Tom DeFrank of the National Journal has a piece up today that, well, reads like a cheap smear piece. DeFrank quotes no one on the record, while doling out three quotes that accuse Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of not spending enough time in Texas, and of being too “angry.” None of the quotes stand up to the facts. DeFrank doesn’t even fact check any of them.
“He’s our Cruz-missile,” a major Texas GOP fundraiser told National Journal. “The wingers love him and establishment Republicans tolerate him because they’re scared of him. But he’s not taking care of business at home and he’s already the most hated Texan in Washington.” (emphases added)
Note the insult aimed at grassroots party activists: “Wingers.” Those “wingers” put Cruz into the Senate. They outnumber the elitists.
As for being “the most hated Texan in Washington…” That’s an unquantifiable statement, but suppose that it’s true. That’s a bad thing?
“It’s fine that he’s in demand around the country,” said one top Texas Republican. “But he spends relatively little time in Texas. Most Texas businessmen are conservative but they’re not extreme right and they don’t know him. That’s problematic; it’s time for a little outreach back home.” (emphasis added)
This simply isn’t true. Sen. Cruz has only been in office for nine months. In that time, he has held at least 60 events in Texas. About 15 of those were during the recent congressional recess, according to his staff. While others in both parties eschewed local events, Cruz held many of them.
Additionally, one should consider how Cruz won his seat in the first place. While most of the big money donors went to his opponent, Cruz patiently held hundreds of events all over the state to build a real grassroots campaign. He has never relied on the heavyweights to fuel his campaign or tell him what to do. Some find this approach refreshing. In any case, it is simply false that he has not spent enough time in Texas. While his day job keeps him in Washington most of the time, where he must be present to be effective, he gets back to Texas as often as possible.
Another Cruz skeptic adds: “The problem with Cruz is he’s angry. He needs to figure out a way to soften his image.” (emphasis added)
The problem with critics like this is that they’re cowards. They should put their names to their criticisms so that readers may be informed and judge the critics as well as their target. Do they have personal axes to grind? Are they supporters of a potential or past Cruz opponent? Are they even Republicans — the third critic isn’t identified at all. Readers have no information to use in weighing where the critics are coming from and what may be motivating them.
No politician is loved or supported by everyone. It’s natural that some folks will find fault with anyone elected to office. But National Journal had no ethical or journalistic reason to grant them the ability to fire at the senator while safely hiding in the weeds. If they want to be leaders, they should step up and attach their names to their issues with Sen. Cruz.
Update: Well, isn’t this interesting. Commenter Salt Lick found Mr. DeFrank keeping “progressive” company. Click on the link and scroll down the page a bit.