Last week, it was all the rage to call out Ted Cruz and his allies as “profiteers” and “charlatans” who sold their ineffectiveness and “failure theater” to the country as “true conservatism,” thus making it much more difficult for the other 95% of Congress to do their jobs, which they have yet to really describe in detail. Apparently, Ted Cruz and company have given Americans unrealistic expectations of what is truly possible to accomplish in government, and while that’s generally true – much of what Ted Cruz does is doomed from the start – that doesn’t explain, exactly, why Americans might consider a guy who does something, anything as being a more desirable act to follow than any number of elected officials who seem to spend most of their time adjusting their office decor.
At any rate, Ted Cruz hit back this morning, accusing his fellow Republicans of being the best Democrats the Democratic party could ask for. Maybe, he seems to say, he was wrong in saying that they were ineffective. Maybe what he really should have said was they were effective but for the wrong party.
Sen. Ted Cruz continued to slam congressional leadership Sunday, equating Republicans in charge to Democrats.
“The truth of the matter is Republican leadership are the most effective Democrat leaders we’ve ever seen. They’ve passed more Democratic priorities than Harry Reid ever could,” Cruz said of the Senate minority leader on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Cruz has ramped up his attacks on Republican leadership in recent weeks, trying to set himself apart from the rest of the Republican presidential field by painting himself as the only candidate who has stood up to the current political establishment. The Republican from Texas paints himself as an insurgent, even if he is a sitting U.S. senator who is more aligned with non-politician candidates, such as GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, who want to upend the current political status quo.
Cruz may be the only candidate who has “stood up” to the Republican Establishment, but he can hardly consider much of what even he’s done as “effective” at much more than raising money for a select cadre of special interest groups that subsidize insurgent campaigns. He has, however, agressively pointed out that he’s not the only one who can’t make government work, and there is an argument to be made that even when things are impossible, you fail at them most spectacularly when you simply don’t try.
My concern with Cruz here is that he’s tying himself very tightly to Donald Trump, assuming that he can replicate Donald Trump’s success once Trump gets bored with running for President and goes back to kicking old ladies out of trailer parks so he can build massive, half-finished testaments to the bizarre field of real estate investment. Cruz can certainly mark himself as “anti-Establishment,” but (1) there’s no guarantee that Trump will bow out before the nomination, especially if he’s ramping up his staff in earlier states (something other campaigns are backing away from), and (2) there’s no proof that those who like Trump are also similarly wooed by Cruz. Much of Trump’s popularity comes from recognition. People like Trump. Conservatives like him because he challenges the status quo, but his base is made up of unlikely conservative voters and independents who may not vote at all, dropping out of the political cycle entirely.
This is a big risk for Cruz, but it’s one he should take. After all, what can he lose? The favor of people who don’t like him anyway?
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