Monday, October 7, 2013

Has Ted Cruz Painted Himself Into a Corner?

During the 2012 election, while America re-elected Barack Obama into his second term, the great state of Texas elected a man to the United States Senate who, how shall we say, marches to the beat of his own drum.  A self-proclaimed Tea Party member, Senator Ted Cruz ran on a campaign of platitudes that mainly centered around opposing anything and everything that involved Barack Obama.  And so, based upon this promise to stop Obama, he was elected to the Senate.  In the 1 year that he's been Senator, he has done his best to stir up controversy at every possible turn.

From publicly deriding Senator Diane Feinstein's knowledge of the Constitution during a gun law reform meeting in the wake of the Connecticut School shooting to the recent Cruz-inspired shutdown of our federal government over ObamaCare in the House of Representatives, Cruz has strategically placed himself in the middle of every controversy in order to ensure that the Right's favorite talking points (not to mention his face) are front-and-center on the 6 o'clock news each night.  The general consensus on the Hill is that Cruz is using all of this attention to run for President in 2016 - a goal which, by the way, would be complicated by the fact that he was born in Canada.  Even setting that aside for the moment, Cruz may have a bigger obstacle to overcome between now and 2016: he may have painted himself into a corner by ostracizing everybody, including his own Republican Party:

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Per Andrea Mitchell (at 1:28 mark):
Ted Cruz' strategy is that he wants to be either a presidential nominee or part of that presidential process.  He has no strategy to get along and make friends and produce legislation in the Senate.  So, you know, for Senators who think that a Freshman comes in and makes friends and tries to work with his own party if not people across the aisle, this is not his strategy.  He is now well known and doing very well in fund raising and well known with his base in Texas and his strategy is all about 2016.  It has nothing to do with getting anything done in the Senate.
According to the Politico article referenced by the above Morning Joe clip:

At a closed-door lunch meeting in the Senate’s Mansfield Room, Republican after Republican pressed Cruz to explain how he would propose to end the bitter budget impasse with Democrats, according to senators who attended the meeting. A defensive Cruz had no clear plan to force an end to the shutdown — or explain how he would defund Obamacare, as he has demanded all along, sources said.
But as the government shutdown heads into day three, a number of Republican senators privately blame the Texas freshman for contributing to the mess their party finds itself in. And now that they’re in it, they say it’s up to Cruz to help find a solution.
“It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn’t have a strategy – he never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was,” said one senator who attended the meeting. “I just wish the 35 House members that have bought the snake oil that was sold could witness what was witnessed today at lunch.”
This has prompted many Republicans to begin to distance themselves from Cruz.  As just one example of such distancing, today's Morning Joe show reported that Republican Ken Cuccinelli refused to be seen with Ted Cruz at a fund raising event:

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1. Assuming for a moment that Cruz is a "natural born citizen", what chance does he have at winning the Republican Primary in 2016?
2. What about the General Election in 2016?
3. What does it say about the House Republicans who followed Cruz' inspiration to shut down the government without an end-game strategy?
4. Is Ted Cruz the "Sarah Palin" of the U. S. Senate?
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