The Cruz Missile: Republican Backlash Against Texas Senator

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Cruz: Sen. McCain famously called him "wacko bird"

[Commentary]

Last week Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), after first admitting that he likely wouldn't have the votes to make good on his threat to defund Obamacare in the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, said:

“Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so. At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”

That increased the pressure on his fellow House Republicans publicly; and has angered quite a few within his own Party. For all intents and purposes, this particular statement launched verbal Cruz missiles which aren’t aimed at any Democratic Congressmen or Senators.

One of the very best things about Ted Cruz is also one of the very worst things about him: he generates a great deal of passion. For his supporters, that passion is sincerely positive. For his detractors, however, that passion is overwhelming negative. Senator Cruz has a Texas-sized problem. His biggest enemies happen to be his Republican colleagues.

Check out these very recent comments about Ted Cruz from his GOP brethren. At a press conference last Friday following the House’s 230-189 ceremonial vote to fund the U.S. government while defunding Obamacare, Congressman Peter King (R-NY) told a throng of reporters he thinks that vote will expose Mr. Cruz as “a fraud”. Mr. King went on to say that he also hoped that Mr. Cruz would “no longer have any influence in the Republican Party.” Whoa. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) was also quick to return fire back towards Mr. Cruz. After Friday’s vote, Speaker Boehner angrily commented: “The House has listened to the American people. Now it's time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”

Back in March, longtime Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called Mr. Cruz “a wacko bird” during a Huffington Post interview with Jon Ward. In the current issue of GQ Magazine, Mr. McCain’s animosity towards Mr. Cruz is examined in great detail. One of Mr. McCain’s advisors says on the record: “He (McCain) hates Cruz. He’s just offended by his (Cruz’s) style.” Ouch. This past Monday, Lindsay Graham (R-SC) weighed in. Mr. Graham rejected Mr. Cruz’s rumored filibuster strategy to defund Obamacare; calling it “not the best tactic” for Republicans to risk a government shutdown over The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

But the chin music for Ted Cruz kept on coming - increasingly becoming closer and more personal. An unnamed Republican aide called Mr. Cruz “a joke, plain and simple.” Visibly upset GOP members of the House accused Mr. Cruz and his anti-Obamacare allies – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) of waving the white flag of surrender in advance. Another GOP operative anonymously opined: “Cruz officially jumped the shark this week… He's doing for the House Leaders what they couldn't do for themselves. House rank-and-file members are uniting with Boehner and Cantor over Ted Cruz's idiotic position.” Here’s the coup de grace; which comes courtesy of the angriest of the GOP faithful. This unnamed individual said this of Ted Cruz: “Cruz is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement. Their aim is to force the party to take on suicidal missions to destroy the movement from within.” Goodness gracious. Tax Party darling Ted Cruz – a leftist?

Oh, the humanity.

For Mr. Cruz – who has all but declared he’s running for President in 2016 – Obamacare isn’t the end of his problems; it’s the beginning. If Mr. Cruz picked this fight to further elevate himself to the national stage, what happens when Obamacare is implemented on October 1st as scheduled? The President will look presidential – and Mr. Cruz will look rather diminished.It’s with good reason the symbol for the Republican Party is an elephant. Elephants are strong and dignified, yes; but they are also legendary for their long memories. When you cross today’s GOP’s leaders, they will assuredly come after you until they bring you down. Ask Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) – who ran afoul of the Republican Party when he praised President Obama’s efforts to help New Jersey residents recover from Superstorm Sandy last year. Governor Christie’s tendencies to occasionally criticize the GOP’s leadership means he will feel its full wrath during the 2016 Presidential primaries. Senator Cruz can now expect the same treatment himself.

The thing about missiles is this: when one side launches a preemptive tactical strike, the targeted side will always launch a counterstrike. The result is what military advisers call mutually assured destruction. In this case, Senator Cruz’s missiles have been launched against his own side. You’d better duck, folks. This fire won’t be friendly. 

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