Ted Cruz's 'Pittsburgh over Paris' campaign shows us just how dumb the Biden years are going to be

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  • In response to Biden re-entering the US into the Paris climate agreement, GOP Sen. Ted Cruz has launched a "Pittsburgh over Paris" campaign.

  • Cruz says that Biden rejoining the Paris agreement will cost the citizens of Pittsburgh jobs, but the idea makes no sense and is just another bad faith attempt at scoring political points.

  • This is the norm for Republicans, and a sign of what's to come.

  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Before the ink could even dry on Joe Biden's first batch of Executive Orders as president, Republicans went back into their bag of obstructionist shenanigans.

Mitch McConnell, the leader of the GOP's new Senate minority, criticized Biden's day one actions, trying to cast them as a wave of radical policies. McConnell said that Biden should "remember that he does not owe his election to the far-left."

But Biden's actions reflected mainstream views supported by a wide swath of the American public. And his stances against "Defund the police," unconditional student loan forgiveness, and Medicare For All make it clear Biden is - as he always said - a moderate. McConnell's complaints are thinly veiled attempts to paint anything more liberal than hardcore GOP policies as "socialism" or "too far left."

Then, QAnon-friendly Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green immediately filed Articles of Impeachment. She released a five-second long announcement video stating as much. It has something to do with Ukraine, but the statement announcing the impeachment frankly didn't make much sense.

Despite national calls for unity, it took the length of Biden's inauguration speech before the Republicans' returned to bad-faith strategy.

Nowhere was this clearer than with potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz. In response to Biden re-entering the US into the Paris climate accord, an international agreement to curb climate change, Cruz launched a campaign of his own.

It's called "Pittsburgh over Paris" and it's a sign of just how dumb things are going to get in the Biden era.

Read more: Biden promised a return to 'normalcy,' but it's clear that's not happening anytime soon.

Here we go again

Black and yellow, the official colors of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, and thus the unofficial colors of Pittsburgh itself, are the colors used in Ted Cruz's latest 2024 gambit: a "Pittsburgh over Paris" bumper sticker that he's giving away, pictured below.


Nothing says "Pittsburgh" like an image that prominently features the shape of Texas.

Cruz's fake outrage in service of Pittsburghians is a head-scratcher. What does "Pittsburgh over Paris" even mean? Why does trying to curb the harsh effects of climate change hurt Pittsburgh? Why pick a city that has actually set ambitious goals to tackle climate change, like shifting to 100% renewable energy in City buildings by 2030?

Cruz says the Paris agreement will "destroy jobs," presumably in Pittsburgh, but the city voted overwhelmingly for Biden - who repeatedly pledged to return to the Paris Agreement. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Thursday said he agreed with Biden's decision. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald of Allegheny, where Pittsburgh is located, blasted Cruz's slogan.

"We'll run what we need to do here, Senator, and keep your nose out of our business," Fitzgerald told reporters.

Did Ted Cruz just choose Pittsburgh because it starts with the same letter as Paris? He did, didn't he?

All of this is frustrating because Cruz doesn't care about Pittsburgh. He made that clear when he attempted to disenfranchise the city's biggest county, Allegheny, when he not only helped incite an insurrection to throw out their votes but also doubled down on that sentiment hours after. Instead, what Cruz is trying to do is set up a cultural foundation to run for president in 2024. For this reason, this stunt should not be taken seriously.

Cruz's glib slogan isn't about actual policy or concern for the workers in Pittsburgh (many of whom could probably get a steady job in green energy if the GOP actually supported investment in the industry), it's about political opportunity. Despite their calls for unity, Republicans are gearing up for another cycle of mischief and misdeeds. So all this talk about Pittsburgh should be taken with an Allegheny-sized grain of salt.

That's what worries me about the next four years. Biden's term is poised to be rife with Republican virtue-signaling. The virtue signal, or the disingenuous expression of moral fortitude, is the most used play in their playbook, which includes pretending to be concerned about the national debt despite embracing spending when they're in charge, and calling everything to the left of Ronald Reagan "radical socialism."

Cruz is the face of Republican virtue-signaling despite perpetually complaining about the practice. In fact, Cruz's anti-virtue-signaling stance is a virtue signal within a virtue signal - which sounds like the plot of the lamest possible Christopher Nolan film.

It's going to be hard for us to out-absurd the days of the Trump administration, considering the then-president made news for staring directly into the sun during a solar eclipse, among many, many other things. But given that we've already reached critical eye-roll levels in the first days of the Biden administration, it's not looking like it's going to get much better either.

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