Ted Cruz is officially the most hated man in Washington. His effort to hijack the budget deal was doomed from the start, but that didn’t deter him from engineering a high-profile political stunt to obstruct the process and gain a few minutes of attention.
What really pushed matters over the top was the way he did it. His procedural move not only opened the door for Sen. Reid to get several of the President’s most controversial appointees approved, it blocked the Senators from leaving for the Christmas recess. Instead of taking off with their work completed, they got to experience nine grueling hours of non-stop procedural votes – for nothing, on a holiday weekend.
Why would someone with Presidential ambitions deliberately piss off every influential person in Washington? Because Ted Cruz doesn’t care whether our Federal government ever accomplishes anything constructive again. He’s betting that Republican voters don’t either. He’s probably right.
This may have been the most frighteningly clever thing the man has done so far in his career. It was destructive of Republican goals, personally insulting to his colleagues, and soullessly self-interested. It was a perfect representation of the forces that threaten to end our experiment in self-government. Come next fall no Republican candidate will be able to say a word about it.
The base wants a confrontation with President Obama, who might or might not be the the Anti-Christ in their view. Next fall when twenty or so random nutjobs stand on a debate stage, only one of them will be able to say with absolute, photographic proof that he laid everything on the line to stop Obama from opening a pipeline of dirty, disease-ridden, criminal, terrorist Mexicans to your neighborhood.
His opponents will be forced to claim that they are more “reasonable” than Cruz. They will have to convince primary voters that they are more “electable” than Ted Cruz. They will have to agree that they support Cruz’s policies while trying to convince a frothing grassroots base that their methods of achieving those policies will be more “effective.”
None of them will have the balls to claim that Cruz is wrong, dangerous, and more than slightly nuts. They will have to try to attract more Republican voters by offering to be just like Ted Cruz, except more reasonable, electable, and effective. Snoooozzze.
Meanwhile Cruz can say that he went to Washington and did exactly what his batshit crazy supporters asked him to do. And unlike any other candidate on that stage he will be able to prove his claims. While other candidates try to reason with, pacify, or educate Republican primary voters, Cruz gets to say that he pissed off every powerful figure in Washington to fulfill his promises. This is what might have happened if Huey Long had lived a bit longer.
Never once has Cruz compromised his “principles” to make anything function properly. Here is a man who will do what the base wants no matter how stupid or catastrophic it may be. Come next fall we’ll get our chance to see what Cruz was trying to accomplish this weekend. Barring some major personal meltdown it’s tough to see how any Republican can hope to challenge Cruz to become the standard-bearer for the Neo-Confederate renaissance.