Ted Cruz Strikes Again (at the GOP Congressional Leadership)
He’s clearly off and running. For President. But, in the meantime, if all the world isn’t (yet) his stage, his stage is the Senate floor. And he’s using it.
Texas’s Republicqan Sen. Ted Cruz has struck again — at the GOP’s Congressional leadership:
Sen. Ted Cruz, the firebrand conservative freshman from Texas, has blown up the Senate leadership’s plans to have a peaceful weekend by forcing round-the-clock votes on President Obama’s nominees and the $1.1 trillion omnibus.
Cruz took to the floor late Friday to castigate congressional leaders for trying to pass the 1,600-page spending bill after only a few hours of debate and questioned the resolve of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to fight Obama’s executive order protecting five million illegal immigrants from deportation.
“Even though millions of voters rose up just one month ago to protest how President Obama and the Senate Democrats were running Washington, business as usual is continuing inside the marble halls of the United State Congress,” Cruz said in a fiery floor speech.
Because of objections from Cruz and his ally Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the Senate will begin slogging through procedural votes on nominees starting at noon Saturday and vote to end a filibuster of the omnibus spending package at 1 a.m. Sunday morning.
“It appears that we’re going to have to have a series of votes all day tomorrow starting as soon as we get here and perhaps into the morning,” Reid said shortly before temporarily adjourning the chamber Friday night.
A senior Senate Democratic aide said the Senate may hold up to 40 procedural votes on nominees this weekend due to what he called the “extreme pettiness on the part of Republicans.”
The Republican Congressional establishment can’t merely steamroller Cruz, because a)he is building a constituency among the growing part of the Republican Party which believes take no ideological prisoners, and no compromise b)his positions are clearly in line with what I call the GOP’s Talk Show Political Culture which is an important component in steering the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh has recently blasted the party’s establishment:
RUSH: I think that used to be the case. I think it used to be that Republican/conservatives leaders would rely on me and others in the so-called conservative media to take the arrows for them. We would be the ones to explaining. We would be the ones to inspire. We would be the ones to fire up. We would be the ones to basically take the hit when there was reaction to it. In other words, they relied on us to inform their voters who they were. They relied on us to tell their voters what they were gonna do.
But I don’t think anymore that’s the case because they don’t do what their voters believe they’re gonna do, and clearly I no longer espouse what they believe. So I don’t think that is a factor. It was I think not long ago. The last three years, last four years there’s been a transformation that’s taken place among the Republican leadership. It’s kind of complicated here, really, because the Republican Party has never really been enamored of conservatives. The Republican Party has been tolerant.
But for the most part, the Republican Party did not like Reagan. I mean, the establishment wing of it did not like Reagan and don’t like conservatives. One of the reasons why — and there are many reasons I’m sure I haven’t even thought of. But one of the basic reasons is that the mainstream Republican Party does not oppose a big government. They want to run it. The mainstream of the Republican Party… My brother wrote a column about this phenomenon just this week. A lot of conservatives make the mistake of thinking it’s just the Republican leadership.
Cruz has some important ideological soul-mates and he’s clearly going to carve out a niche for himself if he runs for President, particularly if unsuccessful 2012 nominee Mitt Romney jumps into the race and is well funded (as he would be) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush enters the fray as well.
In the meantime, the Congressional Republican establishment is going to be seeing and hearing a lot of Sen. Ted Cruz over the next year.
PHOTO: Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons