Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) is sort of the new Michele Bachmann, the new take-no-prisoners hero of the grassroots right wing of our country, who from every rooftop has bellowed his determination to stop the wheels of government turning if he can’t get the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as “Obamacare”) repealed. He’s tarred any Republican who can count votes and see legislative reality a “surrender caucus.” He’s a demagogue, pure and simple. To some, the Brylcreem-wearing Senator from Texas is even worse than a slightly more masculine Michele Bachman, he’s a Joseph McCarthy redux.
It’s been a fascinating week for Cruz, as his efforts to filibuster a budget bill lacking language that would defund Obamacare were finally revealed to be a pipe dream. That hasn’t prevented Cruz from alienating almost all of his Republican colleagues in Congress, among whom, according to the National Review, Cruz is currently so unpopular that “Nancy Pelosi is more well-liked around here.” Wow.
But we keep learning more. Cruz went to Princeton for his A.B. in public policy (he graduated summe cum laude) before moving on to Harvard Law School, where “during the first week, he announced that he was creating a study group and only people with high GPAs from the Big Three Ivies could apply for admission. In short, Ted managed to come off as a pompous asshole at Harvard Law.” Cruz is posing as a man of the people, but there are few people more nakedly elitist than he is. But then again, IOKIYAR (It’s OK if you’re a Republican), I guess. Jason Zengerle at GQ has reported much the same thing about the Ivy League elitism.
But it gets better once you delve into the details of his undergrad days, remembered by those who knew him firsthand, including his “creepy” habit of wandering over the women’s side of the dormitory wearing little more than a paisley bathrobe, as The Daily Beast reported:
[S]everal fellow classmates who asked that their names not be used described the young Cruz with words like “abrasive,” “intense,” “strident,” “crank,” and “arrogant.” Four independently offered the word “creepy,” with some pointing to Cruz’s habit of donning a paisley bathrobe and walking to the opposite end of their dorm’s hallway where the female students lived.
Virtually everyone described Cruz as very smart and as a flaming asshole—read the above links for more of that. The overall portrait emerges of a man who made up his mind—about everything—when he was still in high school. Cruz is a bit like a grown-up, oilier version of Andrew Breitbart’s boy wonder, Ben Shapiro.
The hard right is hoping for another Democratic debacle à la 2010, but I’m not seeing it. Obamacare is not legislation currently under consider consideration—it’s been passed, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court has okayed almost all of it. The economy is doing much better than it was doing in 2010, and we haven’t been signing a lot of trillion-dollar bailouts into law lately. Off years are always tough on the White House incumbent party, but Republicans relying on that pattern may be disappointed next year. Right now it looks a lot more like that “Republican Civil War” we keep hearing about.
On top of everything else, shutting down the government in the name of stopping Obamacare from going into effect is massively unpopular:
Opposition to defunding increases sharply when the issue of shutting down the government and defaulting is included. In that case, Americans oppose defunding 59 percent to 19 percent, with 18 percent of respondents unsure.
So yeah, keeping pushing that message, Senator Cruz.
It’s gotten so bad for Cruz lately that Republicans are feeding FOX News the kind of opposition research usually reserved for the vilest of pinko Democrats (see video below). Whatever happens, Cruz is a wildly entertaining figure and I hope he remains the greasy public face of the Republican Party for a while to come.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Vile Republican policies set the stage for socialist revolution in America