Senator Ted Cruz is now officially on the outs with most of the GOP caucus. I’m sure that suits him fine, and no doubt wins him friends and supporters among those conservatives who cheer his grandstanding and futile legislative gestures that have zero chance of passing.
For Cruz, playing to the peanut gallery on the right in service to his overweening ambition to be president trumps all. Forget reason. Forget logic. Why bother with those trivialities when there’s red meat to throw at his supporters?
And if, in the process of satisfying the bloodlust of his supporters, he helps the opposition and damages his party and its causes, that is secondary to his narcissistic compulsion to make everything about him.
Twenty-four Obama administration nominees to the bench and important agency positions that were blocked for months by his fellow Republicans were set on the path to easy confirmation over the weekend because Cruz wanted to blow up the budget deal. By preventing the Senate from leaving town on Friday when he objected to the unanimous consent request by Majority Leader Harry Reid to adjourn until Monday, Cruz not only forced a vote on his motion to deny funding to Obama’s executive orders on immigration on Saturday night — a vote that would have happened Monday anyway — he allowed Reid and the Democrats the extra time they needed to ram through a couple of dozen ultra-liberal nominees who will do more damage to the causes in which conservatives believe than all of Obama’s executive orders put together.
The judges will be sitting for years. The agency personnel will be writing regulations for the next two years that I doubt Cruz would be happy with. Just what possessed this demagogue to put his personal, political interests ahead of the goals of his party and his ideology?
There was never any chance his legislative gambit would work, as evidenced by the final vote on his amendment — 74-22. Meanwhile, Obama’s choice for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, whom Republicans had been blocking for months, will be confirmed in a vote later this week. Murthy once suggested that guns should be regulated as a health hazard.
Thanks a lot, Ted.
Democrats are also thanking Cruz:
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 13, 2014
Most Republican senators had no idea what Cruz was trying to accomplish. Cruz joined them in that cluelessness:
“GOP [senators] should quit complaining about Cruz and Lee and start working with us to stop amnesty,” tweeted Amanda Carpenter, Cruz’s spokeswoman.
What does Cruz think the rest of the caucus was doing when they got the Democrats to agree to a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security? The whole point of the limited funding for DHS is so that the issue of Obama’s executive orders on immigration can be revisited when Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress.
Cruz’s excuse is that he doesn’t “trust” the leadership to follow through. So because of his paranoid delusions, several utlra-liberal judges and other nominees were approved.
The GOP caucus appears to have had it with Cruz’s antics:
On the floor, angry GOP senators pressed Cruz over whether he was fundraising off of his tactics, sources said, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins ripped him in a private conversation. Several Republicans were discussing whether to mount a protest vote against Cruz: Unite in opposition to his point-of-order challenging the constitutionality of the spending bill’s funding of Obama’s immigration move.
And 20 Republicans, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, ultimately opposed the Texas Republican. Cruz and Lee won the backing of 22 GOP senators total, including potential 2016 rivals Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The frustration was abundantly clear in the hallways of the Capitol. Asked if he thought the Cruz-Lee plan was effective, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said: “The answer is no.”
“I don’t see how conservative ends are achieved,” said Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a fiscal hardliner. “I think it’s counterproductive. Some of the nominations that we had issues with, like the surgeon general, were not going to move forward. Now they’re going to move forward. “
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) canceled his flight back to Atlanta Saturday morning and said, “I don’t know what the strategy is.”
On the Senate floor Saturday afternoon, Cruz was defending himself as he was surrounding by a host of GOP senators, including Ayotte, Collins and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
“In the meantime, you are going to make everybody miserable,” Collins said sternly to Cruz, as she shook her head. She walked away, looked at Hatch and said: “I tried.”
As she walked off the floor, Collins didn’t hold back.
“I’m not happy with the strategy that [Cruz] has come up with,” Collins told reporters. “I think it’s counterproductive and will have the end result of causing nominees who I think are not well qualified to be confirmed. So I don’t understand the approach that he is taking. I think it’s very unfortunate and counterproductive.”
Who cares if it’s “counterproductive” if it serves the ends of the junior senator from Texas?
Cruz has yet to accomplish anything of note in his Senate career — no important legislation he has sponsored has passed, no significant contributions to debates. His is simple, nihilistic obstructionism. There is nothing wrong with obstructing bad legislation. But to obstruct for the sake of obstructing when your efforts have zero chance of being successful requires us to question the motives of Ted Cruz and ask ourselves if ambition for high office is warping his judgment.
There can be no more damning case against Ted Cruz being the Republican nominee for president than the fact that he lacks the judgment and temperament necessary to hold the highest office in the land.