ever going to get. Address all hate mail to