Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a top general in the battle to defund Obamacare, says the only way the movement can succeed is if "historic levels" of Americans join the fight.
"The smoke-filled rooms of elected representatives and lobbyists ... will never prevail," Cruz told Dom Giordano, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"The only thing we can [do to] win this fight is if the American people get motivated, engaged, and mobilized at historic levels."
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Cruz said "DontFundIt.com — the national petition drive launched by the Senate Conservatives Fund last week — has already gained 125,000 signatures. He hopes to have millions in the next 60 days.
"Nothing gets the attention of an elected representative more than hearing from their constituents – and encouraging our elected representatives to do the right thing … that's No. 1," he said.
In addition, the House of Representatives must pass a continuing resolution that will fund every area of the government — except for Obamacare, Cruz added.
"President [Barack] Obama and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid, predictably, will scream and yell that the mean, nasty Republicans are threatening to shut down the government," he said.
"At that point we've got to stand up ... and say, no, we have voted to fund the government. We want to keep the government open. Why is Barack Obama threatening to shut down the government?"
Cruz admitted many Republicans are fearful of being blamed for a government shutdown, but they shouldn’t be.
"That fear and trepidation should not prevent us from taking our best and our last real opportunity to actually defeat Obamacare," he said.
He said once Obamacare is enacted, there will be little chance it will be repealed because people will get used to the subsidies they receive from the government to help pay for healthcare.
"The Obama administration's plan is very simple — to get as many Americans as possible addicted to the subsidies, addicted to the sugar," he said.
"They know the simple fact that in modern times, no major entitlement has ever gone into effect and then been undone.
"So they just want as many people receiving subsidies because once that happens, it is likely Obamacare will become a permanent feature of our economy."
Cruz said he is against other plans being touted to delay or change the launch of Obamacare.
"You get some folks who say things like, well, we ought to delay the individual mandate, we ought to strip the IRS of enforcement power," he said.
"Passing any of those partial measures is purely a symbolic gesture. ... The only thing that has a chance of succeeding is if we can get 41 Republicans in the Senate, or 218 Republicans in the House, to stand together and say, we ... will not fund ... one penny of Obamacare."
Cruz added the idea of a "government shutdown" is a misnomer.
"What it in fact is, is a partial, temporary shutdown because Social Security checks continue to flow, the military continues to be paid, the national debt continues to be serviced," he explained.
"Nonessential government functions are temporarily suspended. Now that's inconvenient, but we actually see that every single weekend."
On the subject of Chris Matthews, the acerbic MSNBC host who referred to Cruz as a "political terrorist" this week, the senator shrugged it off.
"My favorite comment on that was someone on Twitter who suggested an ironclad rule going forward that anyone who calls a political opponent a terrorist should forever be prohibited from accusing anyone of demagoguery," Cruz said.
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