Hoping to rehab his torn image, 53-year-old first-term Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blamed President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the Oct. 1 government shutdown that cost an estimated $24 billion. While touting himself as a Tea Party conservative, Cruz sees his job as shrinking the size of the federal establishment. Cruz and other Tea Party conservatives hoped a government shutdown would de-fund Obamacare. “I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” Cruz told Jonathan Karl for ABC’s “This Week.” Cruz and other Tea Party Republicans were ready to default the U.S. government to shutdown the president’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Cruz banded together with his House Tea Party friends to take any measure to stop Obamacare, including default the U.S. government.
When 64-year-old House Speaker John Boehner finally said no to Cruz’s madness and called for a full House vote Oct. 16, the government was promptly reopened against Cruz’s objections. Pointing out that Boehner opposed the government shutdown and certainly expected default, Cruz conceded, “I can’t help what others people say,” admitting that he represents conservatives back in Texas. Cruz doesn’t recall taking an Oath-of-Office, swearing his loyalty not to the Lone Star State but to the federal government. Called a “wacko bird” by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Cruz alienated Republicans and Democrats opposed to the government shutdown that furloughed some 800,000 federal workers. Cruz isn’t concerned about anyone earning a living on the federal payroll, only himself. Cruz doesn’t understand his accountability as U.S. senator to the federal establishment.
Republicans like Cruz oppose Obamacare because they’re against government entitlements. When former President George W. Bush signed Medicare Part D, the prescription drug bill, into law Dec. 8, 2003, fiscal conservatives didn’t say peep, despite the price tag of $100 billion year. Cruz leads the Tea Party fight against Obamacare because he sees it as a budget buster. He hasn’t paid attention to the ever-shrink federal budget deficit down from $1.4 trillion under Bush to about $600 billion under Obama. Whether or not the federal treasury overflowed with tax dollars, Cruz opposes government subsidies on entitlements. When it comes to government subsidies for oil, defense and drug contractors, the sky is the limit for Cruz. Cruz opposes Obamacare primarily because he buys the blather on right wing radio that paints the president as a socialist, destroying the American Dream.
Backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president in 2012, Cruz never acknowledges any positive changes in the U.S. economy under Obama. He sounded and acted as if the country was still in the worst recession since the Great Recession of 2007-2009, where the economy shed some 7-million jobs. Cruz, like other Tea Partiers, won’t acknowledge that the Dow Jones Industrials have risen 150% since Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Unemployment has dropped from a high in 9.4% shortly after Obama took office its current 7,2%. Over 7 million jobs have been added back to the economy since March 2010. Gross Domestic Product has risen to 4.2%. Federal budget deficits have dropped from $1.4 trillion in 2009 to about $600 billion, moving toward a balanced budget. Cruz, like Romney in 2012, acts like the economy’s still stuck in recession.
Cruz claims he came to Washington not to make friends but to assert his Texas constituents’ preferences. “What I want to do is serve 26 million Texans. I want to do my job. That’s really my focus,” said Cruz, know that not all 26 million Texas share his reactionary views on the economy, foreign policy and immigration. Cruz never understood his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Defaulting the country of stop Obamacare would have damaged the U.S. economy and credibility around the globe, including the ability to carry out an aggressive foreign policy to fight terrorism. “Nobody should be surprised, if you’re trying to change Washington that the Washington establishment pushes back,” justifying his attempt to default the government to stop Obamacare. Cruz sees his Tea Party role as shrinking the federal establishment.
Hoping to rehab himself for a run for president in 2016, Cruz wants to change his image from crackpot to convicted right wing ideologue. No matter how you cut it, Cruz showed himself to be, as McCain said, right wing fanatic, ready, willing and able to default the U.S. government to de-fund Obamacare. When the horizon looks beyond the 2013 Midterm elections, Cruz hopes he appeals to the GOP’s conservative base that typically picks presidential candidates. With moderate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie matching up more closely with likely Democratic candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Cruz—and other Tea Party types—are in for a bruising primary battle for the GOP nomination. Whether or not Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus has learned anything over the last two presidential elections, the Tea Party will still try to call the shots.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.