The current media narrative about Sen. Ted Cruz in the wake of the debt ceiling vote was captured neatly by a February 16, 2014 story in The Blaze in which ABC News’ Jonathon Karl was quoted as saying that Cruz is so hated by his fellow Republican senators that he will need a food taster at GOP Senate lunches.
That might be a slight exaggeration, but it is clear that the establishment wing of the GOP regards Cruz as a problem. And, if David Harsanyi, writing in The Federalist, is correct, some of Cruz’s fellow senators are right to hate him, as well as fear him. He is a threat to their power.
What Cruz did was to deny the Senate the opportunity to raise the debt ceiling by unanimous consent, a common ploy when it wants to pass something controversial without actually voting for it. Then he forced certain Republicans to vote for the debt ceiling bill by threatening a filibuster, thus creating a 60 vote margin.
The irony is that the Republican establishment may have been correct in that a debt ceiling fight was likely futile. That is especially so considering how poor the GOP congressional leadership is. What Cruz forced them to do was to be upfront about it and vote for the debt ceiling increase.
That in turn has made certain Republican senators vulnerable to more conservative, tea party supported candidates who are challenging them in the primaries. Cruz would likely not lose much sleep if senators like Mitch McConnell were to lose and be replaced by more conservative candidate, much like Cruz beat the establishment pick Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in his own senate race. If a Republican Senate is elected in November, 2014, it would be all to the good, from Cruz’s perspective, if it were also a little bit more right of center. Then Cruz can start to help make President Obama’s last two years in office a torment and, possibly, prepare the way to replace him in 2016.