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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cruz's Bruises

It has been a bad time for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Garance Frankie-Ruta in The Atlantic:
Watching the pushback against Senator Ted Cruz right now is like watching a group of kids who have been in thrall to a bully suddenly wake up to who he is and start working to cut him down to size. Republican members of Congress who were once his allies have begun to turn on a man who has become an outsize figure in their party since winning office less than one year ago.
“As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz,” Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said on his show. "Why are Republicans so angry at Ted Cruz?"
"You cannot build a congressional majority, in either party, for any kind of action, unless you are treating your colleagues with some certain amount of respect, and saying, ‘Hey, what do you think of my idea?’” Karl Rove told Wallace, speaking of Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee, who are together leading the Don't Fund Obamacare movement. “Instead they have dictated to their colleagues ... and not consulted them about this strategy at all.”
...
"If you caught Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) or Mike Lee (R-Utah) on the Sunday talk shows, you would quickly realize that these two have absolutely no idea what they are doing," concluded conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin. "Lee’s and Cruz’s insistence that they are the ones 'fighting' is belied by the facts. They are actually intent on running into a concrete wall again and again to prove their political machismo. For many Republicans this isn’t bravery but stupidity."
Sean Sullivan at The Washington Post:
It was a virtual lock going into Monday that Cruz’s plan wouldn’t end up winning much support. What was unclear was whether he would coax any Republicans of note to join him.
The fact that McConnell will not speaks volumes. The Kentucky Republican has drawn a primary challenger who is running to his right in a conservative state. Moreover, McConnell has been very careful not to do anything to irk a conservative base already skeptical of him. His decision not to join Cruz suggests he (1) Doesn’t think his idea will lead anywhere and (2) Doesn’t think it’s good politics, either.
Neither apparently does Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who’s also not going to filibuster. “Senator Cornyn will support the House bill that defunds Obamacare. He will not block a bill that defunds Obamacare,” said Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.
Cornyn doesn’t face a serious primary challenger, but is taking the potential threat of one very seriously.
The Wall Street Journal editorializes:
When Mr. Cruz demands that House Republicans "hold firm," he means they should keep trying to defund ObamaCare even if it results in a shutdown that President Obama will blame on Republicans. It's nice of him to volunteer House Republicans for duty. The supposedly intrepid General Cruz can view the battle from the comfort of HQ while the enlisted troops take any casualties.
The Lee-Cruz strategy, to the extent it's about more than fund-raising lists or getting face time on cable TV, seems to be that if the House holds "firm" amid a shutdown, then the public will eventually blame Mr. Obama and the Democrats, who will then fold and defund ObamaCare. Or, short of that, Democrats might agree to delay the health-care law for another year past its launch date on October 1.
Miracles happen, but it would rank as one for the ages if Mr. Obama agreed to defund his signature Presidential achievement. A year's delay would also be a victory, but Mr. Obama knows that punting the law past the 2014 election is risky if Republicans regain a Senate majority.
 Jason Zengerle writes at GQ:
Ted Cruz blew his first big shot in politics. Back in 2000, he had scored a plum assignment working in the policy shop of George W. Bush's Austin-based presidential campaign. He distinguished himself in the weeks after the election, serving on the legal team that helped Bush win the Florida recount and, by extension, the White House. He seemed destined for a meaty job in the new administration.

But Cruz's personal style earned him many detractors in BushWorld. He was infamous for firing off mundane work e-mails in the middle of the night—it happened so often that some in the Bush campaign suspected him of writing them ahead of time and programming his computer to send while he was asleep. He was also known for dispatching regular updates on his accomplishments that one recipient likened to "the cards people send about their families at Christmas, except Ted's were only about him and were more frequent." When it came time to divvy up the spoils of victory, many of Cruz's campaign colleagues headed to the White House; Cruz went to Washington, too—but he was exiled to the outer Siberia of the Federal Trade Commission. Says one friend: "He was pretty crushed."