Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just How Long Can Ted Cruz Stand?

"I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand," vowed Ted Cruz as he took the floor at the U.S. Senate floor today at 2:42 p.m.

The U.S. Senator from Texas, 2016 Republican Presidential hopeful, and former Canadian will need to stand for at least 13 hours by my calculation.

That's because Wendy Davis went on for almost 11 hours in the Texas Senate this summer, before her filibuster was ruled out of order for straying off the topic of the abortion legislation before the emergency session of the Texas Senate. Rand Paul droned on against drone strikes for almost 13 hours in the U.S. Senate this past spring.

So Ted needs a full 13 hours for bragging rights in Texas and the Tea Party. Anything less would make Ted look lame relative to Rand and Wendy.

Still, seeing how long you can talk without stopping is not very much of a challenge as endurance feats go. Diana Nyad took nearly 53 hours to swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida earlier this month. That's something to brag about.

Not unlike the Nyad feat, where the downplayers were quick to jump on various alleged minor technicalities, Ted Cruz already has his naysayers. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says this is no filibuster as the budget vote scheduled for tomorrow will not be delayed. Of course, he might have held the vote this afternoon if he hadn't made allowance for Ted Cruz speaking.

The current record for filibusters in the U.S. Senate is held by Strom Thurmond who spoke against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for 24 hours and 18 minutes. That means the magic moment will come if Ted Cruz is still speaking at 3:01 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.

Will Ted Cruz set the new record or will Harry Reid prevent him from wiping Strom Thurmond out of the record books? You can watch live on C-Span.

Update: Strom's record stands as Ted clocks out at 21 hours and 19 minutes. Ted edged out the 1908 effort of 18 hours and 23 minutes by Robert La Follette of Wisconsin to take the #4 slot on the all-time list of windy Senate gasbags. Take that, Wendy and Rand.

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