Texas Senator Ted Cruz is drawing a lot of ire and fire from the Beltway GOP.
The eloquent and passionate Texas freshman has raised the hair on necks of the Republicans who sought a deal to avoid the unpleasantness of brinksmanship with the most incompetent president of modern times.
It is absolutely the case that the GOP will, in the end, have to vote for a Continuing Resolution that funds Obamacare. It will require winning the Senate for the GOP in 2014 and the presidency in 2016 to repeal Obamacare.
Cruz’s strategy right now is to mobilize the public in 2013 so that those goals are possible in 2014 and 2016. Principled conservatives can disagree on tactics, and even on strategy, but they cannot disagree on the fact that Obamacare is killing jobs and the American health system.
Cruz and his fellow gifted rhetoricians Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have all inveighed against Obamacare consistently and for months. They have a plan to keep the fiasco that is Obamacare front and center of the American people, and they are working the plan. They are building a movement, not a dance card, in D.C.
The House Republican leadership would have mostly preferred to fade the issue, hoping that events would break their way or at least resolve in some sort of bipartisan consensus.
Events broke their way only in the fact that this disaster of a president was revealed to the world by Vladimir Putin as a bumbling, stumbling incompetent that only the Beltway GOP could not flank.
This president won’t stand up to Assad or Putin, but he will bully Beltway Republicans. That’s what he does. It is the only thing he has done well in the past five years.
But the four aces of the GOP in the Senate won’t be intimidated and won’t be bullied, even when their colleague John McCain calls them “whacko birds.”
Cruz and his colleagues rallied hundreds of thousands of voters to sign on to the effort to defund Obamacare. That’s called building a network that can be mobilized in future elections. That’s called playing to win, now and in 2014 and 2016.
Even as I was talking with Senator Cruz about the end game, though, a long line of Republican time-servers lined up to criticize the Texas senator for daring to rally the troops and charge the hill.
The stunner came from entitled Tennessee senator Bob Corker, a very wealthy guy who won a very narrow victory in his first Senate race in 2006 with the help of serious conservatives of the sort now supporting Ted Cruz. Senator Corker won a comfortable re-election in 2012, so he thinks he doesn’t need those sort of people any more. Thus he snidely attacks their favorite new face in D.C., demonstrating both envy and a profound ignorance of how quickly six years pass.
Corker, a household name in the Corker household, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, which I had always thought a prestigious university until today. Corker made a lot of bucks in the development biz. Like Terry McAullife. Like Terry McAuliffe, Senator Corker has a hard time cabining his contempt for people who prefer ideas to bank balances.
Recall that Cruz is the son of an immigrant and an exile, that Cruz is a self-made man and a genuine intellectual, who has argued eight times before the Untied States Supreme Court.
Recall that Cruz is everything anyone would want a second generation American to be –or an any generation American to be.
So what did Corker snark out over Twitter on Thursday?
I didn’t go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count — the defunding box canyon is a tactic that will fail and weaken our position. –BC
Get it? That climber, that immigrant’s kid who did good in school and excelled at Princeton and Harvard Law and is oh so smart, well Bob Corker thinks he needs to sit down and shut up. Just like Clarence Thomas needed to sit down and shut up in 1991. Just like all the Tea Party nutters need to sit down and shut up. The rich guys who bought their seats have this one. Leave it to the guys who golf.
Speaker John Boehner’s aides are flooding the Huffington Post with anonymous quotes blasting Cruz for forcing the House to force the Senate Democrats to get endangered Senate Democrats Begich of Alaska, Landrieu of Louisiana, Shaheen of New Hampshire, Pryor of Arkansas and Udall of Colorado to vote again for or against Obamacare, thus opening them up for devastating and deserved attacks in 2014.
The K Street Republicans, however, are really and truly enraged that Cruz is trying to win the Senate back and really intends to get rid of Obamacare. The country club Republicans are upset he didn’t wait his turn and is getting more press than they are.
Bravo, Ted Cruz. And Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Press on. The country’s in a bad place with a lost-in-space president. Ignore the sniping from the time-servers and the past-their-sell-date GOP. Reagan would be applauding.