Yesterday in the Senate vote on suspension of the debt ceiling, twelve Republican senators voted for cloture to allow the measure itself to come to a final vote. That was not the GOP strategy as planned by the leaders. Their strategy was to allow the measure to come to a vote and then to have it pass without Republican votes. They were foiled by one of their own—Ted Cruz.
Cruz insisted on filibustering the suspension and requiring 60 votes to close debate and take the final vote. He knew the eventual outcome, so there was no legislative point of any substance in doing this and Cruz himself did not take the opportunity to speak against the measure. Instead he watched while the Senate GOP leadership squirmed. When they saw their votes were needed, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn changed their vote from no to yes.
Both McConnell and Cornyn face Tea Party challengers in the 2014 primaries and this vote will be used against them, possibly causing their defeat in the primaries, and, in that case, possibly leading to a loss of GOP Senate seats in a year when they have strong hopes of capturing the Senate. In other words, Cruz did a big favor to the Democrats to enhance his own Tea Party following in the Senate. For a first term senator to embarrass the leadership of his own caucus this way is astounding.
The evidence is clear that Cruz is a demagogue without any principles, a man entirely concerned with his own political career and negligent of his party affiliation—a man with a lean and hungry look, McCarthy redux. He bears watching.
There's a saying I'm sure you've heard, "Politics makes strange bedfellows." As much as I loath Mr. Cruz and his Tea Party cohorts, I'm deathly more afraid of the GOP taking the Senate.
Now, if only John Boehner had the intestinal fortitude to actually act as a leader. His initial reaction to passing immigration reform this session was that it needed to be done. Then, when the Tea Baggers reared their ugly heads and threatened him, he did an "about face" faster than a military trainee. Yet one more example of the tail wagging the dog. His excuse for the 180 degree switch? "We don't trust the President to enforce the law." What a load of nonsense. This, coming from a contingent that attempted to repeal the health care act 48 times, falsely claiming it's unconstitutional, even though the US Supreme Court said it is.
And, even though Boehner kow towed to the extremists, they still want to get rid of him. Unfortunately, Ted Cruz is not the only McCarthy-ite demagogue in Congress; though he is certainly that.
I agree with both you and Karl. One think increasingly more evident to me these days is that modern politics is not about the issues at hand -- it's more about the politician. Maybe it's always been this way, but we live in some bad times today. Things are changing bigtime because the widget factory is closing. It seems that we have manufactured too many widgets!
The problem, in my more than humble opinion, is that no one wants to lead, yet everyone wants to stay in office. The more extreme one's position is, the bigger you advertise yourself as a 'patriot' (anti-thetical to real patriotism, but it impresses the Fox viewers). And, if anyone challenges that position, or appears to try and work with the black guy, there is no reasoned debate. They go into a tantrum like a petulant 5 year old or worse, attack like a rabid animal. The priorities are retention of office first, ideology second, party third, and somewhere down the line, like 10th or 11th, is what is good for the country.
Cruz is dangerous, half the time I don't know if he is just crazy or crazy smart. We know what crowd he is playing to, and the media keep falling for the act and keep on giving him a forum to spew his rants on. And if you want to see what kind of nut ( no pun intended) he sprung from, you don't need to look much further than this http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/13/rafael-cruz-atheism-leads-to-...
My own judgment is that Cruz is a dangerous man with no commitment to traditional political process and no loyalty to his party or to any principles other than his own advancement. At this point he has few friends in his own party in the Senate.
When earmarks were taken out of the process, Congressional leadership lost one of its most potent means of discipline. On the whole that was probably a good thing, but along with other changes it has led to a Congress in which members owe little to the leadership and feel free to disparage it. In a recent radio interview Cruz said:
“In the 13 months I’ve been in the Senate it has become apparent to me the single thing that Republican politicians hate and fear the most, and that is when they’re forced to tell the truth. It makes their heads explode.”
If such an indictment of all Republican legislators came from a Democrat it would be considered inflammatory and viciously partisan, but coming from a Republican senator, I suppose we must take it for the truth.