Cruz’in for a Bruising

Cruz's play boxed in McConnell, giving fodder to the Republican leaders' Tea Party opponent

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Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call / Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham at the Conservative Policy Summit in Washington on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014.

The relationship between Senator Ted Cruz and his Republican colleagues has never been warm, but it frosted over Wednesday night when the Texas conservative pulled a procedural stunt that forced Senate GOP leaders to cast a tough vote.

Like many of Washington’s feuds, this one stems from a purely symbolic vote. After the House authorized an increase in the federal debt ceiling without conditions, the bill went to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where its passage was preordained. The chamber’s top Republicans, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, preferred to bring the bill to a vote with a simple majority, which would enable must-pass legislation to sneak through the Senate without GOP approval. But Cruz objected, which required the measure to garner 60 votes. The gambit forced McConnell and Cornyn, both of whom are up for re-election this year, to break the filibuster. The bill passed, as expected, and neither McConnell nor Cornyn voted for it.

But this rates as high drama in the Senate chamber, where passive aggression is its own form of art. The question is what consequence the stare-down may spur, either for Senate Republican leadership or their tormentor. 

For Cornyn, the impact is probably nil. Though he faces a Tea Party challenge in next month’s primary, and Texas is a conservative state where a debt-ceiling increase is about as popular as Barack Obama, it’s hard to imagine he has much to sweat about. Cornyn has yawning leads in the polls and a huge fundraising advantage. His most heralded competitor is running a campaign so bizarre that some local Republicans suspect it may be an elaborate debt-retirement scheme.

McConnell is a different story. The Republican Senate leader is squeezed between challengers on his right and left flank in a state where he’s not exactly a popular guy. His vote to advance the debt-limit bill gives fodder to Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin, whose central campaign theme is that he will be the conservative vote that McConnell sometimes isn’t. His supporters immediately touted Wednesday night’s vote as evidence of that claim. “McConnell sided with the Democrats and gave President Obama a blank check,” said Matt Hoskins of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which is backing Bevin. Yet it’s hard to imagine this has much impact in Kentucky, where any voters incensed by McConnell making a procedural vote on the debt limit are probably already committed to Bevin.

Ordinarily, getting boxed in by a freshman backbencher might be an occasion for McConnell, who runs his caucus with an iron grip, to exact retribution. But Cruz is tough to punish. He has no apparent interest in Senate seniority. He doesn’t need plum committee assignments. His Tea Party megaphone gives him national reach and fundraising firepower. And his power and popularity is rooted in the fact that he is despised by GOP elites. A public feud with the ultimate Washington insider would only enhance his stature with his grassroots base. If McConnell wants vengeance, he would be wise to keep his fingerprints off the weapon.

47 comments
PaulDeemer
PaulDeemer

I guess we have Canada to thank for sending all their Crazy citizens to us. Ted Cruz and Justin Bieber are at the top of the list of the Kooks. Wish they would take them both back! But not to worry after Ted Cruz's Failed Presidential Bid in 2016 he will have no place to go. He will then become a Nobody, just like the Tea Party. Democrats will rise up and Join forces with the GOP to eradicate the Tea Party Cancer from America.

small_axe
small_axe

The majority of Tea Party types think the world is 6,000 years old for crying out loud. And I'm supposed to take someone THAT totally Fn retarded's word for how to set fiscal policy?


Go commit suicide somewhere else Tea Partier. China is going to eat our lunch if we ever allow you morons to have real national power.


6,000 years?!?! Why should anyone who isn't as dumb as you take you seriously?

More2Story
More2Story

Canadian Cruz speaks to his simpleminded followers hearts with the left side of his brain while planning their total destruction with the right side.

arvay
arvay

Thank you Ted Cruz: you are sinking the Republican party. Just enough votes to upscrew things, but not enough to govern. And your Tea Party keeps supplying an endless stream of wingnuts to keep the right's nutcase reputation alive.Please, please, please -- get the Republican nomination for president. 

BobJan
BobJan

Typical repub's, "I'm for it but I have to vote against it" or I'll lose my job. They don't govern. They're like a tree. They lay out their roots and you have to chop them down to get rid of them. Useless Congress.

Titanus
Titanus

I wonder if Cruz could be kicked out of the GOP.  I am sure there is a way and just wonder if that is what it will take for sanity to return the the republican party.

jason024
jason024

In the name of "purity and principles" the Tea Party is just ensuring their demise.

It is time to stop this obstructionism allow for compromise to happen.

roknsteve
roknsteve

Why would any republican vote for a Cuban born in Canada?   

Fletch2820
Fletch2820

Ted Cruz is just one small example of why I for one am ashamed of this country. I volunteered to serve during the Viet Nam era because I firmly believed it was honorable to serve my country. At this stage of the game I see there are elected officials as well as citizens who support them that feel it's acceptable to write off our aged, disabled, children, underprivileged and even our veterans as well as those still serving as expendable and not worth our notice.

How very foolish of me to think I was willing to offer up my life for an honorable country and citizenry. It thoroughly disgusts me to think I was ordered to take the lives of people who had done absolutely nothing to me for this country and this is how gratitude is shown to me.


I now am one of those written off/kicked to the curb disadvantaged and am disabled as well. I not only served I paid my taxes for some 44 years. My benefits, or as some of the a$$holes prefer to call them, "entitlements" are being cut and attacked regularly. Veterans benefits? Those are just a joke with a really bad punch line. Vets aren't honored, they're just humored with smoke blown up their a$$e$.


Pardon an old white guy who is also a vet for believing that I had served and lived in an honorable country.


I see nothing that remotely resembles honor coming from the conservative side of the aisle. What I see are bought and paid for lawyers defending their wealthy clients and doing so in an extremely sleazy manner.


Enough is enough already. The brinkmanship and psychopathic decisions are placing way to many in a situation that leads to desperation and desperation isn't a good thing to foster in a country where the majority own firearms.

josemeza1971
josemeza1971

What kind coupon is this,Considering Mexican president, an aline drog dealer calling it saver corrup azo

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

It's ironic that the very same tactic used against President Obama by the GOP is being used by guys like Cruz within the GOP against the party's own leadership. Cruz is being touted as a presidential candidate by a lot of the conservative pundits and loved by the tea party. This is exactly the business model every right wing rock-star wannabee pursues. It's why Palin quit her day job. Make a scene during your government service by playing to the mob, then write books, give speeches, go on Fox and cash in. Only with Cruz, he'll probably get elected a couple more times by the east Texas secessionist crowd. See, they don't really care about winning. They just care about the act. If it plays on the plains, they're set for life. Meanwhile, they'll eat their own. Send in your donation, pahd'nah! Ted is on the tantrum trail!

MrObvious
MrObvious

You know what they say about revenge. Only that we don't have to lift a finger to do anything. It's like watching someone punching themselves in the face after declaring victory over nothing. It's funny if it wasn't so stupid and sad.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

So Ted Cruz is the same as an internet troll.

Advance nothing of substance, just try to get underneath someone's skin?

Titanus
Titanus

The only vengeance the GOP is going to get is if they end gerrymandered districts which is the only reason extremist are in Congress.  Just look at California; they got rid of gerrymandering and ended up adding republican seats.  For Texas there might be some democratic seats gained but more importantly the moderate and practical republicans will be able to get elected.  Considering that Rick Perry is trying to get people and business from liberal states to relocate there and the increasing numbers of traditionally democratic voting minorities, getting rid of gerrymandering while they can might be the only way for the republican party to keep any power in Texas a decade from now.

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

Senate Republicans, and Mitch McConnell, were minimally outmaneuvered by Ted Cruz here.  They have a much more imposing problem, however:


They have no agenda.  They have no program.  They stand for nothing.


Their so-called commitment to fiscal responsibility is a joke.  The GOP didn't discover fiscal responsibility until Obama had to spend to prevent the Republican Recession from becoming the Republican Depression II.  This, after decades of profligate spending and Republican deficits.


Their so-called pro-life position isn't.  It has nothing to do with being pro-life, as its interest in all life ends at birth.  Its real focus is control of women's bodies.  This dovetails with their opposition to contraception and their general tendency towards misogyny.  (Is there a GOP war on women?  Just ask the single women in Virginia who favored the weak Democratic candidate for governor by a margin of 42% over his anti-contraception, anti-abortion opponent.)


They rail against Obamacare but have no program to replace it.  They rail against gay marriage, but are clearly on the losing side of time.  They rail against Benghazi, but have nothing to show for all their polemics (and, given Iraq, are hypocritical in the extreme).  They rail against the 21st century, and want nothing more than to recreate a national 1950s sitcom, like "Ozzie and Harriet", where everyone is white, orderly and boring.


There are two things that define Senate Republicans, and Republicans everywhere: their commitment to stoking the fears and prejudices of the extreme elements of their base and their commitment to redistributing the country's resources into the pockets of the wealthiest individuals and corporations.


In both respects, their agenda is unpopular.  


No.  Mitch McConnell and his crew have much bigger problems than Ted Cruz.  If they want to glimpse their problems, all they have to do is look in the mirror.

reallife
reallife

Ron Reagan? And that comes as a surprise to you, honey? LOL

reallife
reallife

You libtards are SOOOO worried about the wellbeing of the GOP...

LOL

reallife
reallife

@jason024  standing up for their principles? what's this world coming to? who do they think they are? Americans? the nerve!



oh boy! if this "crowd" is allowed to stay in power, tell your grandkids to start learning chinese... sad but true



DavidCramer
DavidCramer

@roknsteve They would even vote for an African-American if he hated Obama and the government enough. Remember Herman Cain?

lynnlm
lynnlm

@roknsteve

How can Canadian Cruz solve the immigration problems of the United States, if he cannot solve his own personal immigration problems?

aztecian
aztecian

@ReneDemonteverde cruz is a nightmare for all.  he is a treasonous liar.  he needs to be impeached and locked up for his crimes against the people.  

aztecian
aztecian

@reallife god speed...for what?  this all fake, debt ceiling is concocted teatard cloud.  there is no reason to have a ceiling.  we need to fund programs that help people get there needed benefits, not rob them by using false excuses and saying the sky is falling.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@DavidStrayer  

If we had a center-right moderate party, they'd win in a heart-beat. 

The old guard GOP were the pawns of the wealthy, and still are.  The wealthy have gained another 1-2% of the total wealth of the country since 2010, and now control 95% of it.  Anyone still believing that giving money to the "job makers and businesses" will stimulate job creation needs to be tattooed on their foreheads with the words, "DO NOT LET ME BREED" because they're too stupid to continue adding their genes to the human race.

The tea party is the genetic result of being born into old-guard GOP families and suckling on the cold, withered, toxic teat of GOP campaign rhetoric since 1972.  They have a virulent form of nationalism and a delusional, idealized notion of "freedom" embodied in the nonsensical concept of "the right to personal liberty", which translates to freedom without accountability.  When the civil war starts, they'll be the ones doing it.

The Democrats don't have any concept about small business, painting too wide of a brush in regulation and have the a consistent record of the crappiest implementations of good intentions.  I call them well meaning, but utterly incompetent.

Each of them has SOME good ideas, but none of them are really competent enough, uncorrupted enough or sane enough to run the country.  Combine some GOP with some Democrat, add a tiny dash of tea party and you'd have a winning center-right combination that would actually do something for the country instead of their own special interests, or egos.

Sparrow55
Sparrow55

@DavidStrayer  

They have no agenda.  They have no program.  They stand for nothing.

Actually, the GOP does stand for something and they do have a very clear agenda.....discredit the non-white president and deny him any chance of success or a lasting positive legacy. 


tommyudo
tommyudo

@DavidStrayer  


I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Cruz is a Dem "Manchurian Candidate" planted to help the GOP implode. So far he is doing a great job.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@reallife 

What would be a surprise is if you didn't keep posting like an adolescent girl.

More2Story
More2Story

@reallife  If the Tea Party bowel movement maintained a more moderate platform instead of their extremist "screw everybody to attain fiscal responsibility" attitude, they could actually do something other than splitting the GOP.

aztecian
aztecian

@ReneDemonteverde @roknsteveit is that he cannot represent the people because he can relate with that type of background.  he does represent the changing demographics.

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

@DeweySayenoff  

Mr. Sayenoff,


No disagreement from me.  I'm not sure what you envision is really center-right, and not just center, but a rose by any other name …


I agree with you.

jmac
jmac

@DeweySayenoff  For the umpteenth time - we have a center right moderate party.  It's called the Democratic party.   


Just because Republicans pull their base in with by crying about small business and regulation - it's all talk.   What have they proposed for small business that Democrats are against?   When they cry regulation  Republicans hear  Wall Street regulations.   They play the base even on that concept.   The same way they want immigrants here - they will tell you businesses would fold without them as they convince the base they don't want immigrants.    


What they ALL do believe in is what George H. W. Bush called voodoo economics - trickle down.  That's the  Republican party is in a nutshell.   Sowell economics.  What they also all believe in is doing away with public education.  They want for-profit schools.   

Yacko
Yacko

@Sparrow55 @DavidStrayer What makes it all the more laughable is the fact the President is half-white. Or maybe that makes them more rabid? That he has the gall to be half-white yet technically identify more with his African american side? All I know is that I look at the President, those ears and goofy laugh and think to myself that he is channeling his inner "Opie".

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

@Sparrow55 @DavidStrayer  Actually, President Obama's legacy will be that he got so much done for the country including getting it out of the 2nd Republican depression in less than 75 years with absolutely no help from the opposition party which continued to sit in the corner and make faces ( I started to say play with something but my momma taught me not to insult idiots as they already have a lot of issues that they can't control)..

Irony
Irony

@Sparrow55 @DavidStrayer 

Quite possibly in doing this they will end up cementing his legacy.

In light of the current norm Obama is a great president, but in the historical sense he would, on his accomplishments alone, probably qualify as just a bit above average. However, in light of the "not racist" opposition he constantly fights the fact that he accomplished anything at all will be hailed as a miracle. And because of the GOP the Affordable Care Act and its future revisions will be forever branded as Obamacare, associating him in the minds of future generations with the ability to actually be able to afford medical care.

aztecian
aztecian

@ReneDemonteverde @aztecianconstitutional scholar for what constitution?  russia or nazi germany?  he is teatard, teabanger winger hater.  obama could teach circles around him. 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@DavidStrayer @DeweySayenoff 

Well, I kind of figured the mix would be 49/49/2 with respect to the proportions of ideas taken from the various political ideologies which isn't exactly center.  But center left, center right, center...  I don't particularly care as long as government works, and works for the people instead of special interests for a change. ;)

BruceS78
BruceS78

@DeweySayenoff @jmacThe only reason the government took back the student loan program what the absolute mess that the private sector made of them.  You can't get  rid of them even in bankruptcy, so banks were giving them out to anyone.  Personally, I would rather give grants to kids going to engineering or vet school  rather than continuing any of the breaks that the wealth and big businesses get in this country. 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@jmac @DeweySayenoff

No, actually, regulations from the Democrats with regard to small business are rather onerous, while the right makes it hard in other ways as they tend to promote big business.  It's mostly in the area of fees and taxation which, if applied to larger businesses, isn't as bad because they have more margin to work with.  Immigration isn't even an issue in that respect.

If Democrats would leave small business out of the business equation (say less than 20 employees or under a million gross revenue, whichever is more) and regulated banks to be more forthcoming with business loans to smaller businesses (micro-loans work very well), then I'd agree with you. 

They also should get out of the profit business with regard to government-funded student loans.  Student loan rates should be adjusted for inflation plus overhead only (no sense taking a loss).

As for the rest, of course the concept of giving money to the rich to make jobs is delusional.  Businesses make jobs based only on demand and nothing else, no matter how much money they get from investors.

An argument can be made that investing in a company, rather than helping to create jobs, actually causes job loss.  Investment money is used (among other reasons) to become more efficient.  Greater efficiency means fewer employees needed.  With the quarter-by-quarter, profit-focused motive to repay investors dominating businesses, the first thing they're going to do is fire more people to generate new profits to give the investors more return. If hiring is then needed, they do it at lower wages and fewer hours.  (This is what's happened in the majority of cases, according to the Department of Labor.)

In a good economy, for a new business or one that is seeking to expand employment (as opposed to just making things more efficient), investment does create new jobs.  But new businesses are created only with sufficient demand, and few businessmen are willing to test recessed waters until there's more disposable income being spent.

(Sorry if I went on a bit on that subject.  I'm a small businessman and know the issue from the inside.)

tom.litton
tom.litton

@Irony @Sparrow55@DavidStrayerDomestically maybe, but he will also be the president that openly killed an American citizen without due process.  He also severely prosecuted whistle-blowers on questionable government activities.


If the next few presidents continue that trend, he could also be remembered as the first president that took away a lot of civil liberties.