In politics, a good apology can be tricky, though the key is understanding exactly what the offending party is apologizing for.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) seems to realize he’s enraged many of his own Republican allies, and he’s taking steps to make amends, but it’s not entirely clear he understands why he’s drawn his party’s ire. Manu Raju reported yesterday afternoon:
Ted Cruz privately apologized to GOP senators Tuesday for interrupting their holiday schedules by his surprise tactics that effectively brought the Senate into session over the weekend.According to five senators who attended Tuesday’s caucus lunch, Cruz offered the apology in unsolicited remarks, saying that he regretted if any of his colleagues’ schedules were ruined by his maneuvering. He didn’t say whether he would do something similar again, senators said.
In October 2013, after Cruz took the lead in shutting down the federal government, there was a caucus meeting in which the far-right Texan faced a barrage of angry questions from his GOP colleagues. Yesterday, however he reportedly made brief remarks and heard nothing from the other Republican senators.
Cruz probably shouldn’t interpret their silence as acceptance.
Senate Republicans are obviously capable of speaking up for themselves, but as best as I can tell, their apoplexy wasn’t just about Cruz ruining their Saturday plans away from Capitol Hill. Rather, the outgoing GOP minority believed they would be able to scuttle some of President Obama’s nominees, but thanks to Cruz’s pointless and counter-productive stunt, driven in part by the Texan’s confusion about parliamentary procedure, Democrats were able to get practically everything they wanted – in exchange for nothing.
Yesterday on the Hill, there was even talk of the “Cruz Confirmations.”
Most of the day was consumed with nominations, none more irritating to many Republicans than the ones who received a vote because of an impulsive move by one of their colleagues. And with the book now closed on the 113th Congress, they could go down as the Cruz Confirmations – the batch of the president’s nominees who were confirmed by the Senate only after Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, forced his colleagues to stay in session for 10 hours on a bleak December Saturday.“No, we would not have had all of these 24 confirmations, and I think most people know that,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, referring to the two dozen nominees that Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, forced votes once Mr. Cruz made his move.
If I were a Senate Republican, I wouldn’t look to Cruz for an apology for making me work on a Saturday, but I might expect some contrition over his unwitting support for the Democratic agenda.
Postscript: Politico published an entire op-ed from Cruz, in which he defended his pointless stunt. Senate Democrats did a nice job with an annotated, point-by-point response.