Red State, in a September 24, 2013 story relates how Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s former adviser and now Fox News talking head, admonished Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas for not seeking approval from the Senate Republican leadership before launching his defund Obamacare strategy.
“He said this was all happening because Cruz and Mike Lee had not worked out strategy in the regular Senate Republican Conference lunches on Thursdays. Rove said that was what was supposed to happen. Except that for a year now, Senate Republicans have routinely leaked the proceedings of those meetings to the New York Times and Washington Post in ways designed to harm Cruz, Lee, and others who side with them.
“In fact, as one Senator noted in last week’s meeting, this would not be happening but for John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell choosing not to lead. Had Lee and Cruz approached their Senate colleagues, they would have been dismissed. I can say this confidently because it has happened repeatedly and since their election to the Senate their Republican colleagues have routinely taken to ‘on background’ leaks assailing them.”
In other words Cruz and his allies were smart not to seek approval of the leadership. They would have tried to undermine the strategy from the start. Indeed, Brietbart’s Big Government is reporting that the undermining is proceeding apace, with Republican senators being pressured to abandon the defunding effort.
Rove and others in both elected office and in the media suggest that Cruz’s strategy is flawed because “it is not the right time” to try to defund Obamacare, that such an effort is doomed to fail. No doubt they are sincere in that sentiment, though perhaps a certain animus against Cruz for not knowing his place might also enter into it.
In a way Cruz and his Republican opponents reminds one of two very different Civil War generals.
Rove and others bring to mind General George B. McClellan, the man who built the Army of the Potomac and then showed a distinct lack of resolve to use it. McClellan was infamous for exaggerating the strength of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and of making excuses about why he would not move aggressively. For McClellan it was rarely the “right time.” At one point President Lincoln, in a fit of exasperation, asked his general if he could borrow the army as McClellan did not seem to be using it.
The smart people believe that Cruz’s effort to defund Obamacare is going to fail and, in this case, it looks like they may be right. However one suspects that Cruz is not going to quit on that account.
After being defeated soundly at the Battle of the Wilderness, so the story goes, Grant sat on his horse, surveying the scene of the carnage, the eyes of the Army of the Potomac on him. Every other time a Union army had been defeated on the field in Northern Virginia, it had slunk back north across the Rappahannock to lick its wounds and to wait for “the right time” to fight another day.
Instead Grant ordered the army to advance forward, deeper into Virginia. His men cheered him, now realizing that they had a different sort of commander than McClellan, Hooker, or Burnsides. When Robert E. Lee heard of it, he came to a similar conclusion and was filled with dread.
In Cruz we have a different sort of Republican leader that Rove, Cornyn or McConnell. That may be cause for hope.