Skip to comments.What Explains Ted Cruz? (The Left scratches their collective heads)
Posted on 10/16/2013 10:41:20 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Texas, for starters.
Between his 21-hour non-filibuster to halt Obamacare, his impassioned, hard-line speech at the right-wing Values Voters Summit, and his meeting with House Republicans at the mediocre Mexican joint, Tortilla Coast, its clear Ted Cruz has been conducting the shutdown train, even as the country heads into default and his party heads over a cliff. Just about every write-up of the man portrays a smart and opportunistic political mind, eager to be, as The Texas Tribunes Evan Smith puts it, the Tea Partys one true standard-bearer. But is his strategy just crazy?
Pundits in Washington cant decide what to make of it. At The Washington Post alone, you can find a number of conflicting opinions. Jonathan Capehart, for one, thinks Cruz is just like Sarah Palin. But he also thinks hes deeply cynical. WaPos The Fix blog notes Cruz has hurt himself badly based on poll numbers. But the blogs main writer, Chris Cilliza, also notes hes set himself up perfectly for the 2016 presidential primary.
Cruz is obviously an enigma to Washington pundits, in part because hes constantly coming through the looking glassand going back again. Its bound to make ones vision blurry. To understand the senator's calculations and strategies, to grasp where hes coming from, you have to look at, well, where hes coming from.
Cruz may be a wacko bird in the U.S. Senate, but in Texas, hes not even the most extreme member of the congressional delegation. In the past two weeks, Texas representatives havejust for startersaccused John McCain of working for al-Qaeda and berated a national park ranger for the World War II Memorial being shut down. (House Republicans evidently had nothing to do with it.) Representatives Louie Gohmert, Blake Farenthold, and Michael Burgess have all advocated for impeaching the presidentas has Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, the man who was too "moderate" to defeat Cruz in their 2012 Senate primary. In many ways, this is just business as usual in the Lone Star State.
In Texas, the Tea Party increasingly is the Republican Party. The preferences of mainstream Americansor even mainstream Republicanssimply dont translate in this alternative reality. And its that same reality that many congressional Republicans are going home to; in ultra-red districts, the biggest challenges come from the right. Cruz now concerns himself with two groups operating in the same bubbleTexas Republicans and the congressional Tea Party caucus. He ignores the rest of the country and, probably more than anyone else, understands what kind of power that kind of strategy can yield. Its whats gotten him this far.
His 2012 primary race is the stuff of legend. When he started off, Cruzs mission to become a U.S. senator seemed nearly as wild-eyed as his current shutdown strategy. The primary was crowded with a number of unknowns, Cruz being one of them. Looming over everyone was David Dewhurst, the three-term lieutenant governor who had buckets of money, the Texas elite behind him, and a conservative track record that largely tracked with Governor Rick Perrysboth economically, with lots of budget cuts, and socially, with restrictions on womens health care and voter-ID laws.
Because of legal fights over redistricting, the GOP primary was delayed multiple times. Months passed, giving Cruz more time to go after Dewhurst, calling him an insider and accusing him of having a moderate track record. Cruz received major backing from national Tea Party groups and was lauded on the cover of National Review, while Dewhursts campaign flailed. The oppositions negative ads only raised Cruzs name recognition with voters. Dewhurst, even with backing from Perrys team, failed to land a punch while Cruz didnt stop hitting. In the end, Cruz forced Dewhurst into a runoff and beat him when they went head-to-head.
The takeaway was simple: Run to the right, eloquently state the Tea Party line, and dont be afraid of going after anyoneRepublicans included. The role of luck and the specifics of the state had little bearing. Cruz went to Washington already beloved by Tea Party supporters around the country, and that relationship has only grown.
Cruz is now dancing with them that brung him. Rather than listening to the D.C. chattering classes and their conventional wisdom, Cruz has forged his own path, largely through scorching the earth and only concerning himself with the opinion of the Tea Party. Its paid dividendsas a freshman senator, hes dominated the debate and made himself a household name. Last weekend, in the Values Voters Summit straw poll vote for 2016, Cruz won the presidential nod in a landslide, decisively beating out other Tea Party characters like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. If you live in the Cruz bubble, it must seem ridiculous to think that he should even consider changing course.
He has a point there: Unlike most of Washington, where plenty of onlookers are still convinced the Republican Party can extricate itself from the Tea Party, Cruz already knows the GOP desperately needs the Tea Party. The activists who back Cruz are the ones who vote consistently in GOP primaries, the ones who volunteer on campaigns, the ones who give the party energy.
But Cruz doesnt know what he doesnt knowand he doesnt know a lot. Cruz has only been a politician in the Tea Party era. Hes only run in Texas, where the Republican Party reigns supreme and the vast majority of elections are decided in the GOP primary. The political "reality," as most people see it, has nothing to do with Cruz's appeal to the Tea Party base, or with his prospects for 2016. Its what makes him such a powerful, and powerfully unsettling force in Washington.
In his pursuit of power, Cruz has been notably unconcerned about the implications of his political tactics for the rest of his party or, for that matter, the rest of the global economy. Ted Cruz has gone a long way toward making himself the favored candidate of the Tea Party. And the Republicans are the Tea Party; anyone who doubted that prior to the Cruz-led shutdown certainly knows it now.
By playing with the fire of default and unabashedly pointing his finger at fellow Republicans, Cruz has deeply weakened the Grand Old Party. For better or for worse, the United States is not Texas, and while Republican dominance may be a given in one state, the party's national brand may soon be irreparably damagedthanks largely to Cruz.
Right now, it seems Cruz doesn't care about any of that. From his vantage point inside his Tea Party Texas bubble, hes leading the indispensable wing of an inevitable party. But if the party itself begins to crack, then Cruz will be in trouble.
Put another way, Cruz has made himself the captain of the USS Republican. Barring some unforeseen turn of events, the Tea Party wont blame him no matter what happensit'll love him all the more. The Texas delegation will likely continue to cheer for him as well. But the reality is already intruding into the bubble. Republicans are the most unpopular theyve ever been, they're splitting apart, and they're losing the fiscal fight. If the ship takes on enough water, all the Tea Party and Texas love in the world wont be enough to keep it from sinking.
This could be the birth of the “Wacko Bird” party.
He blames the Republicans for the Memorial shutdown when that was all Obama since the shutdown was not supposed to affect the memorials at all.
They’re trying to paint him as a Huey Long, a colorful local politician who could never translate to the national stage. This is what they’re going to try to pin on him. That crazy treacherous moron McCain they call “moderate”.
.... Until the personal cost and sacrifice that everyone is about to face is actually verbalized .... the message being spewed by the GOP will only be over the head of most to understand. The message needs to be an easy to understand personalized message .... not one about government and big spending that very few out there understand. The GOP really needs to think of the audience and to simplify their message if they ever hope to get their ideas successfully out to the average Joe and Mary American Public.
If Cruz is the captain of the USS Republican, then Obama is the captain of the SS Titanic and is running his ship of state, with full engines open, over the fiscal cliff in a way in which there will be few survivors other than the rich 1%er Democrats and a few rich RINOS.
This is a nice smear article of a principled man, something the writer obviously knows nothing about.
Quoting Jonathan Capehart on anything is like quoting Charles Manson on family planning and dinner menus.
I’d rather go on a “Cruz” with Ted than on a trip anywhere with any Democrat. Ted would pay for his own fare; a Democrat would make someone else pay for their ticket and drinks.
There is a difference, but the writer hasn’t a clue as to what it is.
By all means, Mr. Author, let’s stick with the status quo. That’s working so well (rolling eyes)
Abby’s caustic tongue is tolerable, but she showed her hand with the multiple ‘bubble’ references. The litany of charges defying convention aren’t necessarily negatives.
And, speaking of bubbles, the politicians and journalists living in the Washington "bubble" seem to have zero awareness of what's on the mind of the majority out here in flyover country.
In general, we loathe Obamacare. We're anxious for the economy and the country's financial condition. And we love our vets. Finally, we're hungry for politicians who share these concerns. Cruz has effectively spoken to all these issues and taken action in an attempt to correct them.
What she doesn't realize is that Cruz is winning big outside the Beltway -- even as he's being savaged by those within the Beltway.
And they consider us "provincial"...
The Marxists who vote for trillion dollar deficits, now THEY are merely protecting the “global economy”. Absofrigginlutely! Bob
Im afraid it was written by a liberal who has also been known to write for Salon and long time been a basher of Texas Republicans.
Today was however a deaster but a deaster because Republicans in the house proved they haven’t the steal to stand up to the democrats. It is a deaster for them as much as it is an education for the rest of us on how utterly worthless they are.
The Democrats threaten to act irresponsible and republicans cave. You would have to be brain dead stupid to think a default would result from anything other than Obama’s arbitrary choice not to pay the interest on our enormous debt, a debt that is still growing at an exponential rate!
If McCain gets his wish not to see anther shut down for anther 15 years then maybe then revenue won’t be able to cover the interest. But whether the Government does or does not shut down that day will be ill-relevant. If we ain’t got enough money to pay the interest we ain’t got no hope of every paying down that debt, with non-existence revenue or new debt that could only raise that interest further still.
If Cruz was responsible for the shutdown then we should thank him for while Cruz truly risked nothing beyond that which we are always at risk of, (Obama’s vengeful recklessness in refusing to pay the interest on the debt). He did demonstrate to us how utterly useless the House republican leadership is and how traitorous some of our so called “moderate members” are.
“The Marxists who vote for trillion dollar deficits, now THEY are merely protecting the global economy. Absofrigginlutely! Bob”
Apparently the “global economy” is depended upon our taking out a loan against our great grand children’s earnings.
Honestly I don’t see how that should be desirable. but as they are referring to the stability of U.S. government debt repayment, that is absolute in the hands of 1 man, President Obama who could easily pay such interest with less than 1/10 the revenue he would have after a “shut down”. And Indeed would be required to do so by the Constitution if only that meant something to him.
Of course the day that interest becomes greater than revenue is also the day we are in default by default.
We are eating from the flesh of our own children and grandchildren. Bob
To the 1984 mantras War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength, our quivering Republicans have added a new one: Treason is Nobility. Bob
>> And they consider us “provincial”...
“They” of course being the chattering class.
This ‘Abby’ speaks of him as if his first and only intention is to garner fame, popularity and support for himself only in a runup to a future national Presidential Election. Well, she’s got the goals right, but the wrong person. That was, and is, Obama right down the line.
If she bothered to listen closely to any of the public comments Senator Cruz has made, he always goes back to that odd number “26 million people I serve”.....she doesn’t even know what that is.
In my book, his FIRST duty is to the State of Texas, and then to the national welfare as one of one hundred. Just like a congressman’s duty should be to his constituents first. In Ms Abby’s book, it’s the other way around. That little square tract of putrid corruption called the District of Columbia is god over all.
She and all the others of her ilk have no clue.
This is the kind of crap they wrote about Reagan before he got elected.
Fox News is probably booking this writer as we speak....they have been attacking Cruz like they were MSNBC
Most Marxists support a Global Economy. You have Obama and Nancy Pelosi pushing various Free Trade pacts.
I think you mean "disaster."
Oh, didja notice? Cruz = Latino heritage.
FU lib racists!
The one thing they can be sure of is Ted Cruz is going to be around for a long time. The comfort zone for liberal republicans has just got narrower. Next year when Obamacare crashes and burns there will be a few who can say we did more than just talk...we went as far as we were allowed to go....Ted Cruz will be at the front of that line!!!
“We are eating from the flesh of our own children and grandchildren. Bob”
The truth is our parents and to a limited extent grand parents were eating from ours.
Its the exponential rate of growth that makes our debt spending so much worse, instead of running debts in the tens of billions we are today running it in the trillions.
If the Government keeps growing as planned tomorrow it will be in the several trillions. Democrats will try to take this money from the economy and discover they can’t. There is only so much loss a competitive economy can endure before it starts producing diminishing returns.
If the left have brains they will try to target that loss towards areas people won’t notice such as free Research & development, and the entrpeneral spirit all things we formerly led the world in as they were all depended upon us having the economic freedom to carry out.
Texas. It's like a whole other country.
And maybe it should become one. I'd immigrate if it did.
“The Left scratches their collective heads”
That may be difficult considering where their heads are stuffed.